Universidade de Coimbra Alta & Sofia, Coimbra

4.7
#5 of 27 in Sightseeing in Coimbra
Landmark Tourist Spot
Admire the array of architectural styles and traditional atmosphere at Universidade de Coimbra Alta & Sofia, one of the world's oldest universities and a World Heritage Site. Though originally established in Lisbon in 1290, the institution officially moved to Alta and Sofia in 1537. Visit the oldest university in Portugal and see the complex's stunning architecture, which spans several centuries. Highlights include the 12th-century cathedral of Santa Cruz, 16th-century colleges, Baroque-style Joanine library, and 18th-century botanical garden. Climb the university tower for excellent views and take a tour of the royal palace of Alcáçova. Plan to visit Universidade de Coimbra Alta & Sofia and other customer-reviewed, writer-recommended Coimbra attractions using our Coimbra tour planner.
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388 reviews
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  • Somehow I broke off from my guided tour and wound up in the area of grand lecture halls and a spectacular external wrap-around terrace that looks down on the national museum and the old cathedral. Wis...  more »
  • Beautiful university (oldest in Europe we were told), with amazing history. We visited on a Saturday and were lucky enough to see a wedding on site. The couple were serenaded by a number of students i...  more »
  • These are the constituents of the Unesco World Heritage sites in Coimbra. The, quite particular, University with a history that spans over quite a few centuries is a lovely site to be seen and explore...  more »

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Where to stay in Coimbra

Indulge in the medieval splendor of Coimbra by booking a hotel in the city's historical hilltop and hillside central area, which is home to the majority of its hotels and guesthouses. By staying right in the middle of the Old Town, you'll have medieval monasteries, Renaissance homes, and Baroque halls right at your doorstep. You'll also be within walking distance of the city's famed university complex. Alternatively, try staying in one of the center's youth hostels, which offer shared rooms, lockers, breakfast, and a comfortable bed at a fraction of the cost of an upscale hotel. These accommodations also give you a good base from which you can experience the city's student-fueled nightlife. To get away from the mainstream tourist center a bit, opt for a hotel or bed and breakfast in the quieter residential neighborhoods east of the university.
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