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University of Coimbra (Universidade de Coimbra)
University of Coimbra (Universidade de Coimbra)

University of Coimbra (Universidade de Coimbra)

Largo Paço do Conde, Coimbra

The Basics

Though it was first founded in Lisbon, the hilltop University of Coimbra has occupied its current location since 1537. One of the world’s oldest universities, it was also the only university in Portugal until the 20th century. Its lofty academic reputation is one draw, but so is the university’s setting. Built on the site of a former palace, the 16th-century, UNESCO-listed campus sports a sprawling courtyard; a baroque library; a science museum; a botanical garden; and striking, centuries-old architecture at every turn.

The University of Coimbra features on numerous tour itineraries, including private campus tours, skip-the-line visits, and on full-day Coimbra city tours. Book a tour that suits you visiting preferences best, and you’ll discover its top highlights.

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University of Coimbra guided tours without queue
University of Coimbra guided tours without queue
$45.02 per adult
Traveler Favorite
Outstanding tour that helped us understand the history
My husband and I had such a great tour with Rafael, a PhD student and history scholar at the University of Coimbra. There were four of us in the group, and we learned so much more than if we had just purchased tickets to the separate places to see on campus. Rafael has a clear love of history and an understanding of the university's place in it. I highly recommend this tour.
Tara, Sep 2021

Recent reviews from experiences in Coimbra

star-4
Short but sweet.
William_A, Oct 2021
Guided tour of the University and city of Coimbra.
Our guide was extremely knowledgeable and engaging. His background in history was particularly worthwhile. Our only complaint is that the tour felt a bit rushed and the 3 hour tour was done in 2 hours. There was so much more to see at the University and the city tour was quite limited.
star-5
Learn on the road
Y_C, Aug 2021
Guided tour of the University and city of Coimbra.
I had an amazing journey while visiting Coimbra (the university and the city). The very talented guide treat me in a courteous way, explained the history of the city but also of Portugal and showed me all the things to discover in this amazing city.
star-5
A”must see” in Portugal
Elizabeth_Z, Jul 2021
Joanina Library & University of Coimbra VIP ACCESS!
Truly one of the most spectacular libraries in the world and worth the trip. Our guide was excellent, providing information and details about the building, history and the collection itself.
star-5
Day in Coimbra
Gary_C, Jun 2021
University of Coimbra guided tours without queue
Having an excellent guide (Rafael) made the University & Library visit memorable. His knowledge of Portuguese history added so much more than just a standard guided tour.
star-5
Informative & enjoyable
Chrissie, Oct 2020
University of Coimbra guided tours without queue
We were delighted and amazed to find that the tour party was just myself and my husband. It made it very personal and Rafael was a charming, interesting, well-informed and entertaining guide. We booked the 10am tour and had the place almost to ourselves. But of course the Covid situation meant there were no students around and no crowds either. It was the highlight of our visit to Coimbra. Highly recommended.
star-5
Nice Private Tour University Coimbra
Curious56199667520, Dec 2019
University of Coimbra - More complete private guided tour of the UC
Felipe our guide was friendly and knowledgeable..He gave excellent insights into student life & history..
star-5
A great tour
Andrea_M, Aug 2021
Guided tour of the University and city of Coimbra.
This was an amazing tour. As a history teacher I learnt so much about the history of Portugal that I did not know. The university is absolutely stunning. I definitely recommend this tour.
star-5
Interesting and funny private tour
Alessandra_P, Aug 2020
University of Coimbra guided tours without queue
The tour with Rafael was amazing, he’s an history teacher and his knowledge of the University and a lot of curiosities around the University itself and Portuguese history, is incredible. He’s has as well a nice an warm personality, which is definitely a plus in my opinion if you want to do a private tour !
star-5
Excellent private tour!
makieanahara, Nov 2019
University of Coimbra guided tours without queue
When I went to the meeting point, I realized I am the only one. I had a private tour with the tour guide, who is the current Coimbra university student from Brazil. He was very knowledgeable and taught me the history and what is student life in Coimbra. I paid an extra 1 Euro to go up the bell tour, and the view was spectacular.

Things to Know Before You Go

  • Visitors must book a tour or tickets to explore the university; it is recommended to speak quietly in many university buildings to respect the students at work.
  • You can climb the 180 stairs of the university’s recently restored bell tower to enjoy panoramic views overlooking the city.
  • Be sure to visit the Biblioteca Joanina during a campus tour: regarded as one of the world’s most beautiful libraries, it features lavish ornamentation and 53,000 books.
  • Begin your tour at the Paço das Escolas: located in a former palace, this historic heart of the university features some of the university’s loveliest buildings.
  • Owing to its heritage architecture, stairs, hills, and uneven surfaces, much of the university is not accessible to visitors.
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How to Get There

The University of Coimbra is located in the heart of Coimbra, just a 10-minute taxi trip from the main train station. Coimbra is connected by train to both Lisbon and Porto. From Lisbon, the city is roughly two hours by car via the A1; from Porto, it is one-and-a-quarter hours, also via the A1.

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When to Get There

The University of Coimbra is open to visitors throughout the year. From March–October, the ticket office is open from morning–evening, and from November–February it’s open from morning to late afternoon. Note that campus museums and sights can have their own visiting hours. The university is closed each year on Christmas Eve, Christmas Day, New Year’s Eve, New Year’s Day, and its “Burning Ribbons,” or graduation day, held in mid-May.

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Wildcard

Other Coimbra Highlights With origins in Roman times, the riverside city of Coimbra is celebrated for its history, its beauty, and its tranquil pace of living. After visiting the eponymous university, continue your excursions. Other highlights include the Old Cathedral of Coimbra (Sé Velha de Coimbra), the Machado de Castro National Museum (one of Portugal’s top art museums), the Fado ao Centro (a center dedicated to the traditional music), and more.

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