In the Middle Ages, Coimbra was Portugal's capital. It's mainly famous for its university which opened its doors in 1290 making it one of the oldest in Europe. There are also relics from the Roman times, including a well preserved aqueduct and cryptoporticus.
The city has approximately 140,000 inhabitants.
The historical Coimbra is located in central Portugal, along the Mondego River. The river discharges 40 kilometers west into the Atlantic Ocean. Here you'll also find the seaside resort Figueira da Foz. Coimbra is a beautiful city, but there are also picturesque towns and villages in the surroundings, like Lousã and Penacova.
Coimbra is a center for education and healthcare. No less than 35,000 students receive higher education (20,000 at the university) and there are two public and numerous private hospitals. There are also software companies and other high-tech companies.
Coimbra is situated along Portugal's main highway, the A1, connecting the capital Lisbon with Porto. The airports of both cities are easily reachable by rental car. Porto's airport, Francisco de Sá Carneiro Airport, is situated 118 kilometers northwest of Coimbra; Lisbon's airport, Portela Airport, 170 kilometers south of the city.
The city has excellent public bus transport, exploited by Serviços Municipalizados de Transportes Urbanos de Coimbra (SMTUC). There are regular buses and trolley buses (Coimbra is the only Portuguese city with this type of bus transportation). There are regional bus connections with surrounding places, but also with Porto and Lisbon.
Driving around Coimbra is easy, but finding a free parking place in the city center is difficult. Especially near the university practically all places are taken on working days. Fortunately there are many (often underground) parking garages in and around the center where you can safely park your rental car. On the other side of the river (in Santa Clara) there are some free parking lots.
Being a city for young people and students, Coimbra has no shortage of cheap accommodations, especially in the city center. There are, however, also luxury hotels, including some so-called pousadas (hotels housed in historical buildings).
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