Coimbra is one of the biggest university cities in Europe. It receives the largest number of Erasmus students in the continent and it has the biggest student party. At the same time, it’s smaller and less busy than the most famous Portuguese cities, Lisbon and Porto, but there is still plenty to see and eat around. Luiza Antunes from 360 Meridianos is here to tell you all about Coimbra.
Who is Luiza Antunes?
Hi! I’m Luíza Antunes, a Brazilian travel blogger, owner, with two other friends, of 360meridianos. Between my travels and the work in the blog, I’m also currently living in Portugal, where I’m doing my masters in social entrepreneurship.
I’ve been living in Coimbra for a year now and of course already saw every touristic stuff there is to see in here, such as the Unesco’s World Heritage University and all the old stuff related to the medieval times, when this city was the first capital of the reconquered Portugal. You can read all about it my blog. I’m here to tell you some of the not touristic stuff, in case you come to this area. But first let me tell you something you must know. There are two great things you should now about Portugal: the food is amazing and always comes in a full plate. And the wine is always fantastic and cheap!
Galeria Bar Santa Clara
This place has the best view of Coimbra and the river Mondego, and also has a good menu of cakes and teas for the day, or drinks and wines for the night. It’s actually an art gallery inside, but my favorite place is to seat outside, under the grape trees. Oh, it has live music on Saturdays.
Casa das Caldeiras
This is my favorite place to go after classes on friday, not only because it has my favorite burger in Coimbra, but also because it makes a great transition from restaurant to a busy bar with good music and interesting people (read: people older than 25) at night. Also, although not many people know it, the building, an old factory, is also Unesco’s World Heritage.
Zé Manel dos Ossos
From the size of the line to get to this really small tasca (the Portuguese name for a very traditional and not fancy bar/restaurant), you might think this place is too touristic. Please, change your mind. Zé Manel is the place where you probably get the best Portuguese food in Coimbra, a place where meet lovers want to cry of happiness.
Yes, tourists discovered it, but you will realize that in the tables around you there are many proud citizens, who also happen to be good friends with the funny owner, eating. If you want to avoid lines, please arrive 15 min before it opens.
Largo da Sé Velha
This is not one bar, it’s a big area, kind of a square around a 13th century catedral, in the middle of the old town center, where all the students reunite during week days to drink a fino (draft beer) for 1 euro or take some crazy shots at Cabido Bar or Bigorna Bar. The crowds of students take the streets, some of those wearing those black Harry Potter style traditional capes. If you want to see this, avoid going on weekends, when most of them travel back to their parents houses and leave the city kind of empty.
This is a tapas style restaurant, with some typical Portuguese finger food. It’s great for going with a small group of friends, drink great wine and listen to fado songs. The restaurant is kind of hidden in a small street in Baixa, so you get to avoid the crowds.
If you’re planning to visit Coimbra, please let us know! Always remember that if you have any questions about Coimbra (or any other city what so ever), ask on us on our Facebook group – a safe harbor for travel lovers and more. We can give you tips and send you to cool places that you can’t find in your local travel guide. And if you can, book your hotel here, this way you can support this blog and make sure we keep showing you the other side of all the cities you want!
Going Local is a series of interviews that we are doing with people that live and enjoy the city they live. You can read more interviews filled with tips here. And if you want to be featured here, this link will tell you how. We’re always looking for more locals to share their favorite spots!