On Route to Lisbon via the Medieval City of Coimbra

Sunday arrived and our last breakfast aboard the Scenic Azure.  We said our goodbyes to the staff and our friends who wouldn’t be joining us on the land tour.  A few tears were shed.

We boarded our bus and were introduced to our guide Yolanda.  There were 20 of us so we could spread out a bit. Yolanda lives in Barcelona  with her family but isn’t Spanish born and bred.  For the life of me I have forgotten exactly where she comes from, however does that matter not in the slightest.

Our first day would take us to Lisbon via 2 stops, Coimbra and Nazare.

About 30 minutes into our road trip Yolanda got onto the microphone and requested we all have pen and paper so we can write down our intinary for the next few days.  I grabbed my phone and tried to write everything down.  Everyone was shocked I mean this was a Scenic Tour and we all felt a little like “what was going on”.  Usually  5 star tour you just sit back and relax.  To make matters worse Yolanda held the mic to close to her mouth and most of what she said was warbled.  A few of our group were hard of hearing so Im not sure if they even heard a thing a she said.

Our first stop  would be Coimbra.  Our coach stopped to let us out right by the University and would pick us up in the main town.  The University is the first in Portugal.  It was first established in 1290 by King D. Dinis after Nicholas IV’s Papal bull.  It was originally known as  “General Study” and was established in Lisbon.  In 1308 it was moved to Coimbra where eventually in 1537 it was permanently settled near the Mondego River in 1537, at a palace granted by King John III.



Coimbra University



Coimbra University


We had enough time to visit the toilets have a quick wander around then our guide hustled us to walk down to meet the coach/bus.  There were long queues for the library however two of our group somehow managed to slip in with another tour group.  I think we were at the University for about 30 minutes.

Our route down to the main part of town  was tricky the cobblestone streets were steep  and of course it had been raining again.  On reflection we were lucky we were going downhill.

Our guide pointed out the old streets are underneath the buildings.


Part of the old buildings in Coimbra


This was part of the old town of Coimbra, we even saw a Olive Tree that was said to be over 1,000 years old.



Olive tree said to be over 1,000 years old


I would definitely recommend you wear really good walking shoes, so many steep stairs and all cobblestones.  Non slip would even be better.


Arco da Almedina, Coimbra, Portugal

We walked past by the famous old tower of the original Moorish walls Torre da Almedina and the Moorish gateway the Arco da Almedina.  Medina means town in Arabic.


Torre da Almedina


From narrow cobblestones laneways it opened up to a beautiful wide streets full of boutiques, cafes, and bakeries.


The  windows  of the bakeries were filled with delicious fare. Pastéis de nata or Portuguese Tarts, Portuguese Easter Sweet Bread – Folar Da Pascoa – This is served during holy days leading up to Easter.  Filled with 7 hard baked eggs, traditionally is a symbol of Christ’s re-birth to the Portuguese people.


Folar Da Páscoas Portuguese Easter Sweet Bread



Is it a tea shop or book shop…No its a fish shop filled with cans of fish

This place fascinated me and to my utter disappointment it was a shop that sold Fish.  I thought it was a tea shop!  Tins of fish – thousands of tins of fish.  The store is Comur and they have been trading since 1942.  They have stores in Lisbon, Evora and of course Coimbra.  This concept is something new and apparently its a must see now on tourists lists.  It is beautiful but FISH!  (I’m allergic to fish)


The students from the University were in traditional University dress singing and playing traditional Portuguese equipment.  These groups are called tunas universitárias and originates from Ibeiran and North African musical traditions which date back to the 13th century.


A group of University Students singing and playing traditional equipment to earn money or food.  


The students sing romantic and sad songs or satiric songs about their university accompanied by traditional instruments such as the guitar, mandolin, cavaquinho (a small ukulele-like guitar) and tambourine. They also often perform a dance, often involving the tambourine.

“I will share some of the Tuna Groups in later posts that we were entertained by.”






I have so many photos of this magical medieval town that I will put up on Instagram so do look out for them.  You can find us at 3sistersabroad


** Next stop would be for  lunch in Nazare Portugal, a seaside town.**







43 thoughts on “On Route to Lisbon via the Medieval City of Coimbra

  1. When I saw what your blog was about, I thought it was so cute. Then I saw you posting about Portugal, I got excited. I leave in about 60 days and I am so excited! I cannot wait to dig my wait through all of your posts. I enjoyed reading this particular one. So many people have said that Coimbra isn’t worth visiting but based on what I have seen there and the Roman ruins outside of town, it totally does seem like it is worth the trek.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. What a marvelous old town. I love your photos and share your disappointment that inside that darling shop were tins of fish! I’m vegan. I’d much rather have tea!

    I’m going to find you on Instagram so I can follow your adventures there too.

    I’m part of the Senisal, although I came to your post via my blog and your comment there!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I hate when you’re doing any kind of tour and can’t properly hear what the person is saying. It is a little odd they’d ask you to write down the itinerary. If anything, they’d be better off handing you a sheet with the main points on, not expecting people to write it as you go.

    Good tip on the shoes. I do like these kinds of old walkways though, there’s something very authentic and quaint and ‘real’ about the experience. I saw your photo of the Folar Da Pascoas on Instagram. Never seen anything like that before! I love that shop, though I hate fish so I probably wouldn’t have gone in at all, but the design is amazing.
    A fascinating city 😊

    Caz xx

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Not sure if my other comment went through. Thank you for sharing about your adventures on these quaint cobblestone streets. I love the look of the interior of the Fish Shop. The Easter bread is interesting. Do they actually eat it? It’s amazing how long Olive trees can live. Wow!

    Liked by 1 person

  5. I love the idea of 3 sisters traveling together. I have 2 sisters and we’re scattered around the U.S., but once in a while we get to travel together. What fun! The Easter bread looks very interesting. Do they actually eat it? I love the cobblestone streets. Thanks for sharing.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. That fish shop is epic! Love the decor … wish it was a coffee shop! I’ve never been to Portugal, but everyone who has raves about it, so I’m going to have to make more of an effort next year to go for a visit.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. That fish shop is epic! Love the decor … wish it was a coffee shop! I’ve never been to Portugal, but everyone who has raves about it, so I’m going to have to make more of an effort next year to go for a visit.

    Liked by 1 person

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