Coimbra, known as the city of students, by the University of Coimbra, one of the oldest in Europe. It is in the center and is bathed by the Mondego River. Also known for two great legends, that of Queen Santa Isabel and Pedro and Inês.
Queen Saint Isabel
Queen Isabel of Aragon, married to King D. Dinis, was known for being dedicated to the poorest and, often, her of the castle to distribute bread and money to the people, which did not please the king. One day, realizing that he was leaving, the king followed the queen, who was carrying bread and coins, hidden under her robe, followed her and asked her what she was wearing under her robe. The queen replies: "they are roses, sir, they are roses". Forced to show, the miracle happens and the roses fall when the queen opens her robe. The holy queen is buried in Coimbra, in the Convent of Santa Clara a Nova, according to her wish.
Dom Pedro e Dona Inês de Castro
Dona Inês was the queen's maid, married to Prince D. Pedro. In love, they live maritally and have three children. With the population's growing discontent with this situation, the king takes advantage of the absence of D. Pedro and orders the killing of his grandchildren and then D. Inês. In Quinta das Lágrimas, where they lived, there is a fountain with red algae, which would have been born from the tears of D. Inês, when her children died. D. Pedro, when he learned of what happened, ordered to dig up D. Inês and proclaimed her queen. It is a love story well known in Portugal.
When to go?
Anytime! The spring and autumn months are always the most suitable for city tours.
How to go?
By car, from Lisbon, it takes about two hours and tolls are around 15 €. However, you can see most points of interest on foot. These train stations are right in the center, so we recommend the train trip.
Where to stay?
We decided to go to Coimbra at the end of the day and we couldn't find availability for family rooms anywhere. We don't understand why, but we are also not allowed to share a bed with one of our children, which we think is absurd!
We ended up getting a family suite at Oslo Hotel, with a beautiful view of the city. The only drawback s that the bathroom is very compact. But it is in the center and the car park, across the street, can be used by guests even after check-out. We highlighted the friendliness of the staff.
As for security at this time of pandemic, unfortunately the rules were not followed by the guests, who walked around the restaurant without a mask and, even if the appointment was made, there were too many people for the space available. In such a way that we don't feel comfortable and we don't finish eating because we don't feel safe. We spoke with the hotel staff, who assured us that they would be more attentive.
Where to go?
The University, walking through the city center, the Monastery of Santa Clara a Velha (4 €, free on Sundays and holidays), Monastery of Santa a Clara a Nova (2 €, the visit is conditioned at the church during Mass times) or taking a walk along the banks of the Mondego are some of the must-see. We highlight the following:
Quinta das Lágrimas
An idyllic farm, with walks in the woods and gardens, where the fountain is always a reference point where, according to legend, the red algae we find there, were born from the tears of Dona Inês, with the death of her children. The family ticket (2 adults and two children) costs € 5.
Portugal dos pequenitos
Houses, castles, churches ... a small village, with reference to several monuments in Portugal and Portuguese speaking countries. The family ticket (2 adults and two children) is 29 €.