Escape from New York: Extended Travel

Overnight Stay in Coimbra

By Seth Fera-Schanes

Do you like Harry Potter and Jesus?  If so, put Coimbra on your travel itinerary.

Very much a college town, the city has the University of Coimbra (with early ties to the Jesuits.)  Founded in 1290, it’s a UNESCO world heritage site and has the Joanina Library with a collection of books dating back to the 1500s.

When you visit the campus, you’ll notice many of the students wearing their uniforms; including capes.  It really does feel like you’re in a Harry Potter movie.


There is no shortage of hotels right along the river and close to the train station.  This also puts you near the more touristy downtown area and about a mile walk (again up a slight hill because it’s Portugal) to the local and college area.  img_7637img_7657img_7669


Walking and more walking.  I made a large loop around the town and university.  I took frequent breaks but after 10 miles, I had made nice progress seeing a large botanical garden, plazas and quite a few cafes.


More and more cod and I loved every piece of it.  The food and prices in Coimbra were great.  Espressos and beers ranged from .65-1.70 euors.  A meal that could have easily been for 2 was 9.50 euros.img_7705 Accommodations

With an international sim card and google maps, I was very comfortable getting off the train and then looking for a hotel for the night.  Many of the places I found came in around 50 euro/night and were well situated to easily get around town.

Day Trips

I decided on a 24 hour trip to Coimbra, mostly to see the library.  It was also located about midway between Lisbon and Porto which was my final destination for the trip north.  You could easily do a day outing to Aviero which has lots of waterways and boats (like Italy’s Venice.)


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