University of Coimbra, Portugal

University of Coimbra has the reputation of being one of the oldest universities of Europe and oldest one of Portugal! The University was first established in Lisbon, after several relocations it was firmly established in Coimbra in 1537 by John III. Today, University of Coimbra has the prestige of being one of the oldest universities in continuous operation in the world, and also as one of Portugal’s largest higher education and research institutions.

University of Coimbra IndraniUniversity of Coimbra Facade

Tour of University of Coimbra

We stood rooted seeing the huge courtyard of the University. To the left is the entrance to the University, in the middle you can see the statue of John III with his hand on his hip. The left pic has the library.

University of Coimbra 1

University of Coimbra has 8 faculties. What we did not see is more than what we saw. The botanical gardens are spread out and beautiful, something left to see if I visit again. The ground floor and first floor has several classrooms. When we toured none of the classes were on, so could visit each classroom. My daughters had a great time posing as students. They sat on the benches of the classrooms, just to get a feel of the university. The best part was the tiled decorations on the walls of the classrooms!

University of Coimbra 3University of Coimbra(Please click and enlarge to see details.)

University of Coimbra’s grand examination room is a sight to see! Old style and charming too. It is the site for university’s major academic ceremonies such as oral exams and graduations. In the original plan this was the throne room of the royal palace. The ceiling has some amazing patterns with Indo-Portuguese themes. If you are there when any of their ceremonies are on you can see the brass band at the back which punctuates the ceremonies with music, there is no clapping during the events.

Views of Town of Coimbra

We were not allowed to enter but we saw it from the balcony at the top. The ambiance is grand! The tower houses the bell which signals the start and end of classes.

We got wonderful views of the town from the viewing platform. Beyond the houses you can see the Mondego River, the longest river that flows entirely over Portugal. The third pic has the Baroque façade of the new cathedral from 16th century.

University of Coimbra 2

The students there have a set of academic rituals that developed hundreds of years ago. Some consider the rituals violent and crude, yet they remain an important reference in the academic experience of the students. Known as Praxe, it gives students a special sense of participation in those academic rituals.

Travel tips for Coimbra:

If you travel to University of Coimbra during months of late October, November or May you can see Parades of Rowdy Students, in funny costumes, dragging tins, it is a tradition the students follow marking the beginning and end of school year.

1st March is the day of the university. It is an occasion for a week of debates, conferences, workshops, and special events related with multiple aspects of the institution.


Old Cathedral of Coimbra, Portugal
Chapel of St. Michael, Coimbra University, Portugal

52 Responses to “University of Coimbra, Portugal

  • wow! stunning! both the buildings and the views!

  • What wonderful architecture! A higher place of learning with deep historic roots in a beautiful setting would be heaven for any student. But they probably take it in stride. 🙂

  • What a beautiful university!!! Superb captures and a great post for the day, as always, Indrani!! I have you have a wonderful weekend!!

  • Fabulous place Indrani. Thank you for sharing it. I enjoy my travels with you 🙂

  • Marvelous pictures of student life.

  • I like the architecture! How awesome that the university has been there for nearly five centuries!

  • Impressive University. Great views, lovely fences and ornate classrooms.

  • It’s a magnificent looking university and you’ve got some great photos of it.

  • Amazing, Great photos.

  • Maniparna Sengupta Majumder
    2 years ago

    What an expansive campus and impressive architecture… 🙂

  • It’s appears less of a University and more of a tourist attraction.

  • vatsala mallya
    2 years ago

    How magnificent the university looks ! The architechture is superb .
    You have captured them too well Indrani..

  • Nice photo tour

  • Jyothi D'mello
    2 years ago

    I love architectural structures in white and this one is gorgeous. Beautiful pics Indrani.

  • The university looks nice.

  • Looks much ostentatious

  • Those are some classrooms to teach in!

  • Kaash! Main yahan padh paati 😉

  • The examination room looks stunning!

  • A beautiful and grand place for a classroom. A place with deep history roots.

  • Wow..what a place man! Wonderfully captured!!

  • I like the funny costumes tradition. Lovely pictures 😀

  • Wow – that is so gorgeous!

  • Must feel great visiting such a prestige educational institution! Impressive campus and superb capture on the royal class rooms…

  • Yogi saraswat
    2 years ago

    Thank you Indrani ji for taking us to the one of oldest university of Europe . Very well written and pictures are really very impressive .

  • Hello Indrani, what a beautiful university. Thanks for sharing your visit. Happy Friday, enjoy your weekend!

  • Just came across your blog. Impressive pictures and what an amazing place to be at.

  • How lucky are you to visit all this! Keep exploring and keep unfolding to us.

  • While reading this post, a phrase popped in my mind “Indranipedia – Info with amazing clicks.” 🙂

  • Those lights are so pretty!

  • Beautiful pictures. The university looks great 🙂

  • Very well captured the academic glory!

  • Thank you so much for the visit and yes it has been a long time since i have done my blog trying to get back into it,
    again your photos are so well captured it reminds me how much i enjoyed seeing them , will try to keep up. Have a very nice day

  • You have captured each and every thing beautifully. Though it is the oldest university, they have maintained it so well..

  • We had the opportunity of visiting Coimbra while in Porto last year, but unfortunately had to pass. There is so much to see in Portugal, once you start seeing the country, you don’t want to miss any spot.

  • Thanks for sharing, great post! Portugal is such a great place, this guide makes me want to go back!

  • What a stunning place to study. So great you could wander the grounds. Universities in the UK and Europe really are a world apart from those we have at home. The gorgeous buildings and grounds like this one you found and what a great view of the town!

  • That is a nice tour. Love the ambiance of the place. You got some really nice pics there.

  • Ticker Eats The World
    1 year ago

    Interesting. Although I’m done with my studies it’s always fascinating to see educational institutions around the world and this one is quite picturesque and magnificent

  • Ah, Coimbra! I visited for just one day when extremely jetlagged and exhausted, so I can see now that I really missed out. This university seems like it should be at the top of any visitor’s list to the town. Love that ceiling!

  • Looks like it’s an original spot! Great stuff! We love your pictures too!

  • I am hoping to get there next year. Going to hold on to this. The parade sounds interesting and now I am curious to see it.

  • Always love the university towns. They have a special character and vibrancy to them. Coimbra looks so classic and cultured. It seems to be steeped in the heritage and culture of Portuga.

  • Touring a university is a great way to see the architecture in a region. I’d love to swing by Coimbra during one of those student parades and see how Portuguese students let loose!

  • This makes me reminisce about my university. I would also like to witness and be part of a conference, debates or festivals held in some universities. Back in the school days, I used to.

  • I think it is such a privilege to study at such a prestigious and old university. The architecture of the entire campus looks so beautiful. I can imagine how inspiring it is to study in such classrooms.

  • A university tour, how very interesting. But then again why not, when the place looks so beautiful. I wish I had a chance to study in a school with such a gorgeous view. I’d probably be inspired to go to school everyday hahaha… It’s interesting to see that they allow guests to visit the university and even sit in in some of the classes. I don’t know of a university in my country that allows it.

  • If I ever got a chance to rewind my life a bit and study again, I would love to go to this university. Besides the world class facilities here, the beautiful town around would also be one of my reasons to study here. What a find Indrani!

  • Wow. What a beautiful university. The architecture is amazinggggg. 😍😍😍 Thank you so much for sharing.

  • What a thrill it must be to sit on one of those benches and be an alumini of the oldest university of Portugal. Epic right? And it is so beautiful I mean, the architecture and the classrooms , so well done and well maintained. We should take a leaf out of their book on this 🙂

  • What a lovely building for a university- majestic and breathtaking. Actually, the college where I studied was no less than a wonder in itself. It was built by late Sir MV and with high ceilings and red paint, it is over 100 years old now. Your post brought back memories from my college days.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *