Postcards from Portugal: Coimbra & Porto

Today’s post is the third of three in my Postcards from Portugal series. The first post on Lisbon, Cascais & Sintra is here. The second post on Évora, Fátima & Tomar is here. As usual, when you see an image gallery, click on an image to get a better view and use the arrows to move through the gallery.


On Day 6, from Tomar, I headed north to Coimbra, the third-largest city in Portugal. I visited the University of Coimbra, among the oldest universities in Europe, with more than 700 years of history, and a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Upon arrival, I met two University of Coimbra students in their uniforms. They were fundraising for their upcoming graduation. The university campus has amazing art and architectural details in all directions. The walkway to the main courtyard has unique star-shaped tile design. I took time to look up, down, left, right and around to appreciate this incredible site.

Students in robes at the University of Coimbra

In the photo below, note the distinct tiles on the roof, the beautiful columns, statues and carvings that frame the entrance. Then there is a small black iron gate at the entrance with some garments. The tradition is that once the students receive their final marks and pass, they throw their gowns as high up on the entrance as possible. Some of the gowns get stuck there.

The university’s Palace Gate
A mosaic of the university’s seal in front of the main gate
The University Tower in the main courtyard
The Minerva Stairs – A popular spot for graduation photography
Doors in Manueline style

The tour at the university is very interesting and shows beautiful art and architecture inside. Most rooms have gorgeous tiles (azulejos) on the walls, paintings on the ceilings and texture-rich furnishings.

The jewel at the University is the stunning Joanine Library with its rich baroque decor. However, no photography is allowed inside. I learned that there are small bats in the library. They eat insects and naturally preserve the books. Each night, all surfaces in the library are covered with fine leather to protect them from bat droppings.


From Coimbra I continued my journey to Porto (or Oporto), Portugal’s second largest city with a 2000-year history. The Historic Centre of Oporto, Luiz I Bridge and Monastery of Serra do Pilar is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

I visited the Church of St. Francis and and walked the upper part of Porto to get a fantastic view of the city, the Clerigos Tower and the Duoro River.

A palace well worth visiting is the Stock Exchange Palace, renowned for its exquisite neoclassical façade and ornate gilded Arabian Hall.

On the last afternoon in Porto I enjoyed a Douro River Cruise to view the city from a new perspective. The boat passed by the numerous port wine cellars and under the magnificent bridges crossing the Duoro river valley. I visited a Port Wine Cellar for a tasting. It was a wonderful way to end my trip.

Weekend Coffee Share

This post concludes my three-part ‘Postcards from Portugal‘ series. Thank you for following along. For more door photos, visit Dan’s #ThursdayDoors photo challenge.

I’d love for you to share what’s been happening, simple joys from your week and/ or favourite public art photos from around the world in the comments or Weekend Coffee Share linkup #119 InLinkz below.

You are invited to the Inlinkz link party!

Click here to enter

Copyright © 2023 – All rights reserved.