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Coimbra & Centre of Portugal

Europe, Portugal

In the Center of Portugal Coimbra is to be found contemplating itself, a vain city looking at its own reflection in the water of the River Mondego. A city of courtyards, steps and medieval arches, the bohemian Coimbra, inhabited by students, is sung about by many poets. Step forth boldly onto the stone steps, shaped by centuries of use, and plunge deep into the history of the city, where the old cathedral (Sé Velha) stands impressively before all those making their way up to the centuries old University on the top of the hill. Its most iconic feature, the Library, with its baroque architecture dating from the reign of Dom João V, reminds us of a chapel with its frescoes and carved and gilded woodwork.

To the south of the city, travel back to Roman times at the site of the well-preserved ruins of Conímbriga. Even further south you will come across Fatima (a Pilgrimage destination for Catholics from all over the world, especially from May to October) and the fortified village of Óbidos (small roman town where a good number of festivals and events are held all through the year).

On the coast, the fishing villages and the cosmopolitan beaches of Peniche and Nazaré mark the pace of the days with water sports and the biggest waves in the world.

No less unmissable and famous are the villages and towns throughout the area - the Schist Villages, Leiria, Aveiro, Viseu, Guarda, Castelo Branco and Monsanto - pending more for history than for modernity, but each with unique characteristics that are worth being found. Among these, especially to refresh and relax with waters from the Penha Garcia sierra, Monfortinho and its renowned thermal baths stand out.


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