We are headed to Porto from Lisbon...we were planning on stopping for one night in Aveiro, but now I’m wondering if we should do Coimbra instead....or maybe stop in Douro valley for the the night before we stay in Porto for 2 nights? We have a hectic schedule.. 4 days/3 nights in Lisbon, one day undecided, 3 days/2 nights In Porto then fly to Faro to spend 1-2 nights in Albufeira, then quick back to Lisbon to fly home the next day....keeping all this in mind suggestions...?
I visited Lisbon, Coimbra, and Porto in May 2018. I'm just now getting around to processing the hundreds of photos I shot in Coimbra. I had forgotten how unique Coimbra is - some really cool buildings and squares, plus the university built at the very top of the hill. Portugal's dictator until 1970, Salazar, was originally a professor at Coimbra, and during his time, he demolished some old neighborhoods at the top of the town to make way for the big fascist-style university buildings, which are more interesting than charming perhaps. Unique, to say the least.
Plus, it's soooo much less touristy than Porto and (especially) Lisbon were. Comibra made a nice break from that.
Thanks....I was kinda wondering if it was good city to visit ...we have been to Venice and took a midnight gondola ride randomly by accident not sure anything can beat that...this might be better thanks so much
RSE rates Coimbra higher than the Douro Valley giving it two stars and the valley one.
Coimbra is not especially exciting compared to Lisbon and lacks the "Oh, wow!" impression you get of Porto the first time you see the waterfront. But it has its own kind of charm. I think it is featured as part of one of the Rick Steves PBS videos (free to watch on YouTube) if you want to get a better feel for it.
I would definitely eliminate Aveiro. If you are taking the train, Coimbra is convenient since it is on the high speed (AP) train line between Porto and Lisbon.
Definitely Coimbra over Aveiro. The company ‘Go Walks’ does a nice (and inexpensive) walking tour that includes the university museum. And, for some reason, there are more really good restaurants per capita in Coimbra than in most towns in Portugal.
Aveiro is very convenient by train in that the fast train from Lisbon to Porto stops in Aveiro. There is also a very cheap local direct train between Aveiro and the Porto Sao Bento station, so you don't need to change at Porto Campanha. The art nouveau buildings and the canals are picturesque but the comparisons to Venice are misleading, in my view. I found Aveiro very pleasant for a day and night, with good seafood restaurants, but overall underwhelming compared to other places I visited in Portugal..