The ancient riverside city of Coimbra, located in the Centro region of Portugal, has a glorious past and an intriguing present. Back in Roman times it was known as Aeminium, and it served as the capital of Portugal from 1131 to 1255. A preserved medieval town centre, the Baroque Biblioteca Joanina library, and the 900-year-old University of Coimbra (one of the oldest universities in Europe) are some of the top sights that highlight Coimbra's illustrious past.
But Coimbra is more than just a relic of the past. Today, the city is known for its student festivals, its many cultural institutes and its enduring tradition of Fado - a Portuguese genre of music characterised by passion and heartbreak. Head to Fado ao Centro to see a live performance of this enchanting music style. If you're on a road trip around Portugal, it's worth making a stop for a day or two in Coimbra. It's situated between Lisbon (2.5 hours away) and Porto (1.5 hours away).