Itinerary Condeixa a Nova - Coímbra
The tenth stage of the Camino de Santiago in its tour of the centre of Portugal leads us to one of the most charismatic cities in the country, Coimbra. It is a short journey of approximately 15 kilometres, with many ups and downs.
Condeixa a Nova (Km. 0). Beginning of stage
Practical tips for this section: Since today's destination is Coimbra and has many places to visit, we recommend that you start the stage early, but you do not need to start walking in the dark. Buen Camino!
We leave Condeixa-A-Nova and set a course for the bridge across the A13-1 motorway. From there we head to the district of Orelhudo and then to the Ribeira de Casconha Bridge, where we pass by an old mill, to finally arrive at Casconha Bridge.
Following the arrows, we cross a bridge over the motorway and reach a roundabout, where we take the Rua da Cruz, on the right, which runs parallel to the highway, to enter the centre of Cernache (km. 4.5), where you will find its parish church.
We walk along the main street of the town, passing through a triangular square, which has a modern pillory in the centre. We continue to the exit of the village, where we turn to the right to take, in ascent, the Rua 1 de Maio, which leads us to a passage under the motorway. On the rise, we continue to the neighbourhood of Cernache, Pousada.
Pousada (Km. 5,9)
Practical tips for this section: On the road next to the white warehouses of this section, there is a bus stop that goes to Coimbra. Pilgrimage means not taking transport, but if, for whatever reason, you need it, it is an option. Buen Camino!
The arrows painted or placed in tiles on the stones lead us through an alley that passes by the Chapel and the Quinta de São Pedro. Turn left and ascend to cross with Rua do Canto, where we turn right. At the end of the street, we take a pathway that runs through a pine forest.
Two kilometres later, it descends towards some white warehouses and returns us to the asphalt. We follow the road for 350 metres to take a street that starts on the right, in ascent. On this route, we arrive at the modern Chapel of Palheira (km. 9.1).
Following the indications of the arrows, by a dirt track, we reach the urbanization the Quinta do Limoeiro. On paved streets, flanked by houses, we arrive at a left turn that leads to the metallic pedestrian walkway that crosses the IC2 motorway.
After the crossing, we continue on a strong climb that starts on the right and that goes to a huge telephone antenna, next to the one that is a palm tree. In ascent, by Calle Bicha da Deira, we reach the highest point of the district, where the cross of dos Moruoços is located, along with a chapel and a viewpoint, in the shade of a huge tree.
Cruz dos Moroucos (Km. 11,3)
Practical tips for this section: Do not forget to stop at the viewpoint of Santa Clara-A-Nova and discover the history of the Holy Queen of Portugal, it's one of the best landscapes on the stage today. Buen Camino!
From here the Pilgrim's Way goes downwards until you reach a bridge over the IC2 motorway. We continue parallel to the road and pass under an ancient aqueduct. 700 metres later, we reach a roundabout and begin to climb again, towards the neighbourhoods of Santa Clara and Mesura.
At the end of Rua do Observatório we stumble upon a huge roundabout and continue along Rua Braga Carrigton, from which we have a panoramic view of Coimbra. We descend the street until we reach the monastery of Santa Clara-A-Nova (km. 14.8).
From the viewpoint that stands in front of the church of the monastery, we will have magnificent views of Coimbra, perched on the other side of the River Mondego. After the visit to the monastery, we start a hard descent, by the Calçada de Santa Isabel, to the bridge over the River Mondego.
We cross the bridge and continue until Largo da Portagem, the point of entry to the old town of Coimbra.
Coímbra (Km. 15,8). End of stage
Practical tips for this section: Coimbra is much smaller than Lisbon, but its beauty is such that for us, it deserves to be enjoyed for a full day. That is why, if you have time, we recommend that you spend the night in this charismatic city for two nights. You won't regret it, it has a lot of atmosphere! See you tomorrow!
Once in Coimbra, we are expected to have enough additional kilometres, crossing cobbled streets and uphill or even, through streets with stairs, like the well-known Rua Quebrada Costas. The city deserves the effort and, without the backpack on the slopes, everything gets much easier.
Two essential visits in the city are the University of Coimbra and the Sé Velha Cathedral. However, there are many more places that deserve a visit in this charismatic city.
Some religious visits that we recommend are: Seminar Maior, the Sé Nova Cathedral, the Monasteries of Santa Cruz, Santa Clara a Velha and Celas, the Carmelo de Santa Teresa Convent and the Churches of São Pedro, São Bartolomeu, Santo António dos Olivais , Santiago, Primitiva de Santa Justa, Nossa Senhora de Graça, da Nossa Senhora do Carmo and São Salvador.
If you want to discover the medieval past of the city, you can get close to Torre de Anto, the Arco and Torre Almedina, the Sub-Ripas Palace or the aqueduct of San Sebastián. We also recommend that you visit some examples of its civil architecture such as the Patio da Inquisição or the Joanima Library in baroque style.
The natural spaces of the city also contain great charm. Our favourite is Peneda da Saudade, for the sad love story that encloses the place. Although you can also visit some of the gardens such as Sá da Bandeira, Jardim Botanico or Santa Cruz Park.
What to do Condeixa a Nova - Coímbra
Below, we provide you with information on some places of interest that will come your way along the stage and the multitude of sites you can visit in Coimbra.
Parish Church of Cernache
The Parish Church of Cernache dates back to the 13th century, although it was rebuilt in the 14th century. The temple is of Renaissance and Baroque style; it belongs to the Town Hall of Coimbra.
The building consists of a longitudinal plant and consists of a single nave. The most remarkable aspect of its exterior is the tower. This dates from the 19th century and is attached to the temple, along with the sacristy.
Timetable: From March to October, from Monday to Sunday (from 9:30 to 19:30), from November to March, from Monday to Friday (from 9:30 to 17:30) and Saturdays and Sundays (from 10:30 to 16:30).
Monastery of Santa Clara-a-Nova
The Monastery of Santa Clara-A-Nova is located before the bridge that crosses the River Mondego, following the route of the Camino Portugues towards Santiago de Compostela.
The monastery, also known as the Convent of the Queen Saint Isabel. It is formed by the Convent of the Clarissa nuns, the Church of the Holy Queen and a viewpoint, in front of the church, where there is a sculpture of Rainha Santa (Holy Queen).
The building dates back to the 17th century and was carried out to replace the old medieval Monastery of Santa Clara-A-Velha, which had undergone several floods by the River Mondego. Today, the monastery is an important museum of Portuguese art from the 14th and 18th centuries. Although its true fame lies in that it houses the relics of Queen Isabel (1271-1336), founder of the Old Monastery.
The remains of the Holy Queen are found in the church that bears her name. The temple is in a Mannerist style and inside it is a silver coffin with glass goblets, installed in 1696, where the uncorrupted body of Santa Isabel rests. There was so much devotion that the Portuguese felt towards this queen, that her coffin was financed by the people of Coimbra.
The Queen's original tomb is found in the lower chancel of the church. This was commissioned by Isabel herself and carved by the master, but, next to the sarcophagus are various panels of polychrome wood that detail the history of her life.
At the age of 11, the Holy Queen of Portugal was forced by her father, Peter the Great, to marry King Dinis I of Portugal. The monarch should not have been very happy with her husband because he had to endure his violent and unfaithful character. The marriage produced two sons, but King Dinis I also had recognized seven other children, the fruit of relationships with lovers.
Queen Isabel had a reputation as a charitable and religious person. On two occasions she made a pilgrimage to Santiago. The first one in 1325, when she offered herself before the altar of Santiago the Apostle, her crown of the Holy Roman Germanic Empire. A decade later, she started a second journey to Galician lands. It is for this reason that, besides her tomb, as she requested, one can observe a pilgrim's refrain.
In 1891 died the last religious person who inhabited the monastery. Thanks to the efforts made by the Government of Portugal and Bishop Manuel Correia Bastos Pina, the monastic spaces passed into the hands of the Queen Isabel Brotherhood.
Opening hours: open every day. In summer (from 9:00 to 18:30) and in winter (from 9:00 to 17:00).
Coimbra is the capital of the municipality and of the district that bears the same name. In the city, more than 100,000 people live and is considered to be one of the most important cities in Portugal.
The city rises above the ancient Roman Aeminium. However, the name of Coimbra responds to the transfer of the bishopric from Conímbriga, after the defeat of the Swabians.
The city is crossed from end to end by the River Mondego and its narrow and outstanding streets hide historical heritage from different epochs since throughout the history it has been a site of great relevance.
Its streets bear witness to the birth of six of the Portuguese kings. In addition, the city was capital of the country for more than 100 years, since its independence of Leon (in 1139) until the transfer of the court to Lisbon, in the year 1255. Since then, The city has been an important political and cultural centre in Portugal.
The most prominent place in the city is the university, one of the oldest in Europe and a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 2013. The university presence is clearly visible in the city.
In the old town there are plenty of shared and self-managed buildings by university students from all over the country. Touring this area is worthwhile because frequently, these types of buildings have original facades, full of graffiti or revolutionary phrases.
Another characteristic of the city is El Fado. It has a different character than the rest of the country, because it is sung exclusively by men. The Fado culture in Coimbra is linked to the university traditions and usually their lyrics often refer to student loves.
Other obligatory visits in the city are the visit to the Se Velha Cathedral, located at the top of the city, as well as the visit to the many religious temples that dot the urban area.
Some of them are the Seminario Maior, Sé Nova Cathedral, the Monasteries of Santa Cruz, Santa Clara a Velha and Celas, the Convent Carmelo de Santa Teresa and the Churches of São Pedro, São Bartolomeu, Santo António dos Olivais, Santiago, Primitiva Santa Justa , de Nossa Senhora de Graça, da Nossa Senhora do Carmo and de São Salvador.
The city also has medieval remains such as those that can be seen in the visit to Torre de Anto, the Arco and Torre Almedina, the Palacio Sub-Ripas or the aqueduct of San Sebastián.
Some examples of civil architecture in Coimbra are the Patio da Inquisição or the Joanima library, a sample of Baroque architecture.
The city is not lacking natural spaces for walking as we have Peneda da Saudade, with its sad story of love, the gardens Sá da Bandeira, the Jardim Botanico or Santa Cruz Park.
University of Coímbra
The University of Coimbra was instituted in 1290 and is one of the oldest in Europe. In its origins, it had four faculties: Medicine, Civil Law, Canon Law and Arts. Today it has doubled: Sports Sciences and Physical Education, Psychology and Education Sciences, Economics, Pharmacy, Science and Technology, Medicine, Law and Literature.
The presence of university students defines the rhythm of the city. During the academic year, they represent one third of the total population of the city. In this sense, the city reminds us of other large student cities in Europe, such as Bologna or Salamanca.
Torre de Anto
The Torre de Anto is also known as Torre do Prior do Ameal. The tower formed part of the ancient medieval wall that surrounded Coimbra. However, in the 16th century, the tower began to lose its defensive function and was converted into a private residence.
The most renowned owner was the poet António Pereira Nobre, who lived there in the late 19th century while studying. Today, the tower houses La Casa de Artesania de Coimbra.
The Seminario Maior of the city of Coimbra began to be built in 1748. Its main façade is divided into five bods.
The central body houses a temple of small size, but of great architectonic value, both by its layout and by its decoration. Overseeing the seminar there is a beautiful baroque-style garden.
Portugal dos Pequenitos
Portugal dos Pequenitos is located in Coimbra. It is a small theme park that reproduces in scale the history and the architecture of Portugal. The space was inaugurated in 1940 and is divided into three exhibitions.
The first shows typical houses of each region. The second exhibits significant elements of the country and the third shows monuments and houses of other countries where Portuguese is spoken.
Timetable: High season (from June 1st to September 15th) (from 9:00 to 20:00), mid-season (from 1 March to 31 May and 16 September to 15 October) (from 10:00 to 19:00) and low season (from 1 January to 28 February and from 16 October to December 31) (from 10:00 to 17:00).
Admission: General (€8.95), children from 2 to 13 years and older than 65 years (€5.95), children 2 years or younger (free). People with reduced mobility have a 50% discount in the category that corresponds to them.
Penedo da Saudade
The Penedo da Saudade is a great rocky outcrop that receives this name through the tragic and poignant history of Dom Pedro and the Galician noble Inés de Castro. According to the count, Inés was a lover of Pedro for many years and gave birth to four children of the Prince.
In the year 1355, the Galician nobleman was murdered in a Quinta de Coimbra by the mandate of his father-in-law, King Afonso IV. This fact provoked a war between father and son and it is said that the prince frequented this place to mourn the loss of his lover.
Several years later, when Prince Pedro became King, he had unearthed the corpse of his beloved, seated her on the throne and crowned her. In this way, Inés would be recognized as Queen, although posthumously.
The truth is that Peneda da Saudade has been a place of consolation for many, not only for the unhappy Prince Pedro. In many areas of the garden, you can see slabs with verses from different university course.
Patio da Inquisição
The Patio da Inquisição is located in the same place where the Court of the Holy Office or Inquisition of Coimbra was. The School of the Arts and the Centre for Visual Arts are located in the courtyard.
Santa Cruz Park
The Santa Cruz Park of Coimbra is also known as Jardim da Sereia. Its construction dates from the 18th century and, in the past, was part of the Santa Cruz Monastery.
The access to the park is presided over by a triumphal arch, located between two towers, on which three statues are raised that symbolize faith, hope and charity. One of the most beautiful spaces of the park is the Jardim da Moreira (Garden of the Mermaid) where the Fonte da Nogueira is located, on which the statue of Triton is erected.
Walking through the park you can see various exotic tree species, as well as rich fauna such as salamanders, toads or marbled newts.
National Museum of Machado de Castro
The National Museum of Machado de Castro is located in the city of Coimbra. The space was inaugurated in 1913 and was declared a National Museum, in 1965.
The museum is purely religious and its name comes from one of the best sculptors in the country: Joaquim Machado de Castro. Inside, you can visit collections of paintings, ceramics, sculpture, goldsmiths and textiles, as well as archaeological and oriental art objects.
Timetable: Closes on Mondays. From April to September, from Tuesday to Sunday (from 10:00 to 18:00). From October to March, from Tuesday to Sunday (from 10:00 to 12:300 and from 14:00 to 18:00).
Entrance: General (€6), visit to Cryptoporticus (€3), over 65 years (50% discount), people with reduced mobility and youth card (60% discount).
The Water Museum is located in the vicinity of the Dr. Manuel de Braga de Coimbra Park, in the facilities of an old water-collecting station.
The space was inaugurated in 2007. Inside the museum, the history of public water supply is displayed and has several collections, including a collection of water meters.
Timetable: Closes on Mondays. From Tuesday to Sunday (from 10:00 to 13:00 and from 14:00 to 18:00).
Museum of Science
The Museum of Science in Coimbra is an interactive museum whose purpose is to disseminate scientific knowledge in different areas: physics, geology, botany, mineralogy and zoology.
In the gallery destined to physics is the Chimico laboratory, whose collection is considered one of the most important in the world. In the Geology gallery, the oldest collection in Europe is exhibited with more than 5,600 samples.
Timetable: from 1 August to 30 September, from Monday to Sunday (from 10:00 to 19:30). The rest of the year closes on Mondays. From Tuesday to Sunday (from 10:00 to 18:00).
Input: General (€5).
Monastery of Santa Cruz
The Santa Cruz Monastery is located in the city of Coimbra. Its construction dates back to the 12th century and was founded by the Order of the Canons of St. Augustine. Throughout history, it has undergone many repairs, the most important of which was made in the 16th century, completely modifying the façade of the building and adding two bell towers.
Inside the monastery, you can visit the Chapel of the Martyrs of Morocco, the Lord of the Steps, San Antonio and the Holy Sepulchre. You can also visit the main chapel that guards the remains of the kings of Portugal and has been declared a national pantheon. The interior also features a baroque-style organ, the chapter house, the refectory, the vestry, in a Mannerist style, and the Cloister of Silence.
Timetable: From Monday to Saturday (from 9:00 to 12:00 and from 14:00 to 17:00) and Sundays (from 16:00 to 17:30).
Entrance: to the monument (free), to the sacristy, chapter room, Cloister and Exhibition (€2.50), students and over 65s: (€1.50).
Monastery of Santa Clara a Velha
The Monastery of Santa Clara a Velha is located in Coimbra and dates from the 13th century. The construction was carried out at the request of the noble Mor Dias, to host a community of Clarissa nuns.
In 1311, it stopped practising as a monastery, after the opposition of the canons of the Monastery of Santa Cruz and its nuns. After years of abandonment, the monastery was renovated to host the centre of interpretation that houses the permanent exhibition of "Nuns and Mistresses of Santa Clara: Archaeology of the Cloister".
Timetable: Closes on Mondays. From April to October, from Tuesday to Sunday (from 10:00 to 19:00). From October to March, from Tuesday to Sunday (from 10:00 to 17:30).
Admission: General (€5), students and seniors of 65 years (€2.50), Sundays and public holidays until 14:00 (free).
Monastery of Celas
The Monastery of Celas de Coimbra dates back to the 13th century and was founded by the daughter of Sancho I, Doña Sancha of Portugal. During the 16th and 17th centuries, the monastery underwent an important renovation that modified its original aesthetic appearance, except that the church maintained its original structure.
The temple has a circular structure, a chapter house, the chancel and the cloister. The cloisters include historical capitals, located in the south and West wings.
Timetable: Closes Saturdays and Sundays. Monday to Friday (from 15:00 to 18:00).
Entrance: General (€1), Children (€0.50).
Sá da Bandeira Gardens
The Sá da Bandeira Gardens are located in the centre of the Avenida Sá da Bandeira de Coimbra. The area was built at the end of the 19th century, under the urbanization project of the Quinta de Santa Cruz. of its spaces, its ponds stand out, where diverse types of birds and vegetal species coexist.
The Coimbra Botanical gardens date back from 1772. Their construction was carried out by order of the Marquis of Pombal.
The garden was designed by Italian artists and is considered one of the most prosperous and rich in the country. Inside it houses a forest, six plots of land with greenhouses, prepared for cultivation, ponds, fountains and lakes.
In the garden there are more than 1,200 species of trees, most of them exotic. Walking around the gardens, you will see the statue of Avelar Sprouter, the first director of the gardens.
Timetable: From Monday to Sunday (from 9:00 to 17:30).
Church of São Pedro
The Church of São Pedro de Coimbra is a simple temple of great dimensions. The school that houses the church was founded in 1540, and in its origin it was destined to help poor priests. The institution is currently installed in the upper part of the city.
Church of São Bartolomeu
The São Bartolomeu Church is located in the city of Coimbra. It is one of the oldest temples in the city. Its construction dates back to the 10th century, although it underwent various renovations between the 12th and 18th centuries. The temple is baroque in style, but with a fairly simple layout.
Inside the church you can see a Mannerist altarpiece from the 16th century. This is where the paintings that depict the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ are to be found. The episode of the Martyrdom of St. Bartholomew is shown in the engraved altarpieces.
Timetable: From Monday to Saturday (from 8:00 to 12:00 and from 14:00 to 17:00) and Sundays (from 8:00 to 12:00).
Church of Santo Antonio dos Olivais
The Church of Santo António dos Olivais de Coimbra was, in the 13th century, a Franciscan Chapel, which the Queen Doña Urraca passed to the order. One of the Queen's benefactors was St. Anthony of Padua, who was sanctified in 1232.
The Franciscan order left the place in 1274 and the chapel became the property of the City Council, taking charge of enlarging the church and preserving it. In the 16th century, the religious order regained ownership. The current building responds to an important restoration completed during the 18th century.
Church of Santiago
The Church of Santiago is one of the most important Romanesque temples in the city of Coimbra. The temple dates from the late 12th century to the beginning of the 13th. From its exterior, the façade stands out, with a decoration inspired by the old cathedral, and the side door ornamented with shells that refer to the patron of the church. In the interior of the temple the wooden ceiling, a rococo altarpiece and the main chapel all stand out.
Opening hours: daily (from 8:00 to 20:00)
Primitive Church of de Santa Justa
The primitive Church of Santa Justa is located in the city of Coimbra. Its foundation dates back to the 12th century, although it was located in another place. The church currently observed was inaugurated in 1724.
The facade of the building is characterized by its extravagance. It is made up of three floors and bordered by towers. Inside, you can see a baroque altarpiece, from the 18th century, located in the main chapel.
Church of Nossa Senhora da Graça
The Church of Nossa Senhora da Graça de Coimbra shows classic forms, typical of the Renaissance. Its appearance is the result of renovations that were made in many temples of the city to confer this aspect to them. The temple houses a school, created in 1543, by King John III, who depended on the Orden de los Ermitaños Calzados de San Agustín.
Church of Nossa Senhora do Carmo
The Church of Nossa Senhora do Carmo de Coimbra dates from the late 16th century. The temple was part of the Carmen College.
Of the church, a Mannerist altarpiece from the 16th century stands out, the work of Simão Rodrigues and Domingo Vieira Serrão, as well as a series of 17th-century tiles, and the deposition of Christ in the Sepulchre of Jean de Rouen, located in the sacristy.
Sé Velha Cathedral
The Sé Velha de Coimbra Cathedral dates back to the 12th century and is Romanesque in style, although throughout history it has undergone several modifications, which have given it a certain Renaissance air.
From outside, the northern façade stands out, the work of Jean de Rouen, known as Porta Speciosa. This is composed of a three-storey portico, where you can see capitals sculpted with reliefs and ornamentation with geometric motifs, vegetables and animals.
Inside there are several altarpieces. Highlighting The Chapel of San Pedro, The Sacrament and the Main Chapel, work of Nicolau Chanterene.
Timetable: Closes on Sundays. From Saturday to Thursday (from 10:00 to 18:00) and Friday (from 10:00 to 16:00).
Admission: 2 euros.
Church of São Salvador
The Church of São Salvador in the city of Coimbra was rebuilt in the 18th century, although it retains its cover of the year 1179, Romanesque style. Inside it houses an altarpiece, located in the Chapel of San Marcos, made by Jean de Rouen, in 1540.
Sé Nova Cathedral
The cathedral Sé Nova in Coimbra dates from the late 16th century but was not used until the 17th century. Originally it was intended to serve as a Church of the Jesuits' College, until they were expelled from Portugal. Later, it became the Episcopal headquarters.
Its eclectic facade, with different styles, stands out. On the ground floor, there are sculptures, in a Mannerist style, of Jesuit saints and on the upper floor, it presents a Baroque style. In its interior, the altarpieces accommodate gilded carvings from the beginning of the 17th and 18th century. Also highlighted are the choir benches and the baptismal font.
Timetable: Closes Sundays, Mondays and public holidays. From Tuesday to Saturday (from 8:30 to 12:00 and from 14:00 to 18:30).
Admission: 1 euro.
The Joanina Library in Coimbra was built between 1717 and 1728, although it was not inaugurated until after 1750. Formerly it was known as La Casa de la Liberia, its present name owes it to the author of the construction, Don João V.
It is a completely baroque building, with a polyhedral structure of six faces. The interior is accessed by a large doorway in the form of a triumphal arch flanked by two Ionic columns.
Inside, it has three large interconnected rooms lined with gold-coloured shelves and Chinese-style ornaments. The library retains collections from the 16th, 17th and 18th centuries.
Timetable: From March to October, open daily (from 9:30 to 19:30). From April to May, Monday to Friday (from 9:30 to 17:30) and Saturdays and Sundays (from 10:30 to 16:30).
Arch and Tower of Almedina
The Arch and Tower of Almedina formed part of the medieval wall of Coimbra. In the past, the arch was one of the entrances to the wall. At present, it connects the upper part of the city with the lower.
The tower had a defensive role. Since 2003, it has housed in its interior the Centro de Interpretación de la Ciudad Amurallada, and the Museo Municipal.
Convento Carmelo de Santa Teresa
The Convent Carmelo de Santa Teresa dates from the 18th century and was built to accommodate the Carmelite Sisters, although they have not inhabited it since the 1950s. Until the year 2005, the place attracted many tourists because in the convent lived Sor Lucia, the last witness of Fatima.
Opening hours: open every day. From Monday to Saturday (from 9:00 to 11:45 and from 15:30 to 17:30), Sundays (from 9:30 to 11:45 and from 15:30 to 17:30).
Palacio de Sub-Ripas
The Palacio de Sub-Ripas is located on a tower on the medieval wall of Coimbra. The building dates from the 16th century and features a Manueline-style façade. Its windows are in a Renaissance style, the work of Jean de Rouen, as well as many of the ornaments in stone that can be observed in the building.
San Sebastián Aqueduct
The San Sebastián Aqueduct in the city of Coimbra dates back to the 16th century and attempts to replace the remains of an ancient Roman aqueduct. It was built to bring water from the Convent of Santa Teresa to the city centre. Of the building, the central arch stands out, where the sculptures of the Martyr of San Sebastián and the sculpture of San Roque are located.