AT A GLANCE
Coimbra Population: 143,396 Average max July temperature: 28°C Famous for: Ancient university, medieval old town, rococo library, fado.
Aveiro Population: 80,880 Average max July temperature: 24°C Famous for: Canals, seaweed-gathering boats, baroque, bacalhau.
Need to know Coimbra and Aveiro are around 60km apart. Trains between the take 40-70 minutes, depending on frequency of stops. The bus or drive via the toll road takes about 50 minutes.
How to get there Porto is the closest airport to both Coimbra and Aveiro. British Airways (ba.com) and TAP Portugal (flytap.com) fly direct from Heathrow and Gatwick respectively. Flight time is around 2.5 hours; fares start from around £50 one way. Trains run from Porto's Campanhã station to Coimbra (from 70 minutes) and Aveiro (from 40 minutes)
Set on a steep hill rising from the north bank of the River Mondego, Coimbra (pronounced Queenborough') is one of Europe's most ancient seats of learning. The university was founded in 1290 when the city was Portugal's capital. Traditions are guarded by students in black capes, while pride of place in academic lore goes to the self-governing residential communities known as repúblicas. The city hums with activity in term time, calming to a more museum-like ambience during the holidays.
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