Monthly Archives: January 2013

Coimbra – Off the beaten track

Here is another post from one of our Advanced students who is preparing for the CAE at International House Santa Clara.

The text is a section of a tourist guide for visitors to Coimbra giving them advice about places which can be easily visited from their base in Coimbra.  Places which are worth visiting but often overlooked by tourists in our corner of  Portugal.

Coimbra – Off the beaten track

Coimbra is one of the most important cities in Portugal because of its long, illustrious history.  Visitors to Coimbra will find lots to fill their time here from beautiful monuments to interesting museums.  However, within easy reach of the city lie other places well worth a visit.

A stroll through history

The first place you should consider are the ruins of Conímbriga, once one of the biggest Roman settlements in Portugal.  To learn more about the Roman lifestyle tourists can visit an informative museum beside the ruins.  After wandering around the ruins themselves, the location is the perfect spot for a picnic, or, if you prefer, there’s an inexpensive restaurant onsite.

Ancient stone walls

Another fantastic place that is not often visited by foreign tourists is the castle at Montemor-o-Velho.  This is a medieval castle built during the Christian reconquest.  Here tourists can see the impressive fortifications and great views from the old walls.  Sometimes, in summer, there are concerts inside the walls.

An insight into the past

Salinas da Figueira da Foz is another site of interest just a few kilometres from Coimbra.  It preserves one of Portugal’s oldest agricultural activities – salt production.  The Salinas da Figueira was created to safeguard this important heritage and consists of a museum, a walk between the channels and salt flats and a sightseeing boat.  These three options provide a wonderful way to learn more about this traditional practice.  Visitors can see typical salt warehouses, wooden buildings based on platforms with the capacity to store between 150-200 tonnes of salt.

In short, within easy access of Coimbra, visitors can find many fascinating places which give them a greater insight into the history and culture of Portugal.  It’s well worth considering exploring at least one of these places during your trip to Coimbra.

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Filed under CAE 2012, CAE 2013