Coimbra or Oporto?

Nov 9th, 2011, 08:53 PM
  #1  
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Coimbra or Oporto?

Are Oporto and Coimbra both worth seeing, or does one stand out over the other? If pressed for time, which would people rate as the absolute must-see? Or more to the point, which is the must-stay (for 2-3 nights)?

Our "easy" itinerary takes us to Oporto, but with a bit more trouble (and distance) we could take in Coimbra as well. Wondering if we should.
twoflower is offline  
Nov 10th, 2011, 01:28 AM
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I liked Porto a lot better than Coimbra. It's larger and there is more to see.
MyriamC is offline  
Nov 10th, 2011, 02:46 AM
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Porto is more gritty dodgy has some neat areas down by
the river but sort of an ugly big city Coimbra lots smaller
prettier... sort of depends on what you want if time do both
qwovadis is offline  
Nov 10th, 2011, 07:31 AM
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I also prefer Porto, and LOVED staying at Guest House Douro. We did not stay overnight in Coimbra though, we just walked around and had lunch.
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Nov 10th, 2011, 09:38 AM
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If you are interested in contemporary art, don't miss the Fondacion Serralves in Porto. A plus is the original Art Deco mansion elsewhere on the grounds. The museum's cafeteria is very good.
Michael is online now  
Nov 10th, 2011, 11:30 AM
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I preferred Porto as well. Stayed there for 2 nights and could have stayed for longer. Was in Coimbra for one night (did have a great time there) but that was plenty for me. I really enjoyed walking through Porto and visiting museums & shops and then venturing across the river to discover all the Port houses
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Nov 10th, 2011, 11:50 AM
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I have exactly the same experience as dmelo1. We stayed in Porto for 3 nights and could easily have spent another few nights. One night in Coimbra was enough for me.
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Nov 10th, 2011, 02:12 PM
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I agree with the others with one exception--if you can stay one night outside Coimbra at the Palace Hotel in the Bucaco forest. If you can do 2 nights in Oporto and 1 night in Bucaco after seeing Coimbra, I'd say that would be a very use of 3 nights. If only 2 nights, go with Oporto.

Check out the Palace Hotel in Bucaco. It's my all time favorite hotel. It was a hunting lodge of the Portugese kings until they were overthrown and the palace given to the cook to turn into a hotel. They have some of the original 1920's Art deco furnishings in the rooms, stairways covered in the blue and white tiles for which Portugal is justifiably famous, depicting Columbus discovering America, and an amazing restaurant with an outside deck with carved pillars in the Manueline rope-like style. Fantastic. Google it and check it out on the Booking.com site. It's amazing.
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Nov 10th, 2011, 04:38 PM
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Just read some of the recent reviews of the Palace Hotel in Bucaco. Looks like the sad economic condition of Portugal has had a bad effect on the hotel and it has not been kept up well. Some of the reviews overlook that and comment (as I have) on the wonderful structure and surrounds, etc. of the hotel. If you decide to go with my recommendation, you will need to temper your expectations with the more recent reviews you can find on Booking.com.
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Nov 11th, 2011, 01:20 AM
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An excellent hotel, just outside Coimbra, is the Pousada de Condeixa-a-Nova,Sta. Cristina. Really old wold charm. We loved it.
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Nov 11th, 2011, 05:31 AM
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I stayed in that Pousada. It was very nice, and there's a good restaurant right next to it. While in that area, also visit the Roman ruins in Conimbriga.
MFNYC is offline  
Nov 11th, 2011, 04:46 PM
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Thanks everyone. Sounds like Porto is the more popular to spend a few nights, but Coimbra may be worth a quicker (say one-night) visit.
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Nov 11th, 2011, 05:02 PM
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When in Coimbra, this is where we ate one evening (taken from my trip report):

That evening we drove to Mealhada for a meal of roast suckling pig at Pedro Dos Leitão. It took a few tries to get to the restaurant, because the directions given in http://tinyurl.com/pq376 were somewhat unclear. Coming from the south, the restaurant is located at the fifth or sixth roundabout on IC2 aka rte. 1; it is well north of the town center. There is nothing fancy about this place. It is mass production, with four or five ovens in full view when one walks in. The piglets are placed on a long spear and placed in the enclosed ovens. The dining room is a great big room with the servers mainly women of a certain age, but there is a maître d' who speaks English. He recommended the Pedro Dos Leitão special, which is roast suckling pig charged by the kilo, fried potatoes which are essentially hot fresh potato chips and a salad. He also recommended the dry sparkling white, which worked well with the meal. The pork was delicious, as were the potatoes. This is a family place, obviously patronized by people in the local area.
Michael is online now  
Nov 12th, 2011, 12:31 AM
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Coimbra is also the place to eat goat (cabrito)!
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Nov 26th, 2011, 10:44 AM
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Porto is the place to spend more time, in my opinion. Serralves is fabulous, and a visit to the Port lodges in Vila Nova de Gaia is a good way to spend an afternoon.

Coimbra University is worth seeing, and you could do that in an hour or two.

Buçaco Palace is a beautiful building, but the food quality is mediocre.
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Nov 30th, 2011, 09:24 AM
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NY Times just did a 36 hours in Porto: http://travel.nytimes.com/2011/11/27...tml?ref=travel
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