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COIMBRA - how to get there by train or bus and how to get around

Page last checked and updated 18th October 2017.

I have no easy means to check or update so please confirm through sources given below.

Coimbra (pop. 101,000, urban area 148,000) is a city of Central  Portugal - it is not in the Algarve. It stands about 206km (125 miles) north of Lisbon and about 125km (76 miles) from Porto.

From Porto Airport to Coimbra by train

portometrologocp logoThis is straightforward and inexpensive. Take the METRO DO PORTO Line E from the Airport to Campanhã station. Trains run about every 30 minutes from early morning until after midnight. That will take about 33 minutes and cost €2.55 - a Z4 (four zone) ticket. More details at the METRO DO PORTO website. By the way, don't throw away your 'ANDANTE' ticket if you are coming back to Porto. It is rechargeable. You can use it until it wears out and saves you €0.60 on each subsequent ticket of the same type. Tickets are sold at the Airport tourist office but if it's not open you will need some coins for the ticket machines.

At Campanhã walk round from the Metro station to the main railway station of CP, Portuguese Railways. That takes only a couple of minutes.

Please note that reservations for train trips in Portugal can only be made up to a MAXIMUM of 60 days in advance. You can reserve on line and print your own ticket at www.cp.pt and DO NOT use RailEurope etc as they cannot issue the required seat reservation for which you will pay extra.  A 40% discount is available on many trains for tickets purchased more than 8 days in advance.

From Porto Campanhã, fast trains run about once every hour to Coimbra-B station. The journey is about an hour by these trains. Seat reservations are compulsory and open 60 days before travel. If you buy a ticket on line more than five days in advance a 40% discount on the normal is on offer. You can buy a 'last minute' ticket if there are spare seats on the next train. Otherwise you will have to wait for the first train on which seats are available. One-way second class fare is €14,80 or €18,30, depending on which train you catch.  On all trains it is necessary to change at Coimbra-B for the city centre Coimbra station. If you buy your ticket at the station, make sure you book to COIMBRA or you will pay extra for the final short leg of the journey. If you book on line, the ticket to Coimbra-B includes the connection by local train into the Coimbra (city) station.

There is also an option to travel to Aveiro on the 'urban' trains then by regional train to Coimbra. This will take about 2 hours but will cost only €8.65 with trains about every 2 hours.

The first fast train is at 0547 daily. The last fast train is at 2200 daily. Be sure to check timetables at the Portugal Railways Official website especially if travelling on or around public holidays. A slow train (reservation and advance ticket purchase not available) leaves Porto Campanhã daily at  0130 ending at Coimbra B at 0257.

Information below about the different railway stations in Coimbra.

Porto - Coimbra by bus (coach) redeexplogo

You will need to make your way from the airport to the bus station at Campo 24 de Agosto. This outside the city centre by the metro station of the same name.

The TRANSDEV bus company runs a bus once each hour from the airport to the city bus station, with connecting buses from there direct to Coimbra. Details at http://www.transdev.pt/aeroportoporto/

You can take the metro to Campo 24 de Agosto station which is about 2 minutes walk from the bus station or consult www.stcp.pt for your local bus options.

Consult the long distance bus website www.rede-expressos.pt for Porto - Coimbra times. One-way fare is currently €12.50 and the journey takes about 1hr 30 minutes. There are buses about once every two hours, every day. Rede Expressos also has journeys to Coimbra from many towns and cities through Portugal. Seats can be reserved up to 30 days prior to travel.

From Lisbon Airport and City to Coimbra by train

If you are not planning to spend time in Lisbon, you will need to get from the Airport to LISBOA ORIENTE station. This is now very simple using the underground metro trains (subway). Trains run to Oriente station every few minutes from 0630 until 0100 every night. The journey takes about 5 minutes. There is also city bus route 744 to Oriente.  Lisbon city bus website

If you are planning to spend time in Lisbon, most trains to the north start from the city centre SANTA APOLÓNIA station  but two trains go from Lisbon ENTRECAMPOS instead. Check timetables at www.cp.pt.

From Lisbon, fast trains run about once every hour to Coimbra-B station. The journey is about 1 hour 35 minutes by the fastest trains, 2 hours by the others. Seat reservations are compulsory and open 60 days before travel. Reserve on-line at www.cp.pt but you can buy a 'last minute' ticket if there are spare seats on the next train. Otherwise you will have to wait for the next train on which seats are available. One-way second class fare by fast train is €20,60 or €24,40 Euros depending on which train you catch. If booking on line more than eight days in advance a 40% discount on the normal fare is on offer.

If you buy your ticket to/from Coimbra on line, you can use it at no extra cost on the connecting local trains between Coimbra-B and Coimbra (city) stations.

Please see below information about the different railway stations in Coimbra.

First train (from Santa Apolónia) is at 0600 weekdays, 0700 at weekends and on holidays. The last train is at 2130hrs daily - these trains stop at Lisbon Oriente 9 minutes later. NB the last train from Lisbon with a connection at Coimbra - B for the city centre leaves at 2000hrs. Later trains have no connection.

Be sure to check timetables at the Portugal Railways Official website especially if travelling on or around public holidays.

Reservations for train trips in Portugal can only be made up to a MAXIMUM of 60 days in advance. You can reserve on line and print your own ticket at www.cp.pt and DO NOT use RailEurope etc as they cannot issue the required seat reservation for which you will pay extra. A 40% discount is available on many trains for tickets purchased more than 8 days in advance.

Lisbon - Coimbra by bus (coach)redeexplogo

You will need to make your way from the airport to the SETE RIOS bus terminal. This is about 3 miles/5km from the airport and is linked to it by the underground metro line. Take any train to the end of the line at Sao Sebastiao then change to the Blue Line for a two stop ride to Jardim Zoologico station which is adjacent to Sete Rios. Trains run every few minutes from 0630 daily, the journey will take around 25 minutes and cost €1,95.

There is also a direct special bus, Aerobus 2, running about every 40 minutes. Consult the Aerobus website for details. For your bus options from elsewhere in the city check the city bus website at http://www.carris.pt/  Consult the Portuguese long distance bus website www.rede-expressos.pt for Lisbon - Coimbra times; remember that Lisbon is LISBOA in Portuguese. One-way fare is currently €14.50 and the journey takes about 2hrs 30 minutes. There are buses about once every hour, every day. Rede Expressos also has journeys to Coimbra from many towns and cities through Portugal. Seats can be reserved up to 30 days prior to travel.

Arriving in Coimbra

There are two railway stations in Coimbra!

COIMBRA - B is the main station where all the trains from Lisbon and Porto stop. It is however about 2km (1 ¼ miles) from the city centre, hotels and University. There is a local train service into the city centre Coimbra station connecting with main line trains. Taxis and local buses can be taken at Coimbra - B. Bus information at www.smtuc.pt but only in Portuguese.

COIMBRA is the city centre station. Local trains connect with all the main line trains at Coimbra - B. Long distance tickets to Coimbra-B bought on line are valid, at no extra cost,  for the connecting trains between Coimbra-B and Coimbra (city) stations.

NOTE 1 - if you buy your ticket at the station and wish to travel to or from COIMBRA (ie the city centre) make sure you get a ticket to COIMBRA and not Coimbra - B.  NOTE 2 - not all the connecting trains between Coimbra - B and Coimbra show up in the printed timetable, but they are there!

At Coimbra (city) station it is about 5 minutes walk to the main hotel district. Trolleybus 103 will take you up to the University on top of the hill.

And just to confuse matters, the local buses and local people refer to Coimbra - B as 'Estação Velha' (Old station) and Coimbra as 'Estação Nova' (New station).

The bus station in Coimbra is a little closer to the city centre than Coimbra B. It's still a good 10  - 15 minutes walk into the city along the Avenida Fernão Magalhães. Outside to the left is a taxi rank, outside to the right is the stop for city buses towards the University and City Centre.

Getting around in Coimbra

Coimbra is a walkable city, but rather hilly! The old city and University are on top of the very tall and steep hill where the castle once stood. Streets are for the most part cobbled with steep steps and most are traffic free. If you need local buses around the city and immediate suburbs, consult the bus company website; these buses operate under the name SMTUC - Transportes Urbanos de Coimbra. The network of routes and numbering system is quite hard to understand at first. Many of them run as circular routes rather than end-to-end. City centre bus stops have 'countdown' clocks to tell you how long it is before the next bus. Single ride bus tickets on the city network are now valid for 1 hour, including transfers to other routes. These cost €1 for one, €2.90 for three and €8.50 for ten.

A one-day ticket is €3.50. Various discounted pre-pay multi-journey tickets and other passes are available from the ticket shop outlets. Passes and multi ride tickets are issued on a rechargeable ticket card costing an extra 50 cents.

On weekdays, the main bus routes run every 10 or 15 minutes until around 2100, after which only a few routes operate every 30 - 45 minutes at best, until around 2300. At weekends and on public holidays, buses are less frequent.

Unfortunately, the timetables are not very user friendly as they show only the times that the bus leaves the starting point of the route. That's all very well when they run every 12 - 15 minutes on a weekday, but in the evening or on a Sunday when they may be only every 45 minutes it is not helpful.

Coimbra has the last operational electric trolleybuses in Portugal. There are two routes (numbers 4 and 103) linking the Coimbra (city  centre) station with the University and neighbouring suburbs. Enthusiasts note the trolleybuses do not run in August. Diesel buses substitute while maintenance work is under way. However, on my last visit only a few journeys were by trolleybus.

There are two tourist offices in the city, one close to the Coimbra city centre station and another in the University district.

Luggage storage - there is none at the railway or bus stations but recent information offers this : CASA MEDIEVAL- Coimbra Welcome Center,  located in "Rua do Sargento Mor, Casa Medieval nº4" and it's near the historical centre of the city. Price examples : morning/afternoon (10am to 2pm/ 2pm to 6pm) it's 5€, full day it's 8€.

A correspondent also reported in August 2017 that " the Serenta Hostel, next to the Cathedral and University, will store luggage @ 4E per person per day (open 24/7) and Hotel Oslo, near the Coimbra-A train station says they will store luggage for free even if not booking a room (hard to believe but that's what they emailed me)."

Further afield from Coimbra

To get to Miranda do Corvo, Lousa and Serpins, the dedicated Metro Mondego bus service starts from outside the Coimbra (city) railway station. This operates at irregular intervals but fairly frequently to Miranda do Corvo and Lousa, about every one or two hours beyond there to Serpins. Service is much reduced at weekends and holidays. Complete timetable information is available at http://servicosalternativos.blogspot.pt - it is only in Portuguese.

From Coimbra's two stations there are frequent local trains to Figueira de Foz, Aveiro and Entroncamento, serving various suburbs on the way. You can also get trains inland to Guarda and Vilar Formosa. The combined  International trains 'Sud - Express' and 'Lusitano Tren Hotel' stop at Coimbra-B on their way to and from Hendaye/Irun and Madrid. This is the ONLY way by train across the border. There are no connections in this region between Portuguese and Spanish domestic rail services. Consult www.cp.pt for timetables.

Bus companies Transdev and Moisés operate from Coimbra bus station to a variety of nearby destinations. At the time of my visit no timetables were on display in public areas nor was there any indication of which bus left from which stop. Many buses also stop outside the Coimbra city centre railway station.

Buses to outlying areas are reasonably frequent on weekdays, but very few run on Saturdays and almost none on Sundays or Holidays. Most interurban buses finish around 8pm. Please bear these things in mind before making your plans too firm.

For these buses you obtain your ticket from the bus driver in the usual way.

Football Stadium in Coimbra

The stadium of Academica Coimbra (Estádio Municipal de Coimbra) is about 2km south-east of the city centre and is served by several of the local SMTC bus routes. There is a very large shopping mall  and cinema underneath it!

Roman site at Conimbriga

Access to the important Roman archaeological site and museum at Conimbriga (about 9 miles or 14km from Coimbra) is pretty easy by bus. The location is about 1 mile (1.6km) from the centre of the small town of Condeixa-A-Nova.

The bus to Condeixa (they do not have route numbers) runs about every 30 minutes on weekdays, less often at weekends and holidays. For the timetable  go to www.transdev.pt - the site is only in Portuguese but enter 'Origem' as Coimbra and 'Destino' as Condeixa-A-Nova and you will get the current downloadable timetable for both directions. Buses start from the main bus station, but also stop outside the 'city' railway station at the stop by the river marked for Moises and Joalto buses.

The fare from Coimbra to Condeixa is €2,45 each way for the 40 minute ride, which is quite pleasant in itself as the road climbs and winds up into the wooded hills.

Some of the buses run through to Conimbriga. These are marked with a C in the timetable. The others end their journeys at the Condeixa 'bus terminal' which is about 1 mile (1.6km) from the site. The local minibus no longer serves the Conimbriga museum site.

The official website for Conimbriga is www.conimbriga.pt and there are various items in Wikipedia and elsewhere. If you are interested in antiquity, it's well worth a day of your time.

Comments and updates

If you have any comments or updates for this page, I will be pleased to receive them by email. For more about Coimbra as a city, please see this article http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Coimbra

 I take no responsibility for any inconvenience caused as a result of later changes to times etc. This page is for general guidance only and you must check details before making commitments and decisions!

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