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Bussaco and Coimbra – A region of the purest nature and academic capital
Situated in the central area of Portugal, Bussaco forest is at the northwest end of the mountain that gives it its name and is a dream refuge for nature lovers. Due to its geography, the rains and fog are frequent, which make this a place full of mystery and mysticism. It is a refuge that, in the seventeenth century, was chosen by the well-known monks of the Order of Carmelites to settle their headquarters. This is tranquillity itself. On this private visit, planned to your liking, you can see centuries-old trees, lakes and other centuries-old buildings that create an environment worthy of a retreat isolated from everything. Without a doubt, it is one of the best destinations in the world for those who like nature and hiking. Thirty kilometres further south is Coimbra, the well-known student city, which is also a UNESCO World Heritage Site. It is one of the Portuguese cities with the most history and greatest wealth, and it was the 2nd capital of the Kingdom of Portugal. It is believed that it was in Coimbra that D. Afonso Henriques was born. It is a city that perfectly combines the tradition of its history with its cultural evolution to sustain its candidacy for the European Capital of Culture for 2027. If you like Portuguese music, look for a fado house to listen to the famous Fado de Coimbra. This is a region filled with historical monuments with strong Manueline-style influence and a symbol of academic life unique in the country. In addition, Coimbra has one of the oldest universities in the world.
A tour of magical woods and the old medieval town
On this private tour, explore trails and lakes to the sound of bird song, in a perfect location for hiking and reflections. Walk through enchanted woods that are home to majestic trees such as redwoods, cedars and even a giant eucalyptus tree. But that’s not all. There are also convents, hermitages, chapels and even a Way of Cross waiting for you. Get ready for a trip you won’t forget. In the midst of this pure nature, discover a royal palace transformed into a luxury hotel, the Palace Hotel do Bussaco, a setting out of a fairy tale.
And to eat, what do we have?
When you sit down at the table, the excellent regional gastronomy that so well characterises this area quickly demonstrates that you have made the right choice. Prepare for an explosion of flavours if you choose the typical roasted piglet, but if fish is more your thing, be sure to try lamprey rice. Finish the repast in the best way possible with the well-known pastries of Santa Clara or with an Arrufada. But that’s not all: this tour doesn’t end here. In the afternoon you will have a guided visit to Coimbra, capital of academic traditions. There you will find one of the richest libraries in Europe, the Joanina Library, on the university campus, which is one of the best examples of the Baroque style in Portugal. Let’s not forget other emblematic monuments such as the Old Cathedral or the Monastery, an icon of Manueline architecture, in a region loaded with symbolism and medieval history.
Discover the whole history of a region in the midst of nature
If you’re looking for a pure encounter with nature and want to get to know historic cities, this 12-hour private tour is exactly what you’re looking for. It’s an experience that will leave you with a longing and wish to return. Book this trip now and get to know some enchanted places and a city with so many stories to tell.
On this tour, discover all the natural splendour that Bussaco has to offer. And for those who love history and fado, Coimbra is the ideal city to get lost in. It’s a mixture of nature and tradition.
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Buçaco National Forest
The Mata Nacional do Buçaco is a heritage of incalculable value, unique in Portugal and in the world. It is a secular heritage, incomparable, for bringing together historical, religious, military, botanical, faunistic, landscape, architectural, cultural, and even national identity relevance.
At the extreme of Buçaco mountain, where the highest range is 547 meters high, you will find the Buçaco National Forest, surrounded by a high wall with eleven entrance doors. Make them the starting point for a nature walk in the region and fall in love with the serene, almost magical exuberance of Buçaco's intense green colour.
Buçaco Palace Hotel
Considered one of the most beautiful hotels in the world, the Buçaco Palace stands majestically in the heart of the Buçaco National Forest and takes us into a world of fairy tales full of magnificent fantasy. Designed by set designer Luigi Manini, this impressive building is a recreation of the famous Manueline architecture, inspired by works such as the Tower of Belém or the Jerónimos Monastery, and recreates its décor full of details.
University of Coimbra - Alta and Sofia
Situated on a hill, overlooking the city, the University of Coimbra, with its schools, has grown and developed for more than 7 centuries within the ancient city. The visit to the University of Coimbra includes the following places
1 - Railway Door
Entrance of the former Royal Palace to which two portals with alleged sculptures of ancient faculties (Medicine, Law, Theology and Canon Law) were approved in 1634, the founding monarch, King D. Dinis and King D. João III and Wisdom, insignia of the institution.
2 - Via Latina
Great colonnade, from the late eighteenth century, whose name recalls the old rule that forbade any language other than Latin when it was passing through it
3 - Tower of the University of Coimbra
Ex-libris of the University and the city itself, was built during the eighteenth century, replacing the previous one, authored by John of Rouled (sixteenth century). The Italian architect who designs the work, António Cannevari, introduces it to very Italianizing Baroque aspects. The construction oversaw Portuguese Gaspar Ferreira. At the top, it features a small balcony and just below four clocks (one on each face), followed by four bells that govern academic life: a “cabra”, de 1741, o “cabrão”, de 1824, o “bolão”, de 1561 e o dos “quartos”.
4 - Monumental Stairs
As a result of the renovations to which the building was targeted, Gaspar Ferreira is given the task of recreating the communication stairs between the university and the public street.
5 - Chapel of St. Michael
Former oratory of the Royal Palace, dating from the 12th century, it is the target of major expansion works during the Manueline period, where Marcos Pires and Diogo de Castilho worked. The portal is an allegory to the political ideology of King Manuel I – it is king by divine right!
6 - Joanina Library
A unique and internationally recognized work is commonly known as the Joanina Library, since it was a work carried out in the reign of D. João V, whose large portrait by Dominico Duprá occupies the top of the interior of the library.
7 - Academic Prison
Established in 1593, in the north wing of the building, former royal prison, built by D. João I, was transferred, in 1773, to the infrastructure of the House of the Bookstore.
New Cathedral of Coimbra
Founded in 1542 by the Jesuits (Society of Jesus), it was the first faculty of the order and the largest of the city. Its objective was to prepare missionaries for all territories discovered and conquered by the Portuguese.
Old Cathedral of Coimbra
As soon as the bishopric's place is transferred from Conímbriga to Æminium, a temple will have been built. However, the only physical evidence attests to the existence of such a kind of building dates from 1117 – a date inscribed on the church's holy stone.
Church and Monastery of Santa Cruz
Founded in 1131, with the advancement and encouragement of King Afonso Henriques, for the Order of St. Augustine, it was the most influential convent house of the city, contributing to the cultural, economic and political development of the country.
San Sebastian Aqueduct
Popularly known as "Arcos do Jardim", given its location contiguous to the Botanical Garden of the Coimbra University, this aqueduct was built in 1570 by King D. Sebastião, to supply water to the city's Alta taking advantage of the layout of a previous Roman aqueduct.
Built in the Arch of Almedina, it had the function of protecting and defending the main access door to the interior of the wall. Its construction can be from the time of D. Sesnando (11th century) and has been renovated and remodelled several times.
Arch of Almedina
It was the main gate of the medieval wall. An older part of the door is attributed to the 9th century, being applied by two cubes joined by an arc. Its current appearance may be the result of a reform in the early sixteenth century, by order of King Manuel I.
Church of Santa Justa
The first building of the Church of Santa Justa dates to the 12th century and was located elsewhere. The current temple was opened in 1724. The facade is three stories, flat and flanked by towers.
Portugal dos Pequeninos (Optional)
Conceived by the doctor and professor Bissaya Barreto and designed by the architect Cassiano Branco, Portugal dos Pequenitos, opened to the public on June 8, 1940. It is one of the works inserted in a vast plan for the protection of children that included medical, sanitary, educational, and social assistance, carried out in the central coastal region of the country, following modern educational methods. This space is in the imagination of all the children who pass through here.
Convent of San Francisco (Optional)
The Convent of San Francisco, situated on the left side of the River Mondego, erected in the 17th century, functioned as a wool factory between 1888 and 1980.
Monastery of Santa Clara-a-Velha (Optional)
Founded in 1283 by D. Mor Dias, the Monastery of Santa Clara de Coimbra was delivered to the Clares shortly after. Dona Isabel de Aragão, Queen St. Elizabeth, became interested in the convent, which has since become extinct, and had new buildings built in gothic style, of which the cloister and the church stand out in 1330.
Monastery of Santa Clara-a-Nova (Optional)
The building is baroque style, sober and utilitarian, dotted with towers. The monastic complex, begun in 1649, replaced the primitive Monastery of the Clares, which the bed of the River Mondego had ruined.
Quinta das Lagrimas Gardens (Optional)
Old Quinta do Pombal, an agricultural farm, whose first reference arises in the 14th century.
Quinta das Lágrimas owes its name to the misadventures of the romance between D. Inês de Castro and Prince D. Pedro. The romantic tragedy puts in this place the death of the beautiful Agnes.
⛈️ - Weather
Exact destinations and itineraries may be changed due to weather, road conditions and the guide’s discretion. If cancelled due to poor weather, a different date or a full refund will be offered. Please check our Terms and Conditions.
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