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Plan your trip from Lisbon, Portugal to A Coruña, Spain

Sights you can visit along the way
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Coimbra
Coimbra
Stop time: 2h

Old Coimbra sits on a hill on the right bank of the River Mondego, with the university crowding its summit. The main buildings of the Old University,… Read full description >>

Old Coimbra sits on a hill on the right bank of the River Mondego, with the university crowding its summit. The main buildings of the Old University, dating from the sixteenth century, are set around a courtyard dominated by a Baroque clock tower and a statue of Joao III that looks remarkably like Henry VIII. The chapel is covered with azulejos – traditional glazed and painted tiles – and intricate decoration, but takes second spot to the Library, a Baroque fantasy presented to the faculty by João V in the early eighteenth century.

Below the university, a good first stop is the Museu Machado de Castro, just down from the unprepossessing Se Nova (New Cathedral). Named after an eighteenth-century sculptor, the museum is housed in the former archbishop’s palace, which would be worth visiting in its own right even if it were empty. At present it’s filled with sculpture, paintings, furniture and ceramics. The Se Velha (Old Cathedral), halfway down the hill, is one of the most important Romanesque buildings in Portugal, little altered and seemingly unbowed by the years. Solid and square on the outside, it’s also stolid and simple within, with its decoration confined to a few giant conch shells and some unobtrusive azulejos. The Gothic tombs and low-arched cloister are equally restrained.

Restraint and simplicity certainly aren’t the chief qualities of the Igreja de Santa Cruz, at the bottom of the hill past the city gates. Although it was founded before the Old Cathedral, nothing remains that has not been substantially remodeled. In the early sixteenth century Coimbra was the site of a major sculptural school; the new tombs for Portugal’s first kings, Afonso Henriques and Sancho I, and the elaborately carved pulpit are among its very finest works. The Manueline theme is at its clearest in the airy arches of the Cloister of Silence, its walls decorated with bas-relief scenes from the life of Christ.

It was in Santa Cruz that Dom Pedro had his court pay homage to the corpse of Ines de Castro, which had lain in the now ruined Convento de Santa Clara-a-Velha across the river alongside the convent’s founder, Saint-Queen Isabel. The tombs have long since been moved away, Inês’s to Alcobaça and Isabel’s to the Convento de Santa Clara-a-Nova higher up the hill. Two features make the climb worthwhile: the silver tomb itself and the vast cloister financed by João V, whose devotion to nuns went beyond the bounds of spiritual comfort.

The University

The university, founded in 1290 and finally established here in 1537 after a series of moves back and forth to Lisbon, was the only one existing in Portugal until the beginning of this century. For a provincial town it has remarkable riches, and it’s an enjoyable place to be, too – lively when the students are in town, sleepy during the holidays. The best time of all to be here is in May, when the students celebrate the end of the academic year in the Queima das Fitas, tearing or burning their gowns and faculty ribbons. This is when you’re most likely to hear the Coimbra fado, distinguished from the Lisbon version by its mournful pace and complex lyrics.

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Braga
Braga
Stop time: 1h30min

Braga was founded by the Romans in 279 BC. Braga was a bishopric before being occupied by the Moors. It was re-conquered early in the eleventh century… Read full description >>

Braga was founded by the Romans in 279 BC. Braga was a bishopric before being occupied by the Moors. It was re-conquered early in the eleventh century and by the end of the century its archbishops were pressing for recognition as “Primate of the Spains,” a title they disputed with Toledo over the following six centuries. It is still Portugal’s religious capital and the scene of spectacular Easter celebrations with torch-lit processions and weirdly hooded penitents.

You won’t be able to miss the Archbishop’s Palace, a great fortress-like building, right at the center of the old town. In medieval times it covered a tenth of the city and today easily accommodates the municipal library and various faculties of the university. Nearby is the Sé deBraga, which like the palace encompasses Gothic, Renaissance, and Baroque styles. It was founded in 1070 and its south doorway is a survival from this earliest building. Its most striking element, however, is the intricate ornamentation of the roofline, executed by Joao de Castilho (later the architect of Lisbon’s Jerónimos Monastery). A guided tour of the interior takes you through three Gothic chapels, of which the outstanding specimen is the Capela dos Reis (King’s Chapel). The Capela dos Reis was built to house the tombs of Henry of Burgundy and his wife Teresa, the cathedral’s founders and the parents of Afonso Henriques, founder of the kingdom. Beyond the chapels is the cathedral museum – one of the richest collections in Portugal, but displayed like a junk shop.

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Santiago de Compostela
Santiago de Compostela
Stop time: 1h30min

Santiago de Compostela is the capital of the autonomous community of Galicia, in northwestern Spain.
The city has its origin in the shrine of… Read full description >>

Santiago de Compostela is the capital of the autonomous community of Galicia, in northwestern Spain.
The city has its origin in the shrine of Saint James the Great, now the Cathedral of Santiago de Compostela, as the destination of the Way of St. James, a leading Catholic pilgrimage route since the 9th century. In 1985, the  Old Town was designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site

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Mira de Aire Caves
Mira d'Aire
Stop time: 1h30min

The Mira de Aire Caves, are the largest in Portugal and are certainly a great option for those looking for a different tour. With 11km of extension… Read full description >>

The Mira de Aire Caves, are the largest in Portugal and are certainly a great option for those looking for a different tour. With 11km of extension , of which 600m can be visited, the caves were elected as one of the 7 Natural Wonders of Portugal. The tour is going desceding,  through 683 steps and although it looks a lot, it is not hard because there ase several levels. The visit is done in groups and begins with a video with the history of the place and some interesting information. During the route several stops are made in many galleries, where the guide gives explanations including on how the elements in there are constantly formed, composing that scenario. It is a unique beauty.

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Batalha - A City Built on Victory
Batalha
Stop time: 1h30min

In 1385, King João I vowed that if his outnumbered army defeated the Castilians at the important Battle of Aljubarrota, he would build a magnificent… Read full description >>

In 1385, King João I vowed that if his outnumbered army defeated the Castilians at the important Battle of Aljubarrota, he would build a magnificent monastery dedicated to the Virgin Mary. The king was victorious, resulting in the independence of Portugal from Spain and the great Batalha (“Battle”) Monastery, as well as the founding of the town of Batalha itself. João's monument is a masterpiece of Portuguese Gothic architecture, combining Gothic and Manueline styles from its 200 year construction period. Its most dramatic feature is right in the centre of the chapel: the enormous tomb of Dom João I and his wife, Queen Philippa of Lancaster. On the site of the battle itself stands the humble Capela de Sao Jorge. With its Romanesque architecture and austere decoration, it is the yin to the Batalha Monastery's yang.

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Pontevedra
Pontevedra
Stop time: 1h

"Pontevedra gives water to travellers" is a Galician proverb that perfectly expresses the essence of this city: its hospitality.
This welcoming… Read full description >>

"Pontevedra gives water to travellers" is a Galician proverb that perfectly expresses the essence of this city: its hospitality.
This welcoming tradition is reflected in the Pilgrim Virgin, emblem of The Portuguese way to Santiago. To honour her, a unique church was built, which has become a national monument, and whose floor is in the shape of a scallop shell!


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Trip Summary

A Coruña, Spain
Departure:
Lisbon to

estimated arrival:

A Coruña
2x passengers