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Transportation and Accommodations

Getting There

Renting a car: we rented a car to get between cities in Portugal and drove from Lisbon to Coimbra, (about a 2-2.5 hour drive). When renting a car, there are some key things that you should think about.

Reputable car rental company – we used Hertz (and then Guerin / enterprise / national for another portion of the trip). Often the cheapest companies (i.e. Sixt) will try to nickel and dime you and say there is damage when you return the car so they can charge you a fee.

Manual vs automatic – If you or someone you are traveling with can drive stick shift, it will be much cheaper to get a manual rental as most cars are manual in Europe

# of days – usually you pay for full days on car rentals so you may want to try to strategically plan so you don’t pay a full extra day for just a few hours (i.e. use the car for 26 hours, but pay for 3 days). Some companies will give you an hourly pass for the end (Guerin did this for us so that we could return the car a few hours after the “day” mark

Gas vs diesel – this isn’t something you need to think about when renting cars, but when filling up the tank, this is not something you want to get wrong. A lot of cars are diesel so make sure you know what your rental uses

Toll pass – there are a lot of automatic tolls on the roads, so you’ll want to make sure you get a toll pass from your rental car agency. You’ll get charged for the tolls after the fact, but avoid tickets this way

Getting Around

Coimbra is a small town and easy to walk around. However, do note that it is very much on a hill so you’ll be getting your steps in.


We stayed near the University, which turned out to be a good location to stay. The location is at the top of the hill, but if you’re in the general vicinity, you can get around relatively easily.

Things to do and see

University hill

125 stairs to get to the top

Plaza/area at the top of the hill is very nice so make sure to walk into the area where the tower is

Bell Tower can be climbed for a view over the city

Wander along the river

I went for a run around the city and along the river (as I was looking for somewhere a bit flatter to run)

Food and Drink Recommendations

Ze Manel dos Ossos

Legitimate hole in the wall There are 5-6 tables and the kitchen is right where you eat, but the food is phenomenal and very cheap. We had to wait about 45 minutes, but it was well worth it. It’s hard to find as it’s in a small little alley off a larger pedestrian street

Other Notes

Great stop for a road trip from Lisbon to Porto. We were between Obidos (smaller) and Coimbra, but went with Coimbra since it was a bit further from Lisbon and larger. It was good for a quick stop, but we did not need much time here. It was a nice place to wander around, get some good food, and stay a night