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Escadas do Quebra Costas

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Break your back

Published by Ethel Rudnitzki — 2 years ago

During the middle age, cities used to be built on difficult places to acess, such as cliffs, or next to rivers difficult to cross. Coimbra was built on top of a mountain, and in the highest point you can find the most important part of the city, with the university - old royal palace, and more.

To get to this part of the city, though, you have to climb the mountain. Therefore, there are many stairways to guide you to the top. One of the most importants stairways is Escada do Quebra Costas.

Break your back


This stairway exists since the very beggining of the city of Coimbra. It was built in the 8th century to get from the downtown to the uptown and the old castle.

Break your back

Quebra Costas connects the Almedina Arch and Tower, that used to be the entrance to the walled city, to the Sé Velha (old cathedral) square, half way to the top of the mountain. It is a very big and narrow stairway and, as its name already said, it can break your back (Quebra Costas in portuguese means Back Breaker).

Break your back

People with disabilities, or with knee problems may not be able to climb the dozens of steps of this stairs. But if you think you can do it, do it! Because it is a very nice experience.

Break your back

What to see there

Besides the stairs and steps, Quebra Costas has many souvenir shops, fado houses and tascas, typical portuguese restaurants, on its way.

Break your back

It is a very touristic path, because it connects two major attractions in town. But it is also frequented by students who live in the downtown and need to go all the way up everyday for classes. During school year you may see many Coimbra students wearing their traditional capes and gowns there.

Break your back

If you're in Coimbra, I advice you to climb Quebra Costas stairway - besides helping you exercise, it is a very historic and beautiful place in the city.

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