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Praça 8 de maio

  - 1 opinions

Most beautiful square in Coimbra

Published by Ethel Rudnitzki — 2 years ago

Portuguese and spanish cities are known for its squares, big open air places where people gather to chat, eat and observe their town. Squares usually have churches or important buildings, such as the Major office, some trees, benches and even monuments

Most beautiful square in Coimbra

Praça 8 de maio in Coimbra has it all. It is located just in front of Igreja de Santa Cruz, a major church in town, and the Town Hall. It is also the ground zero spot in the city and it is surrounded with nice things to do.


The square is named after an episode that happened on May 8th 1834 in Coimbra. This is the date when the liberal troops took the city from the monarchist's control.

Most beautiful square in Coimbra

But the praça 8 de maio existed even before that. It was inaugurated with the Santa Cruz church, in the 10th century, and it used to be called "Praça de Sansão" (Sansão's square) due to a statue of the god that used to exist in the middle of the square. The statue, along with the fountain that surrounded it where destroyed, but nowadays there is another fountain that overplaces it.

Most beautiful square in Coimbra

For many years, the square was the most important in town, since it was the place where goods where sold to the city - during medieval times. Until this date, fairs take place there.

Today, it still is the most important in my opinion because it is the place where the Town Hall is located, and stage for most public events not organized by the university.

What to visit

Praça 8 de maio is fulled with nice things to do and visit. The most important thing to see there is Santa Cruz Church, one of the oldest in town and most beautiful. It is very historic and used to be a monastry as well. Inside, apart from the altar and hall, you can visit the tomb of portugal first king, the cloisters and more.

Most beautiful square in Coimbra

Also, surrounding the square there are many nice restaurants and shops. Just besides the church, there is a cafe built inside the old monastry's chapel. Really beautiful.

Most beautiful square in Coimbra

The square is in between two major streets in Coimbra: Rua da Sofia and Visconde da Luz street. Both of them are fulled with souvenir shops, nice stores and delicious bakeries and portuguese restaurants. The second one is exclusively for pedestrians and is a very nice place for walking around. It leads to Largo da Portagem, another very beautiful place to see in Coimbra.

There are also many events that take place in Praça 8 de Maio. During Christmas time, the square is adorned with decorations and lights, and many spectacles are organized by the Town Hall there. Besides that, since it is a very central spot and many people go by it every day, independent musicians and tunas (university groups of music) perform there.

It is a very nice place to visit at any time of the year or day. I'm sure you'll love it, just like I did.

My experience

Praça 8 de Maio was the first place I've been to when I got in Coimbra. I was going to stay in the city for 6 months and had rented a place in the downtown. I left my bags at the apartment and walked around town, and once I say Praça 8 de maio I felt like my next months would be great.

I felt amazed with all that beauty. I could feel the history in that place. I had never been to such an old place before, and still, it felt like home.

I hope you can visit it too and feel the same way as me: enchanted.

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