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Conimbriga Ruins

Portugal

Conimbriga Ruins

ABOVE: Roman baths in Conimbriga.

The ancient city of Conimbriga is a short drive or bus ride from Coimbra, an attractive university town halfway between Lisbon and Oporto. It's the largest Roman settlement in Portugal and is well worth visiting on any tour of the country's central and northern regions.

Like many archaeological sites, Conimbriga  was built in layers. Some of the earliest layers date back to the first Iron Age in the 9th Century B.C. The Romans arrived in the 2nd Century A.D., conquering the Celtic inhabitants and establishing a city that grew, flourished, and then fell victim to barbarian invasions until Conimbriga's residents fled to nearby Coimbra in 468.

Although Conimbriga wasn't the biggest Roman city in Portugal, it's the best preserved. The city's walls are largely intact, and the mosaic floors and foundations of many houses and public buildings remain. In the baths (see photo above), you can view the network of stone heating ducts beneath the now-missing floors. Archaeologists estimate that only 10 percent of the city has been excavated, so you're likely to see new discoveries if you return to Conimbriga after a previous visit.

The site also has a museum that displays objects found by archaeologists during their excavations. A restaurant/café is in the museum, which also has a gift shop.

Location

Conimbriga lies 16 km (10 miles) from Coimbra and less than 2 km (1¼ miles) from Condeixa-a-Nova, off the A1 highway between Lisbon and Oporto. It's also within easy driving distance of Bussaco (Buçaco) National Park.

Driving is the easiest way to reach the ruins, but you can catch a morning bus from Coimbra and return later in the day. If you're willing to walk, take a bus to Condeixa (a market and pottery-making town) and hike the short distance to Conimbriga. Check with the tourist office in Coimbra for bus schedules or maps.

Visitor information

The Conimbriga ruins are open daily from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m., with a modest admission fee. (The ruins are closed on a handful of holidays: January 1, Easter Sunday, May 1, and Christmas Day.)

Web links for Conimbriga

Conimbriga
The Museo Monográfico de Conimbriga's English-language Web site has practical information, an aerial photo of the ruins, and more.

iknow Portugal: Roman City of Ronimbriga
This article describes the ruin and has information for visitors.

Other tourism links

Touristic Guide of Coimbra
Get a quick overview of the city and its university of 25,000 students, which was founded in 1290 AD. For more detailed information, see the official Tourismo de Coimbra Web site.

Booking.com: Coimbra our partner
Coimbra has a good selection of hotels in all price ranges.

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