Last Sunday i had the opportunity to visit Coimbra – the Oxford or Cambridge of Portugal – as it is home to one of the oldest universities of the world, the University of Coimbra. It is also classified as a World Heritage site by UNESCO since 2013. I decided to visit it during the Queima das Fitas festival – which is when the newly graduated university students burn the ribbons symolising the new status of the graduates – it’s a huge and unique celebration and a major tourist attraction.
A little more about Queima das Fitas:
Coimbra’s Queima das Fitas is the oldest and most famous one. It is typically organized by a students’ commission and it celebrates the end of graduation courses, symbolized by the ritual burning of the ribbons representing each faculty of the University of Coimbra (UC). It takes place during the second semester (starts on the first Friday of May) and is among the biggest student festivities in Europe. It lasts for 8 days, one for each UC’s Faculty: Humanities, Law, Medicine, Sciences and Technology, Pharmacy, Economics, Psychology and Education Sciences and Sports Sciences and Physical Education. During this period, a series of concerts and performances are held in the city, but it also includes a parade of the university students, sport activities, gala ball, and many other public events and traditions.
Alright, now you might be thinking “Oh, that sounds pretty cool, i would have loved to attend that” and no, no you do not. Why you ask? Well because
a) it smelt absolutely rancid because people were literally having beer fights and beer showers and trust me you do not want to smell that much beer at one go, ever.
b) drunk people everywhere.
c) it was way too crowded.
e) all the cool places and tourist attractions were closed.
f) did i mention the beer drenched people everywhere?
g) ESN Lisboa is very disorganised – you should probably avoid going on trips with them if you are (or soon will be) an Erasmus/International student in Lisbon.
I did manage to visit the Portugal Dos Pequenitos though, which was probably the highlight of the trip because it was absoutley adorable!
More pictures of the gorgeous city:
Have you visited Coimbra? If you have, what did you love most about it? Let me know in the comments down below or write to me on Instagram! I’d love to hear from you 🙂