A medium-sized city on the banks of the River Mondego. The houses are arranged along the riverside and up the hillside. The River Mondego has been celebrated in poetry since time immemorial. The city unfolds in small lanes, stairways and terraces, and endless hidden corners, from the lower to the upper zone. Traditionally the upper area of the city was occupied by the clergy, nobility and students and the lower area by tradesmen and artisans and this is still preserved to some extent in city life today.
It is the city with the lengthiest university tradition in Portugal and the University and its students have always shaped its urban life. The University is located in the upper part of the city and is one of the oldest in Europe. The noisy student celebrations that frequently crash and bang their way through the streets are famous. Coimbra is also a city famous for fado, and it has developed its own individual style of this music.