The Charm of Tiles in Porto
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The famous colored tiles add an extra charm to the Invicta City.

Portugal has lots of charm details. Doubtless, one of them is the beauty of the tiles that cover many buildings and houses in Porto. Colored or just in blue and white, these small tiles always attract the visitor’s attention.

 

 In the panel of the Municipal Library of Porto there are tiles from the 17th and 18th centuries

The tiles arrived in Portugal at the time of king D. Manuel, in the 15th century, with Arab influence. The origin of the word “azulejo” comes from the term “az-zaleij”, of Arab-Hispanic origin, which means “the polished stone”. In Portugal, tile production developed its own language and the country’s history is told in its paintings.

Strolling through Porto Downtown, you can easily find tile panels. The most imposing of the places where you can admire hand-painted tiles in great quantity is São Bento Station. This is the place with the largest number of tiles per square meter in the world! They were all painted by the artist Jorge Colaço in the beginning of the 20th century, and later organized on the walls at the entrance of the station.

São Bento Station


Nearby, you’ll find Saint Ildefonso’s Church, built from 1709 to 1739. However, the tiles were only installed in 1932 by Jorge Colaço. In the Soul’s Chapel – an 18th century chapel, with almost 16.000 tiles – you’ll find the most famous tiles in Porto, related to Saint Catarina and San Francisco of Assisi. Authored by Eduardo Leite, they were also installed in the 20th century.

Soul´s Chapel


At Casa da Música, a spectacular building designed for concerts which opened in 2005, Rem Koolhaas, the project’s designer, created the VIP Room, all covered with tiles. It’s worth visiting.

VIP Room in Casa da Música

If you want to buy a tile to take away as a souvenir, there are thousands of stores scattered around the city. We suggest Prometeu Artesanato, which is located at Rua Mouzinho da Silveira, 136, open every day from 10 AM to 09 PM. If you want to produce your own tile and take it home, the tip is Brâmica, located at Rua Santo Isidro, 181, open from Monday to Friday, from 02 PM to 08 PM. 

You have plenty of options to enjoy and take pictures with the tiles in Porto! Don’t forget to tag @inlifeportugal when following our tips 😉.


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Almendres Cromlech in Évora
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The Almendres Cromlech is the largest megalithic complex in the Iberian Peninsula. It is a 20-minute drive from the center of Évora. It is estimated to have been erected between the sixth and fifth centuries BC, but it was only “discovered” in 1974. There are almost 100 menhirs, arranged in a “prehistoric stone circle”, called Cromeleque. The place is so relevant that some call it The Portuguese Stonehenge.

Cromlech’s Rocks

The real role of the Cromlech and Menhir of Almendres is not certain, but the strong link they both have with agriculture and grazing seems to be undeniable. There are guided tours that tell you the history of the place or you can discover it by yourself.

Surrounded by an aura of mysticism and enchantment, the Almendres Cromlech is an authentic time machine worth visiting. Don’t forget to identify @inlifeportugal when you follow our tips 😉.


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Why Study in Évora?
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Évora is a very interesting city. Despite being small, it has great historical importance and several points worth visiting. Its historic center was declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO in 1986. If you want to know more about interesting places that you must visit in the city, click here.

Évora University 

With an excellent location, Évora is an hour and a half away from Lisbon (134 km) and two hours from Faro (226 km). If you want to go to Spain, it’s five hours to Madrid (504 km) and three hours to Seville (326 km). With many buses to all cities, getting around to visit any place will be easy.

For those who do not want to live with too much “city lights”, as in the capital Lisbon or in Oporto, but who also do not like too peaceful cities, Évora is an ideal choice. With many restaurants, terraces and a shopping mall, the city is an invitation to live in an open air museum.

The University of Évora is the second oldest in the country, founded in 1559, and has a vast list of graduate, master and doctoral courses. Do you want to see more about the university? Click here. 

If you are an Erasmus student, a lot of events will be offered to you by ESN. Karaoke Night, Game Day, Glitter Party and Yoga Class, are just some of the events organized especially for you.


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Everything you Need to Know About São João in Porto
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June is officially the month of the festivities in Portugal, better known as the month of the Popular Saint’s Festivities.

 

In Lisbon, on the night of the 12th to the 13th of June, Santo António is celebrated and, in Porto, on the night of the 23rd to the 24th of June, it’s time to celebrate São João. The festivities mean great enthusiasm. People go to the streets to eat the typical sardines with bread, to drink and to have fun. The streets are transformed into walkways, decorated with arches, balloons of all colors and the usual basil pots.

 

Sardines

Is São João on the 23rd or the 24th of June? Well, the official day is the 24th, but the celebrations start the night before, as the tradition dictates.

Celebrating with plastic hammers

The more traditional neighborhoods, such as Miragaia, Fontainhas, Ribeira and Massarelos, are full of revelers with their plastic hammers in their hands. If you’re there, get ready to be hammered in your head and don’t forget to buy a hammer, so that you can retaliate. At midnight, all eyes will be turned to the fireworks  launched in the middle of the Douro River. The balloons of São João combined with the fireworks provide a unique show, not to be missed. Be sure you are around!

Fireworks in Douro River

After that, the most resistant continue to walk in the charming streets of Miragaia, passing by the river mouth until reaching Matosinhos to watch the sunrise. Are you curious? Click here to see more about how the party happens.  

Don’t forget to tag @inlifeportugal in your stories and posts when following our tips 😉.


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5 Libraries to Study in Porto
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Sometimes the coziness of our home is not the ideal place to study. In Porto, there are several options to do it. This college town is full of cafes, terraces and parks where students go to study, but if you are looking for a quieter place, we gathered suggestions that will help you put your studies up to date.

 

1. FMUP Library

Technically, this library does not belong to FMUP (Medicine College of the University of Porto), but to CIM (Medical Research Center), so anyone can go there to study. A quiet and warm place, very inviting to study on rainy and cold days, with huge windows and lots of lighting that helps to give a feeling of not being in a super closed space. With free Wi-Fi, print service, and computers, it’s a great choice for those in the health/science area because they have the best books. There are only two disadvantages: you cannot eat or drink inside the space and the opening hours are only from Monday to Friday, from 8:30 am to 8:00 pm.

Address: R. Dr. Plácido da Costa s/n, Porto 

Monday to Friday from 08:30 AM to 08:00 PM

 

2. Almeida Garrett Library

Better known as “Cristal Palace Library”, the Almeida Garrett is one of the best libraries in Porto. Public and with a large collection, with access to all content, the student can spend hours inside. Very quiet, with lots of plugs in every corner and free Wi-Fi. Pay attention to the time you go study there, since on Sundays it is closed and on Mondays it only opens from 02:00 PM. Tuesday to Saturday, it’s open from 10 AM to 06 PM.

Address: Crystal Palace Gardens, Rua Dom Manuel II, Porto

Monday 02 to 06 PM, Tuesday  to Friday from 10 AM to 06 PM

 

Almeida Garrett Library

 

3. FEUP Library

It is the largest library in Porto and has the capacity to accommodate about 400 students. To enjoy the space you don’t necessarily have to be a student. It’s open from Monday to Friday, from 08:30 AM to 07:30 PM.

Address: D. Frei Vicente da Soledade and Castro 25 Street, Porto

Monday to Friday from 8:30 AM to 07:30 PM

 

4. Polo Zero

Located at the bottom of the Garden of Olives, near the Clerigos Tower, Pole Zero is a predominantly university space, with excellent study tables, Wi-Fi and a great structure to help with your studies. There are two environments, one more formal and the other one more relaxed, with benches and ottomans. Please note that as it is a much-appreciated space, tables are not always available. Our tip is to arrive early.

Address: São Filipe de Nery Street, Porto

Open every day from 10 AM to midnight

 

5. Serralves Library

It is an art library with free access to all documents and Wi-Fi. This is a great option for anyone who is studying art. An environment with a lot of natural light and beautiful decoration. When the student wants to take a break, he can always visit Casa de Serralves or Parque de Serralves. The Library is open every day from 10 AM to 06 PM.

Address: Rua Dom João de Castro 210, Porto

Open every day from 10 AM to 06 PM

 

You have plenty of options to study in Porto. Studying in places like the ones we pointed gives a whole new boost to your motivation. Enjoy them and don’t forget to tag @inlifeportugal in your stories and posts when you follow our tips 😉.


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Eating in Évora – With Time and Pleasure
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Évora is famous for its excellent cuisine. Creativity and imagination in the use of very simple regional ingredients made Alentejo’s gastronomy a surprise of flavors and a real tourist attraction.

Since Alentejo was, in the past, a region of weak economic resources, where the great plains of wheat, olive groves and pigs and sheep that grazed freely abounded, it is not surprising that bread, oil, pork and lamb are the basis of their traditional cuisine. Wise hands gently combine these ingredients with spices that make a difference: garlic, coriander, oregano, pennyroyal, mint …

Alentejo is also known for its numerous wines of excellence, distinguished with several international awards. You’ve got to taste them and eventually visit one of the several – and unmissable – wine tourism places.

Cheeses and meat sausages, made according to the traditional method, are also famous for their quality and exceptional flavor.

There is also a typical Alentejo confectionary that is difficult to resist to. Many dessert recipes come from the conventual tradition, made mainly with eggs, almonds and gila.

In addition to the respect for what is traditional and genuine, there are many restaurants in Évora which work with new concepts and a creative modernization of tradition. There are also multiple offers for those who prefer a vegan / vegetarian diet.

Zé Dias and D. Luísa – Taberna Típica Quarta-Feira

Do you have any tips about eating in Évora? Share with us and don’t forget to tag @inlifeportugal in stories and posts when following our tips 😉.


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The Most Famous Love Story in Coimbra
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Get to know all about the dramatic love story between Inês de Castro and D. Pedro I.
 

Pedro and Inês

D. Pedro was born in 1320, son of King D. Afonso IV and D. Beatriz de Castela. For political reasons, D. Pedro married D. Constança Emanuel, a castilian noblewoman, in 1339.

Nobody could imagine that Pedro would fall in love with one of Constança’s ladies-in-waiting, the splendid Inês de Castro. The romance between them was criticized and badly accepted by the court, that feared the castilian influence on D. Pedro.

Based on morality, D. Afonso IV ordered the exile of D. Inês, in 1344, in the castle of Albuquerque, on the Castilian border. However, the distance hasn’t killed the love between Pedro and Inês, who used to write each other frequently.

In October of the following year, D. Constança died when giving birth to the future king, D. Fernando I of Portugal. As a widower and against his father’s wish, D. Pedro ordered D. Inês to return from exile and joined her, causing some scandal at court and upsetting his father. Then a dispute broke out between the king and the infant.

D. Afonso IV tried to solve the situation by marrying his son with a lady of royal blood. But D. Pedro rejected this project, claiming that he couldn’t think about a new marriage yet. However, the union with D. Inês was bearing fruit: between the years 1346 to 1354, Inês had four children. Rumors began to circulate hinting that the castilians were conspiring to murder the infant D. Fernando, D. Pedro’s legitimate heir, for the Portuguese throne to pass to the oldest son of D. Inês de Castro.

In 1355, D. Afonso IV gave in to pressure from portuguese nobles and ordered the killing of Inês de Castro. So, on the 7th of January, taking advantage of the fact that Pedro was traveling, three men – Pêro Coelho, Álvaro Gonçalves and Diogo Lopes Pacheco – ambushed Inês in the gardens where she and Pedro used to meet and coldly murdered her. The legend tells that her tears turned into a stream, which today is known as The Fountain of Tears, and her blood into the red moss of the place.

Love’s Fountain

The death of D. Inês caused the anger of D. Pedro against D. Afonso IV. After months of conflict, Queen D. Beatriz managed to intervene and sealed the peace between father and son. In 1357, D. Afonso IV died and his son was crowned as D. Pedro I.

In June 1360, D. Pedro I made a declaration legitimizing his children by stating that he had secretly married D. Inês, in 1354. The word of the king, his chaplain and his servant were the necessary evidence to legalize this marriage.

Then he pursued the assassins of D. Inês, who had fled to the Kingdom of Castile. Pêro Coelho and Álvaro Gonçalves were caught and executed in Santarém (according to legend, the King ordered that one of them had his heart ripped out by the chest and the other one by the back, watching the execution while feasting). Diogo Lopes Pacheco managed to escape to France and, later, would be forgiven by the King on his deathbed.

D. Pedro ordered the construction of the two magnificent tombs of D. Pedro I and D. Inês de Castro at the Alcobaça monastery, where the body of his beloved Inês is since 1361 or 1362. The legend also says that, before placing the body of her beloved Inês in the tomb, the king sat her on the throne and made the whole court kiss the hand of the dead queen.

Did you like the story? We have a cool tip for you: the film Inês e Pedro directed by António Ferreira, tells this story in an interesting way. Watch the movie and stroll around the sights that mark this beautiful love story. Don’t forget to tag @inlifeportugal when you follow our tips 😉.


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5 Must-see Places to Visit in Coimbra
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“Coimbra é uma lição, de sonho e tradição”, which means Coimbra is a lesson of dream and tradition, is a verse from a song sang by Amália Rodrigues, the greatest portuguese Fado singer.

 

Mondego River and Coimbra University


Coimbra
was inhabited by the Romans and the Arabs. D. Afonso Henriques, the first king of Portugal, was born in the city. The oldest college in the country is at one of its highest points. The city is bathed by the Mondego River and has been the scene of a love story worthy of Shakespeare. Furthermore it is part of the UNESCO Heritage since 1994.
We have chosen the top 5 places you need to visit in this beautiful city.


1. University of Coimbra 

Founded in 1290, the University of Coimbra initially started operating in Lisbon and settled permanently in Coimbra in 1537.

After entering the Porta Férrea (railroad door), we can see the Paço das Escolas (Scholl Hall) and the architectural complex that housed the colleges since the 16th century. Before belonging to the university, that space was the first Royal Palace of Portugal, where the first kings of Portugal were born and have lived.

Some mandatory points for the visitor are the Joanina Library, the São Miguel Chapel, the University Tower and the main building, where the Via Latina (long balcony) is located, and the Sala dos Capelos (Chapel Room). Pay attention to the visiting hours of some of the facilities.

Address: Paço das Escolas, Coimbra  

Open 24 hours

Paço das Escolas


2. Monastery of Santa Cruz

The Monastery, which has free entry, is located in  Coimbra downtown and was founded in 1131 by the Order of Saint Augustine.

The main building to visit in the Monastery is the Church of Santa Cruz, where D. Afonso Henriques, first king of Portugal, is buried. In the back of the Monastery, there is the Manga Garden, also known as Cloister of Manga, dating from the 16th century. Despite being independent today, the garden was initially part of the Monastery.

Address:  Praça 8 de Maio, Coimbra 

Monday to Friday from 09 AM to 05 PM, Saturday from 09 AM to 12:30 PM and 02 PM to 05 PM, Sunday from 04 PM to 5:30 PM

3. Quinta das Lágrimas

Quinta das Lágrimas is located on the left bank of the Mondego river. It occupies a vast area, in the center of which is a 19th century palace, now re-qualified as a luxury hotel. Its gardens have accumulated memories since the 14th century, mainly due to a love story that gave rise to several legends.

This story can be considered the most famous Portuguese love story, lived between Prince D. Pedro (future Pedro I of Portugal) and the castilian noble D. Inês de Castro, which has been the subject of countless works of art throughout the centuries.

According to the legend, the gardens of this farm have been the scene for the romantic encounters between the two lovers, witnessing moments of joy and tragedy. At Quinta das Lágrimas you will find the Fountain of Loves (Fonte dos Amores) and the Fountain of Tears (Fonte das Lágrimas).

It is said that it was at Fonte dos Amores, wich is surrounded by the walls of the Medieval Garden, that D. Inês used to receive the wooden boats with Pedro’s messages of love. But it is also said that D. Inês’ tears of suffering originated the so-called Fonte das Lágrimas, and that the blood spilled in this tragic story flowed and remained there marked til today, in red mosses.

 The visit costs 2 €.

Address: Rua José Vilarinho Raposo 1, Coimbra

Tuesday to Sunday from 10 AM to 07 PM

 

Quinta das Lágrimas


4. Botanical Garden of the University of Coimbra

The garden dates from the 18th century and was opened by the Marquis of Pombal. It is very pleasant to walk down through Alameda das Tílias, Estufa Grande, Estufa Fria, Fontanário and Recanto Tropical, which has different species of palm trees. All in 13 hectares.

Admission is for free.

Address: Calçada Martim de Freitas s/n, Coimbra

Open every day from 09 AM to 05:30 PM

Coimbra Botanic Garden


5. Santa Clara-a-Velha Monastery

Founded for the first time at the end of the 13th century (1283), by a lady of the nobility, the Monastery was re-founded in the 14th century (1314), by Isabel de Aragão – Queen Santa Isabel – who, after the death of her husband, King D. Dinis, expressed the desire to be buried there.

The ruins of Santa Clara-a-Velha of Coimbra comprise, in addition to the magnificent church with very peculiar characteristics, a cloister with monumental dimensions, which make it the largest known Gothic cloister in Portugal.

A Palace was built next to the fence, where Queen Isabel chose to live. It was also here that D. Inês de Castro was murdered at the behest of D. Afonso IV.

The proximity to the river was one of the factors for the building to be built in this place. However, this proximity marked the history of the Monastery from its beginning to the present day. If, on the one hand, the presence of water was important for the everyday life, on the other, the cyclical floods of the Mondego river made it impossible for the monastic community to stay there, forcing the definitive transfer of the monks, in 1677, to a new convent ( Santa Clara-a-Nova Monastery), at Monte da Esperança.

Entrance to the monastery costs €4.

Address: Rua das Parreiras, Coimbra

Tuesday to Sunday from 09 AM to 07 PM


Now it’s time to walk the streets of Coimbra and discover these places and others in the city. Don’t forget to tag
@inlifeportugal when following our tips 😉.


Are you looking for student accommodation in Coimbra? Talk to us! We have verified student rooms and apartments to rent in Coimbra! Book your accommodation online in our student housing platform.

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Queima das Fitas, the Ribbons Burning Party
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Everything you need to know about the traditional university party in Coimbra.

 

Students Burning the Ribbons

Coimbra is a university city and that title also ends up being its postcard. The university is in the upper part of the city, where the academic life and the festival Queima das Fitas take place. 

Queima das Fitas festival started at the end of the 19th century when law students decided to make the first burn of the ribbons that marked their folders, as they would not need them the next year. It has become a tradition all over the country, but as the University of Coimbra is the oldest one, this is a very special practice for its students.

During their academic life, students receive fabric ribbons that are placed in their academic folders. Each course has a different color and at the end of the academic period, there is a party that celebrates this passage in students’ life. The event lasts for days and ends with “burning the ribbons”, literally.

Medicine Students with their Ribbons and Folders

The festivities of Queima das Fitas in Coimbra take place every year in May. They start officially with the Monumental Serenade at Sé Velha, after which the celebrations begin.

The parade is one of the most wanted moments for everyone because it happens on the streets, it’s free and everyone can participate and have fun. It’s the moment when the floats leave the University with the graduates on top drinking and celebrating along the main town streets, where a crowd of family, friends or just curious people get together.

Noites do Parque (Nights at the Park) is a show where national and international artists are called to perform for several nights during this traditional party. There is also the Bohemian Supper, which is a meeting between graduates and novices, where the elders teach the youngsters some things about academic life.

Are you excited about Queima das Fitas? Get ready for the event in May. Don’t forget to tag @inlifeportugal when posting your pictures 😉.


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