Coimbra is best known for its university and high concentration of college students, which make this historical city one of the youth capitals of Portugal, particularly during academic months (September to July).
Not only is Coimbra home to the largest population of university students in the country, but it also has the most active college associations, rich in traditions and active all school year long. The best time to experience the intensity of Coimbra's "vida academica" (college life) is at the beginning of the new academic year, when streets will be filled with seniors dressed in black and playing pranks on fresher students. Although sometimes controversial, these pranks are sure to animate the vibes in the city day and night. If you miss how things start, you can always join for "Semana Academica" -- once a year, a few weeks before graduation, this student festival turns the city into one big concert venue, and there are music and drinks flowing almost everywhere.
Since Coimbra receives so many young people -- those studying there and others that visit temporarily to enjoy the active young lifestyle - the city has many inexpensive hostels, from old renovated buildings to newer constructions. This city is used to receive young people on a budget, from Portugal and abroad, and therefore offers plenty of options at decent rates. "Baixa," the city center, is one of the most convenient locations to base yourself on to explore the city.
An extensive network of buses and trolleybuses connects all the main parts of the city. If you are downtown and in the historic center, it's easy to walk around to many points of touristic interest, during day and night, as this is a fairly safe city with students out and about until the late hours.
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