Car & Van Hire in Coimbra

Enterprise car hire locations in Coimbra

Coimbra is almost exactly halfway between Lisbon and Porto, so travellers can fly to whichever airport is more convenient. At either airport, you'll find an Enterprise Rent-A-Car office where you can pick up your vehicle.

What to do and see in Coimbra

Coimbra is one of the most beautiful cities in Portugal, known for its historic buildings and fine cuisine. For most visitors, a major attraction is the University of Coimbra. This is the oldest university in Portugal and has been designated as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Take a stroll around the Paço das Escolas courtyard, soaking up the atmosphere or, if you're feeling restless, try climbing the 180 steps that lead to the university tower. One interesting place to check out is the students' jail, in which badly-behaved undergrads were once locked up. Don't worry - while the university is still in use, punishments today are less severe.

Within the university grounds, don't miss the Biblioteca Joanina. This 18th-century library is enormous, with over 250,000 books inside. The building itself is lavishly decorated, with huge, solid study tables and gold-edged bookshelves. Don't be alarmed if you catch a glimpse of a bat. The library keeps a small colony of these unusual creatures, as they eat insects that can be damaging to books.

There's plenty to be seen at the university, but Coimbra's history doesn't end there. The Monastery of Santa Cruz and the Old Cathedral both date back to the 12th century and are worth visiting. The Old Cathedral is particularly interesting, as its walls appear more like a fortress than a church. It was built at a time when the Iberian Peninsula was the site of many battles between Christians and Muslims, so it was a defensive building as well as a house of worship. However, inside, you'll see all the lavish designs you'd expect from a Catholic cathedral.

With car hire in Coimbra, you can also explore some more unusual sites. Try a visit to Portugal dos Pequenitos, one of the city's best attractions for families. This park is divided into different zones, where you can see child-sized models of monuments found across Portugal and its former colonies. There are also some small museums here celebrating Portuguese heritage, all in a family-friendly way.

With car or van hire in Coimbra, it's also easy to get around between restaurants. There are dozens of delicious Portuguese dishes to try, but the best local speciality is probably "leitão assado à barraida", roast suckling pig. The Portuguese public once voted for this decadent dish as one of the country's top seven meals. It's extremely rich and ideal for a special occasion. For more everyday fare, try the seafood. The most common type of fish here is bacalhau, or salt cod, but there are many other different dishes to enjoy.

Driving in Coimbra

Much of the historic centre of Coimbra is pedestrianised. You'll find free parking at the corner of Avenida de Conimbriga and Ponte de Santa Clara. Otherwise, you'll need to pay for parking. There is some on-street parking available around town. If you need to park all day, try going to a large car park instead. It's generally cheaper, and on-street parking often has a tight time limit. Don't be surprised if you see people parked on roundabouts, but do not join them. This is a common sight in Coimbra, but it is illegal, and drivers can be fined.

Watch out for cyclists and pedestrians. As you might expect from a university town, you are likely to be sharing the road with both. Some streets around the city are very narrow, so if you are using on-street parking, make sure you tuck your wing mirrors and double-check for any bikes whizzing past before you open your door.

One important road rule in Portugal is that you cannot cross unbroken white lines. In particular, you can never turn left onto a road with double white lines. Instead, you'll need to turn right, and then continue driving until the next roundabout, where you can change direction. Breaking this rule will often result in a fine. Another rule to keep in mind is this: when parking on the street, you must always park your car in the direction of travel. Pay close attention to this rule when in cities like Coimbra. When you are in the Portuguese countryside, things are quite different.

If you are driving in rural areas, be prepared for the unexpected! In small villages, Portuguese drivers often stop in the middle of the road to gossip with their neighbours. Sometimes they even park and get out to have lunch, blocking the road altogether. This is fairly common in villages. The acceptable response is to honk your horn, and someone will usually come out quickly to move the offending vehicle.

In general, be careful when driving on country roads. Portugal's back roads are often badly maintained. Road markings may be missing paint, road signs are sparse, and potholes are frequent. Take care, especially if you are driving in the countryside at night. The highways are in much better condition, but many have tolls.

Car and van hire in Portugal with Enterprise

Enterprise Portugal offers a range of car and van hire services including one-way, long-term and short-term vehicle hire. Commercial clients can speak to our award-winning business rental team who will tailor a mobility solution for your needs and budget.

We are part of the Enterprise group, the largest transportation solutions provider in the world. Our global network covers more than 90 countries and over 9,500 locations, allowing us to serve your mobility needs, wherever you’re going.

We are committed to providing the best service possible and exceeding our customers’ expectations for quality and value.

Car hire in Coimbra

If you are travelling with your family or in a big group, you may find a 7-seater or a people carrier will give you more space to travel comfortably with your luggage. For a city trip, a handy hatchback that’s easy to park may suit you better. For business trips or long drives an executive car will combine comfort and performance.

Whether you prefer automatic to manual transmission, no problem. If you want a petrol, diesel or hybrid engine, we’ve got you covered. You may also need GPS, a child seat or want to add another driver to the contract, let us know and we’ll arrange it for you.

Van hire in Coimbra

Should you need to hire a van while you’re in Coimbra, all our vans can be driven on a standard licence and are modern, clean and easy to drive. Just ask and one of our branch team will happily show you around your hire van to make sure you are comfortable with it before you head off.