Located midway between Lisbon and Porto, Portugal’s 13th century former capital has long been known for the University of Coimbra, the oldest in the country, founded in 1290. Now the riverfront city is welcoming a host of new attractions. Among them: Swedish bedmaker Hastens’ first-ever hotel, the 15-room Hastens Sleep Spa, a micro-hotel that aims to provide superior slumber by offering super supportive beds with three-spring mattress systems. Meanwhile, the Center for Contemporary Art in Coimbra will display works by renowned artists such as Mário Cesariny, Peter Zimmermann and Helena Almeida. Coimbra is also investing millions toward improving and preserving national monuments, with restoration work already under way on the ruins of the Monastery of Santa Clara-a-Velha, built on the bank of the Mondego River. —Tamara Hardingham-Gill

More Must-Reads from TIME

Contact us at letters@time.com.