The guide book said that the finest Roman ruins in the Iberian Peninsula were to be found at Conimbriga. After having seen a few sites touted as the best or the finest in both Spain and Portugal, we took this statement with a grain of salt. Tarragona in Spain is pretty good, Italica near Seville has a great amphitheatre and a few good mosaic floors, and various places in Portugal boast Roman bits and pieces.
But Conimbriga really was terrific. Only a part of the site has been excavated but what is there is really quite something. The mosaic floors are stunning, some of them in almost perfect condition. There are two complete houses with all the many rooms and peristyles uncovered, and in both of them the rooms all have expanses of mosaic flooring that are breathtakingly complete. As well, there are public baths with all the water piping and drainage for the hot and the cold along with the furnace areas; there is the Forum with parts of the temple still standing; under the temple there are even remnants of the pre-Roman Celtic dwellings.
The museum on site was small but immensely interesting without all the usual grand sculpture or building rubble. When you have seen one Corinthian capital, you have seen them all... Instead it showed excellently laid-out displays of finds from the site that illustrated daily life - sewing implements like needles and scissors; tools for woodworking like saws; pottery and glass used in the household; coins, toys, small gods and so on.
For once the claims were spot on: this is the best Roman archaeological site we have seen on this trip.