Alcobaça is a pleasant town with a jumble of medieval and modern architecture and a largely pedestrianized center, but its main attraction is undoubtedly Portugal’s first monastery, founded here by the country’s first king, Alfonso Henriques, in 1153. Today the magical Cistercian monastery of Santa Maria is UNESCO World Heritage-listed thanks to its peerless Gothic architecture – it was the first public building in Portugal to adopt the Gothic style.

Just to the left of the church doorway, the Hall of Kings is elaborately decorated with azulejo tiles depicting the history of the monastery up until the 18th century plus a cluster of royal statues in various states of repair. The massive Gothic church at the heart of the complex is an ocher-stone fantasia of flying buttresses, ornate roundels, lacy stone carving and statuary topped with two intricate bell towers.
The long wings that flank the church are much simpler in design, as is its barn-like interior, with unadorned pillars, a plain vaulted roof and bare walls. Simple it may be, but the nave is Portugal’s longest, at 330 feet (100 m). The pair of ornate tombs in the transept belong to King Pedro I and his murdered mistress Ines de Castro; other Portuguese monarchs buried here include kings Alfonso II and III, who are laid to rest in the Chapel of St Bernard, dedicated to the patron saint of the Cistercian order.

Access to the monastery from the church is through the vast three-tiered Cloister of Silence, which is planted with orange trees and contains an ancient fountain that once saw duty as washroom to the monks. It is one of three cloisters surrounded by the monks’ sparse refectory, dormitories and kitchens, which are decorated with traditional blue-and-white tiles.

Practical Information

Alcobaça is 80 minutes north of Lisbon up the A8 and N8-5. There is a large car park a 10-minute walk away from the monastery on the edge of town. A visit can easily be combined with lunch in one of the delightful fish restaurants at Nazaré, 20 minutes away on the Atlantic coast.

Tours & Tickets

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6-Day North Portugal Tour: Porto, Braga, Fátima, Coimbra, Guimaraes, Aveiro and Batalha, from Lisbon

4 star rating: Recommended 5 Reviews

Explore northern Portugal on a six-day tour. Departing from Lisbon, discover important cities like Porto and Braga, as well as historical locations like ...  Read more

Location: Lisbon, Portugal
Duration: 6 days (approx.)

From USD $893.59

4-Night Portugal Tour from Madrid Including Lisbon and Fátima

3.5 star rating: Worth doing 4 Reviews

Discover the delights of Lisbon and the surrounding area on a comprehensive 4-night Portugal tour from Madrid! The experience includes 4- or 4-star superior ...  Read more

Location: Madrid, Spain
Duration: 5 days (approx.)

From USD $483.84

Alcobaça, Batalha, Nazaré, Obidos Day Tour

4 star rating: Recommended 1 Reviews

In this tour, you visit 4 different locations : Batalha, Nazaré and Obidos, or Batalha, Alcobaça, Nazaré and Obidos, depending on your choice. ...  Read more

Location: Lisbon, Portugal
Duration: 8 hours (approx.)

From USD $81.44

3-Day Portugal Tour from Lisbon: Fátima, Sintra, Évora, Cascais and Estoril Coast

3 star rating: Worth doing 4 Reviews

From Lisbon, spend three days on a tour of central Portugal's beautiful locations! Enjoy fascinating day trips to Sintra, Cascais, Nazaré and Évora, ...  Read more

Location: Lisbon, Portugal
Duration: 3 days (approx.)

From USD $410.60

2-Day Sacred Portugal Trip: Fátima, Batalha, Sítio, Nazaré and Óbidos, from Lisbon

3 star rating: Worth doing 4 Reviews

Discover central Portugal's sacred sites and popular towns on this 2-day tour from Lisbon. Visit the Catholic pilgrimage site Our Lady of Fátima ...  Read more

Location: Lisbon, Portugal
Duration: 2 days (approx.)

From USD $157.23

Private Tour to Obidos, Nazare, Alcobaca or Batalha and Fatima

5 star rating: Highly Recommended 8 Reviews

This West Region tour allows you to learn about the patrimonial 'masterpieces' of Portugal. You have as an option to visit Alcobaca or Batalha. Included in ...  Read more

Location: Lisbon, Portugal
Duration: 8 hours (approx.)

From USD $137.86

The Templars Treasure: Alcobaça Batalha and Tomar - Private Full Day Tour from Lisbon

The Knights Templar had a key role in human History, and later, the Order of the Temple, based in the Convent of Christ in Tomar, had a great impact in the ...  Read more

Location: Lisbon, Portugal
Duration: 8 hours (approx.)

From USD $49.77

Road of History - Private tour to Óbidos Alcobaça Batalha Nazaré Fátima

Let yourself be enchanted by five magnificent Portuguese cities, with amazing features.

Location: Lisbon, Portugal
Duration: 8 hours (approx.)

From USD $73.52

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