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  • Address: Alcobaça, Portugal
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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Óbidos, Nazaré, Fátima and Batalha Day Trip, Lisbon, null
TVRM_SORTED : true ESSENTIAL : 1 ADMISSION : 3

Óbidos, Nazaré, Fátima and Batalha Day Trip

4 star rating: Recommended 399 Reviews

Take a fascinating day trip from Lisbon to the Portuguese towns of Óbidos, Nazaré, Fátima and Batalha. During the day, explore the charming ...  Read more

Location: Lisbon, Portugal
Duration: 9 hours 30 minutes (approx.)

From USD $78.42
Fátima, Batalha, Alcobaça, and Óbidos Full Day Private Tour from Lisbon, Lisbon, Day ... 
TVRM_SORTED : true ESSENTIAL : 1 ADMISSION : 5

Fátima, Batalha, Alcobaça, and Óbidos Full Day Private Tour from Lisbon

5 star rating: Highly Recommended 2 Reviews

Discover four different regions of western Portugal on this Fátima Batalha Alcobaça and Óbidos full-day private tour, from Lisbon. Both history ...  Read more

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

From USD $51.19
Private Tour: Mira de Aire Caves with UNESCO Monasteries, Lisbon, Private Sightseeing Tours
TVRM_SORTED : true ESSENTIAL : 1 ADMISSION : 5

Private Tour: Mira de Aire Caves with UNESCO Monasteries

Get out of the city and spend the day exploring some of Portugal’s best historical and natural wonders during this private full-day trip to the Mira de Aire ...  Read more

Location: Lisbon, Portugal
Duration: 1 day (approx.)

From USD $152.49
Historical and Religious Tour: Alcobaca, Batalha and Fatima, Coimbra, Private Day Trips
TVRM_SORTED : true ESSENTIAL : 1 ADMISSION : 5

Historical and Religious Tour: Alcobaca, Batalha and Fatima

Visit Alcobaça, Batalha and Fátima. Learn about the Cistercian Monastery of Alcobaça, classified as a World Heritage site by UNESCO, and then ...  Read more

Location: Alcobaça, Portugal
Duration: 1 day (approx.)

From USD $119.82
The Templars Treasure Small Group Tour: Alcobaça Batalha and Tomar from Lisbon, Lisbon, ... 
TVRM_SORTED : true ESSENTIAL : 1 ADMISSION : 5

The Templars Treasure Small Group Tour: Alcobaça Batalha and Tomar from Lisbon

Discover the key role that the Knights Templar played in human history on this Alcobaça Batalha and Tomar private full-day tour, from Lisbon. The Order of ...  Read more

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

From USD $326.77
Private Tour: Óbidos and Nazaré with Optional Wine Tasting, Lisbon, Day Trips
TVRM_SORTED : true ESSENTIAL : 1 ADMISSION : 5

Private Tour: Óbidos and Nazaré with Optional Wine Tasting

Discover the charming villages of Óbidos and Nazaré on this private 10-hour tour. With the assistace of your guide, explore the western coast of ...  Read more

Location: Lisbon, Portugal
Duration: 1 day (approx.)

From USD $152.49
Private Tour: Tomar, Batalha, and Alcobaça Monasteries from Lisbon, Lisbon, Private Day Trips
TVRM_SORTED : true ESSENTIAL : 1 ADMISSION : 5

Private Tour: Tomar, Batalha, and Alcobaça Monasteries from Lisbon

5 star rating: Highly Recommended 1 Review

Discover 3 of the most important UNESCO monuments on this full-day tour as you are escorted by a private guide. See the Convent of Christ and Knights Templar ...  Read more

Location: Lisbon, Portugal
Duration: 1 day (approx.)

From USD $152.49
Private Full-Day Tour of Coimbra and Quinta das Lágrimas, Lisbon, Private Sightseeing Tours
TVRM_SORTED : true ESSENTIAL : 1 ADMISSION : 5

Private Full-Day Tour of Coimbra and Quinta das Lágrimas

Immerse yourself in legend on this private full-day tour of Coimbra and Quinta das Lágrimas. Visit the site of the tragic love story of the regal prince, ...  Read more

Location: Lisbon, Portugal
Duration: 1 day (approx.)

From USD $174.28
Private Tour of Alcobaca Monastery and Obidos from Lisbon, Lisbon, Private Sightseeing Tours
TVRM_SORTED : true ESSENTIAL : 1 ADMISSION : 5

Private Tour of Alcobaca Monastery and Obidos from Lisbon

Venture into Portugal on this full-day tour to explore Alcobaca, Nazare, Peniche and Obidos villages. Immerse yourself into beautiful landscapes located by the ...  Read more

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

From USD $53.37
Tomar and Alcobaça UNESCO World Heritage Private Tour, Lisbon, Private Day Trips
TVRM_SORTED : true ESSENTIAL : 1 ADMISSION : 5

Tomar and Alcobaça UNESCO World Heritage Private Tour

This is the best tour to visit two of the most famous UNESCO Heritage Sites in Portugal, the Alcobaça Monastery, built in 1153 and founded by the first ...  Read more

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

From USD $212.40

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