Alcobaca, Batalha and Tomar, all or one?

Nov 23rd, 2014, 09:21 AM
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Alcobaca, Batalha and Tomar, all or one?

Any opinions on which to visit, which was your favorite, or if we can do all 3 in a day and a half?

We would be leaving from Lisbon. We had planned to stop at Obidos, but have begun to wonder if it is worth the stop?

It looks like we could maybe visit Alcobaca first, then Batalha and stay overnight, then the Convent of Christ in Tomar the next morning before heading off to the Guimaraes/Braga area.

Will the 3 of them be too much, or are the towns and surrounding areas enough to justify?
wrenwood is offline  
Nov 23rd, 2014, 09:25 AM
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I've been reading Tedgale's trip report for Portugal. You might want to check it out as it covers those.
kybourbon is offline  
Nov 23rd, 2014, 10:40 AM
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I thought all 3 interesting. the biggest city is where TOmar is located. I think you can easily do as you plan. Agree that Ted's TR gives a great description.
PS - skipping Obidos is a good idea!
yestravel is offline  
Nov 23rd, 2014, 11:30 AM
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We only have 4 nights.......... I'm considering skipping the more northern part near Porto, maybe with limited time best not to go so far north. After our 4th night we will be flying to Madeira, I had thought from Porto, but would be cheaper from Lisbon.

We could do a more southern circular route, taking our time with Alcobaca, Batalha, Tomar and maybe adding more time in Evora, which I had thought might be a day trip from Lisbon, but Tedgale (yes I have been reading his report, excellent!) mentions the Alentejo region as an interesting area. Would like to see the prehistoric sites and I found the following driving route on the Independent Traveler

Suggested Tour (north to south)
Portalegre: Among the towers and walls of the medieval castle stand the Paços do Concelho and Hospital da Misericórdia. Main sites include: the Cathedral, São Bernardo Convent, the São Francisco Monastery (13th to 18th centuries), and the Regional, Sacred Art, and Casa de José Régio Museums.

Marvão: Just south of Castelo de Vide lies impossibly high and fortified village of Marvão. Inside its impressive castle, Marvão offers wonderful views.

Castelo de Vide: This ancient market town is known for its ruined castle and Jewish quarter (with a 15th century synagogue). Sights include the charming village fountain, the chapel of São Salvador do Mundo (Visigothic) and the twin Paços do Concelho (medieval and 18th century).

Estremoz: A ship of walls rising above the trees, Estremoz is a marble town, with its a 13th-century castle, Santa Isabel Chapel (18th-century), Royal Palace, São Francisco Church and Convent (Romanesque-Gothic), Paços do Concelho (14th-century), Maltesas Convent (16th-century), and the Municipal Museum.

Évora: A museum-city with its historic center classified on UNESCO's International Heritage list. The well-preserved Roman temple, located close to the Cathedral, houses a Sacred Art Museum (Roman-Gothic). Among its many convents and churches are São Brás Chapel (Gothic-Moorish); São Francisco Church (with its Capela dos Ossos, a chapel walled with human bones) and São João Baptista Church (Gothic-Manueline); churches of Nossa Senhora da Graça ,Santo Antão and São Vicente (Mannerist). Palaces include: Archiepiscopal, Dom Manuel, and Dukes of Cadaval. Other many sites include the Praça de Giraldo with 16th-century arches, an aqueduct, the convents of Santa Clara, Santa Helena do Calvário and Lóios (currently a Pousada), the University, and an ancient Jewish quarter. Vila Viçosa: Built around the palace of the House of Bragança, the last Portuguese dynasty. Other places of interest: Castle, Santo Agostinho Church (13th-18th centuries), Chagas de Cristo Convent, Nossa Senhora da Esperança Monastery and Castelo Novo (Renaissance).

Elvas: Fortress town, with a Roman-Arab castle. Sites include the Amoreiras Aqueduct (15th-17th centuries), town church (Manueline), churches of Nossa Senhora da Consolação (Renaissance) and Santa Clara (17th century), and Archeology Museum.

Monsaraz: This is an inviting and beautiful medieval village, with castle walls and fortifications to challenge all enemies. Sites include the Santa Catarina Chapel, Paços do Concelho, Paços de Audiência and Porta da Vila.

Beja: This town thrived under the Romans and Moors. Sites include the Queen Leonor Museum, churches of Santo António (Visigothic) and Santa Maria, convent and castle of São Francisco (a Pousada), chapel of Santo André (Gothic-Moorish), and Misericórdia Church (Renaissance). Roman ruins are nearby at Pisões.

Mértola: This breathtaking place sits on the right bank of the Guadiana River. The town's preserved castle was built by the Moors. The main church, with its sculpted façade and elements from the Manueline period, was once was a mosque. Mértola is a hub of archeological activity. The Roman museum occupies the Town Hall building. The Islamic collection includes the country's essential archive of ceramic objects (9th to 13th-centuries). Other Cork Country Towns to Visit: Alcáçovas, Aljustrel, Alter do Chão, Alvito (Pousada), Arraiolos (handmade rugs), Avis, Borba, Campo Maior, Crato, Santiago de Escoural (archeological park), Evoramonte, Flor da Rosa (Pousada), Monforte, Montemor-o-Novo, Moura, Nisa, Ourique, Redondo, Serpa (Pousada), Viana do Alentejo, and Vila Nova de Milfontes.
wrenwood is offline  
Nov 23rd, 2014, 11:42 AM
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I just went to take a look at my Portugal album as we went to Alcobaca, Batahla and Tomar and would have a hard time skipping one.
jan47ete is offline  
Nov 23rd, 2014, 12:14 PM
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How much time would this drive be? we were everywhere but the last 2. Also visited several towns mentioned under Mértola. Portalegre didnt do much for me.
I found Portugal to be destination rich and it was hard to decide what to see and what to skip. And of course thru our wanderings we discovered some great places that we never considered when planning, so allow yourself some time for that.
yestravel is offline  
Nov 23rd, 2014, 12:38 PM
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yestravel ......."we were everywhere but the last 2" ...........over what time period?
wrenwood is offline  
Nov 23rd, 2014, 12:47 PM
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We spent a month in Portugal. that's why I asked the timeframe for what you posted. it's alot to see.
yestravel is offline  
Nov 23rd, 2014, 01:27 PM
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I only saw Alcbaca and Batalha and Batalha was to me more whatever - both nice and different and failry close to each other. Batalah is I believe a UNESCO World Heritage Site if that means much. Maybe the others are too.
PalenQ is offline  
Nov 23rd, 2014, 02:27 PM
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We preferred the austere beauty of Alcobaça, royal tombs.
HappyTrvlr is offline  
Nov 23rd, 2014, 03:46 PM
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You've had a mountain of information from Fodorites. To assist your decision-making dilemma a bit, maybe these pics of our month in Portugal can at least familiarize you with a good chunk of real eastae. We concentated primarily on the mid-section, driving as far north as little Belmonte in the Sierras. I was on a research/interview mission to investigate the "hidden" Jews of Belmonte (500 hundred years) . Only during the new more liberal government have those hidden residents begun to "come out"..thus far over a hundred have re-surfaced..building a lovely little sinagoga...Belmonte has a very modern Pousada.

..also stayed in Pousadas in Marvao, and Arraiolosh (our favorite) very close to Evora. Take a serious look at Nazare'(Sitio up the hill, with funicular) and the much maligned Obidos (Obidoosh), which I don't understand. We liked it...of course it was off season and the crowds were minimal.
tower is offline  
Nov 24th, 2014, 02:51 AM
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If you have to choose one, Tomar is the place. Tomar itself has 2 sites co-located, the castle of templars and the convent of Christ. The castle of templars was built to be in front line of a war against moors with high walls with minimal decoration. Castle of templars had a brother castle (Almourol castle) in the middle of Tagus, offering great photo ops. When the country was pacified, the castle of templars was partially leveled to build the convent of Christ, with all the flourished details.
The 3 big monasteries have a sequence spanning 4 centuries: 1st Alcobaça, then Batalha, then Jenonimos (Lisbon). OTOH Tomar was a ongoing project spanning over most of 2nd millenium.
Tower, Obidos is nice, but IMHO it looks too much Dysneyesque, eventually paying the price of being too close to Lisbon. On the opposite side, Monsaraz was left alone for centuries it is very close to what I guess it looked in middle ages. Marvao is in between.
lobo_mau is offline  
Nov 24th, 2014, 11:28 AM
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My impression of Obidos was like tower's but it was also the off-season - in October so in the midst of summer it may be too overrun with day trippers so these places depend on when you are going sometimes as to their tranquility - I though Obidos the quintessential walled medieval town - lovely from a distance as a whole.
PalenQ is offline  
Nov 24th, 2014, 12:13 PM
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I think lobo captured the three towns very well. Obidos was not crowded at al, fairly empty actually. Compared to other places we had been it paled in comparison. Just nothing stood out. To each is own.
yestravel is offline  
Nov 25th, 2014, 10:45 AM
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We don't usually do one-nighters, but this might be the exception

Leave Lisbon around 8AM, drive to Alcobaça and Batalha. Both monasteries in one day. Stay in Batalha overnight.

Leave the next morning, drive to Tomar, spend most of the day there, then drive to Marvão to stay overnight.

Explore Marvao in the morning, leave after lunch, drive to Evora ~ maybe stopping at Almendres Stone Circle along the way ~ or is there another stop we should consider? ~ stay 2 nights Evora. Explore Evora the day we are there.


Tower thanks for the link to your pictures, very helpful!
wrenwood is offline  
Nov 25th, 2014, 03:49 PM
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I think that will work. Think about checking out Castelo de Vide on the way to or from Marvao. We stayed at a small place in MArvao, Dom Dinis, which had great views. In Evora we stayed in the Pousada and were rather disappointed.
yestravel is offline  
Nov 25th, 2014, 04:44 PM
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We spent three nights in Obidos and loved it. It was a charming town and a great base for visiting the surrounding countryside. we especially enjoyed the day we spent wandering by the nearby ocean. We spent a day in Tomar and it was one of our favorites of the trip. definitely not to be missed. Look for the italian restaurant for lunch.
lauramsgarden is offline  
Nov 25th, 2014, 04:46 PM
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Evora was fun but touristy - I agree that the Pousada was perhaps not worth it. What we did love in Evora was the day trip to visit the megaliths. then drive to Arreilos for lunch and to see the rug weavers. You can go from there to castelo Vide.
lauramsgarden is offline  
Nov 26th, 2014, 04:31 AM
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lauramsgarden ~ we will be there in mid-March, don't know when high tourist season is, but maybe we will miss it when in Evora? And we will definitely look for the Italian Restaurant for lunch, do you remember the name?

And I think Arraiolos looks like a great suggestion, there is a great looking winery there also.

By the way, when we were thinking of staying in Guimaraes, there was a lovely Pousada outside of town that I wanted to stay in.

I realize that where one stays when on vacation doesn't matter to everyone, but I LOVE balconys, terraces, incredible views and looking out the window and knowing that I am "not in Kansas anymore"

So I always try to book a certain room, based on website photos and descriptions, TA reviews, or I describe what I want in an email for suggestions from the Hotel, B&B etc.

Back to the Pousadas. Apparently you cannot choose your room, only the room type, and this is the policy at all the Pousadas.

***It's only possible to reserve the room categorie, being the room assignement made more close to date and taking in good account all guest requests left well noted.

Also we inform, requests for bed type - double, twin or king, floor level, view types (river, ocean, pool or other specific one) and other special requests like side by side, are also only confirmed upon check-in as it's only possible to book the room type.***

Of course in a chain type Hotel, it's no big deal. But in Historic or Special Hotels, Inns, B&B's it's nice to be able to choose. I have found that it is possible to choose your room when you book at most places, not sure why they have this policy.

So I guess we won't be staying at any Pousadas!

PS Is the Almendres Stone Circle difficult to find? If only time for one, is that the site to see?
wrenwood is offline  
Nov 26th, 2014, 05:39 AM
Pepper_von_snoot is offline  

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