Estremadura and the Ribatejo

We’ve compiled the best of the best in Estremadura and the Ribatejo - browse our top choices for the top things to see or do during your stay.

Sort by: 65 Recommendations {{numTotalPoiResults}} {{ (numTotalPoiResults===1)?'Recommendation':'Recommendations' }} 0 Recommendations
CLEAR ALL Area Search CLEAR ALL
Loading...
Loading...
  • 1. Castelo de Almourol

    For a close look at this storybook castle on a craggy island in the Tagus River, take the 1½-km-long (1-mile-long) dirt road leading down to...

    For a close look at this storybook castle on a craggy island in the Tagus River, take the 1½-km-long (1-mile-long) dirt road leading down to the water from the N3. The riverbank in this area is practically deserted, making it a wonderful picnic spot. From here, a small motorboat will ferry you across (€4 round-trip) to the castle and its modern Templar Interpretation Center. For a more leisurely river cruise, book ahead to board a larger vessel (€6) at the quay just downstream in the village of Tancos. The sight couldn't be more romantic: an ancient castle with crenellated walls and a lofty tower sits on a greenery-covered rock in the middle of a gently flowing river. The stuff of poetry and legends, Almourol was the setting for Francisco de Morais's epic novel Palmeirim da Inglaterra (Palmeirin of England), about two knights fighting for a princess's favor. Your boat ticket includes admission to the castle and its small museum.

    Constância, Santarém, 2260, Portugal
    249 720 353-for guided visits

    Sight Details

    Rate Includes: €4, Castle and Templar Center closed Mon. Oct.–Apr.
    View Tours and Activities
  • 2. Castelo de Óbidos

    The outer walls of the fine medieval castle enclose the entire town, and it's great fun to walk their circumference, viewing the town and countryside...

    The outer walls of the fine medieval castle enclose the entire town, and it's great fun to walk their circumference, viewing the town and countryside from above—but take great care as there is no inner wall or railing for the most part. Extensively restored after suffering severe damage in the 1755 earthquake, the multitower complex has both Arabic and Manueline elements. Most of the keep is now a pousada.

    Óbidos, Leiria, Portugal
  • 3. Convento de Cristo

    Atop a hill rising from the Old Town is this remarkable UNESCO World Hereitage Site. You can drive to the top of the hill or...

    Atop a hill rising from the Old Town is this remarkable UNESCO World Hereitage Site. You can drive to the top of the hill or hike for about 20 minutes along a path through the trees before reaching a formal garden lined with azulejo-covered benches. This was the Portuguese headquarters of the Knights Templar, from 1160 until the order was forced to disband in 1314. Identified by their white tunics emblazoned with a crimson cross, the Templars were at the forefront of the Christian armies in the Crusades and during the struggles against the Moors. King Dinis in 1334 resurrected the order in Portugal under the banner of the Knights of Christ and reestablished Tomar as its headquarters. In the early 15th century, under Prince Henry the Navigator (who for a time resided in the castle), the order flourished. The caravels of the Age of Discovery even sailed under the order's crimson cross. The oldest parts of the complex date to the 12th century, including the towering castle keep and the fortresslike, 16-sided Charola, which—like many Templar churches—is patterned after the Church of the Holy Sepulchre in Jerusalem and has an octagonal oratory at its core. The paintings and wooden statues in its interior, however, were added in the 16th century. The complex's medieval nucleus acquired its Manueline church and cluster of magnificent cloisters during the next 500 years. To see what the Manueline style is all about, stroll through the church's nave with its many examples of the twisted ropes, seaweed, and nautical themes that typify the style, and be sure to look at the chapter house window, one of the most photographed in Europe.

    Estrada do Convento, Tomar, Santarém, 2300–000, Portugal
    249 315 089

    Sight Details

    Rate Includes: €6; €15 combined ticket includes Alcobaça and Batalha monasteries
    View Tours and Activities
  • 4. Mosteiro da Batalha

    Dedicated to "Saint Mary of Victory," this UNESCO World Heritage Site was built to commemorate a decisive Portuguese victory over the Spanish on August 14,...

    Dedicated to "Saint Mary of Victory," this UNESCO World Heritage Site was built to commemorate a decisive Portuguese victory over the Spanish on August 14, 1385, in the Battle of Aljubarrota. In this engagement the Portuguese king, João de Avis, who had been crowned only seven days earlier, took on and routed a superior Spanish force. In so doing he maintained independence for Portugal, which was to last until 1580, when the crown finally passed into Spanish hands. The heroic statue of the mounted figure in the forecourt is that of Nuno Álvares Pereira, who, along with João de Avis, led the Portuguese army at Aljubarrota. The monastery, a masterly combination of Gothic and Manueline styles, was built between 1388 and 1533. Some 15 architects were involved in the project, but the principal architect was Afonso Domingues, whose portrait, carved in stone, graces the wall in the chapter house. In the great hall lie the remains of two unknown Portuguese soldiers who died in World War I: one in France, the other in Africa. Entombed in the center of the Founder's Chapel, beneath the star-shape, vaulted ceiling, is João de Avis, lying hand in hand with his English queen, Philippa of Lancaster. The tombs along the south and west walls are those of the couple's children, including Henry the Navigator. Perhaps the finest parts of the entire project are the Unfinished Chapels, seven chapels radiating off an octagonal rotunda, started by Dom Duarte in 1435 and left roofless owing to lack of funds. Note the intricately filigreed detail of the main doorway.

    Largo Infante Dom Henrique, Batalha, Leiria, 2440–109, Portugal
    244 765 497

    Sight Details

    Rate Includes: €6, €15 combined ticket includes Alcobaça monastery and Tomar convent
  • 5. Mosteiro de Alcobaça

    Like the monastery at Mafra, the Mosteiro de Alcobaça was built as the result of a kingly vow, this time in gratitude for a battle...

    Like the monastery at Mafra, the Mosteiro de Alcobaça was built as the result of a kingly vow, this time in gratitude for a battle won. In 1147, faced with stiff Muslim resistance during the battle for Santarém, Portugal's first king, Afonso Henriques, promised to build a monastery dedicated to St. Bernard and the Cistercian Order. The Portuguese were victorious, Santarém was captured from the Moors, and shortly thereafter a site was selected. Construction began in 1153 and was concluded in 1178. The church, the largest in Portugal, is awe-inspiring. The unadorned, 350-foot-long structure of massive granite blocks and cross-ribbed vaulting is a masterpiece of understatement: there's good use of clean, flowing lines, with none of the clutter of the later rococo and Manueline architecture. At opposite ends of the transept, placed foot to foot some 30 paces apart, are the delicately carved tombs of King Pedro I and Inês de Castro. The graceful twin-tiered cloister at Alcobaça was added in the 14th and 16th centuries. The Kings Hall, just to the left of the main entrance, is lined with a series of 18th-century azulejos illustrating the construction of the monastery.

    Praça 25 de Abril, Alcobaça, Leiria, 2460–018, Portugal
    262 505 120

    Sight Details

    Rate Includes: €6, €15 combined ticket includes Batalha monastery and Tomar convent
    View Tours and Activities
  • Recommended Fodor’s Video

  • 6. Palácio Nacional de Mafra

    Over the centuries the crown, church, and nobility have contested the ownership of the Mafra National Palace and Convent, 8 km (5 miles) southeast of...

    Over the centuries the crown, church, and nobility have contested the ownership of the Mafra National Palace and Convent, 8 km (5 miles) southeast of Ericeira. From the 17th through 19th centuries this was a favorite residence for the Portuguese court. In 1711, after nearly three years of a childless union with the Hapsburg queen, Maria Anna, a despairing King João V vowed that should the queen bear him an heir, he would build a monastery dedicated to St. Anthony. In December of that same year, a girl—later to become queen of Spain—was born; João's eventual heir, José I, was born three years later. True to his word, King João V built an enormous monastery, which still looms above the small farming community of Mafra. The original project—entrusted to the Italian-trained German architect Johann Friedrich Ludwig, invariably known in Portugal as João Frederico Ludovice—was to be a modest facility that could house 13 friars. Construction began in 1717 and continued until 1755, with the final result being a rectangular complex containing a monastery large enough for hundreds of monks as well as an imposing basilica and a grandiose palace that has been compared to El Escorial outside Madrid, Spain. The numbers involved in the construction are mind-boggling: at times 50,000 workers toiled. There are 4,500 doors and windows, 300 cells, 880 halls and rooms, and 154 stairways. Perimeter walls that total some 19 km (12 miles) surround the park. The highlight of any visit to the monument is the magnificent baroque library: the barrel-vaulted, two-tiered hall holds almost 40,000 volumes of mostly 16th- through 18th-century works and a number of ancient maps. Protection from insects is provided by bats, which slip into the room at night through tiny holes that were bored through stone under the windows for the purpose. The basilica contains 11 chapels and six organs—used simultaneously for splendid concerts at 4 pm on the first Sunday of every month except January and February—and was patterned after St. Peter's in the Vatican. When you're in the gilded throne room, notice the life-size renditions of the seven virtues, as well as the impressive figure of Hercules, by Domingos Sequeira. Guided visits may be booked in advance at an additional cost of €6 per person.

    Terreiro de Dom João V, Mafra, Lisbon, 2640–492, Portugal
    261 817 550

    Sight Details

    Rate Includes: €6, organ concerts €8, Closed Tues.
    View Tours and Activities
  • 7. Praia de São Pedro do Moel

    One of Portugal's most picturesque beaches is framed by steep cliffs and a fast-flowing stream. Strong tides can make the ocean here hazardous, but there...

    One of Portugal's most picturesque beaches is framed by steep cliffs and a fast-flowing stream. Strong tides can make the ocean here hazardous, but there are lifeguards on duty in summer. The beach itself bustles with sporting activity, and at night the village bars are lively. Some local houses have an alpine look, thanks to the availability of pine from the forests that blanket the Leiria region—which also makes for lovely fresh air. Amenities: food and drink; lifeguards; parking (no fee); showers; toilets; water sports. Best for: sunset; surfing; swimming; walking.

    Rua António José Bouça, São Pedro de Moel, Leiria, 2430, Portugal
  • 8. Adega Catapereiro

    The 44,500-acre farmstead of Companhia das Lezírias is filled with forests of cork oaks, stone pines, and eucalyptus trees. Rice is also grown and sold...

    The 44,500-acre farmstead of Companhia das Lezírias is filled with forests of cork oaks, stone pines, and eucalyptus trees. Rice is also grown and sold under the "Belmonte" and "Bom Sucesso" labels, and the company does organic cattle farming and breeds prizewinning Lusitano stallions. Its winery, Adega Catapereiro, 12 km (7½ miles) south of Samora Correia, has a shop and also offers guided visits with tastings of up to five wines. Book ahead by phone or email  enoturismo@cl.pt.

    N118, Km 20, Benavente, Santarém, 2135–318, Portugal
    212 349 016

    Sight Details

    Rate Includes: Winery and shop closed Sun.
  • 9. Aqueduto dos Pegões

    Striding across the Ribeira dos Pegões valley, some 5 km (3 miles) northwest of Tomar, is a 5-km-long (3-mile-long) aqueduct, built in the 16th century...

    Striding across the Ribeira dos Pegões valley, some 5 km (3 miles) northwest of Tomar, is a 5-km-long (3-mile-long) aqueduct, built in the 16th century to bring water to Tomar. It joins the walls of the Convent of Christ.

    Tomar, Santarém, 2305, Portugal
  • 10. Basílica da Santíssima Trindade

    One of the largest Catholic churches in the world, seating some 8,500 worshipers, the Holy Trinity was consecrated in 2007 and raised to the state...

    One of the largest Catholic churches in the world, seating some 8,500 worshipers, the Holy Trinity was consecrated in 2007 and raised to the state of basilica in 2012. Although it won prizes for engineering rather than architecture, its ample, curved form—designed by Greek architect Alexandros Tombazis—offers a pleasing contrast to its rather run-of-the-mill 1920s predecessor. Much of the iconography, including on the lavish main doors, was inspired by Byzantine and Orthodox motifs, and was produced by artists from Portugal and seven other countries. The Tall Cross crucifix outside the church is by the German artist Robert Schad.

    Rua João Paulo II, Fátima, Santarém, 2495–451, Portugal
    249 539 600

    Sight Details

    Rate Includes: Free
  • 11. Basílica de Nossa Senhora de Fátima

    At the head of the shrine's huge esplanade is the towering neoclassical basilica built in the late 1920s, flanked on either side by a semicircular...

    At the head of the shrine's huge esplanade is the towering neoclassical basilica built in the late 1920s, flanked on either side by a semicircular peristyle. Inside you will find the tombs of all three of the "little shepherds" who saw the Virgin Mary.

    Cova de Iria, Fátima, Santarém, 2496–908, Portugal
    249 539 600

    Sight Details

    Rate Includes: Free
  • 12. Berlengas

    The harbor at Peniche is the jumping-off point for excursions to the Berlengas Archipelago: six islets that are a nesting place for many migratory birds...

    The harbor at Peniche is the jumping-off point for excursions to the Berlengas Archipelago: six islets that are a nesting place for many migratory birds and a favorite spot for anglers and divers. Berlenga Grande, the largest of the group, is the site of a pretty lighthouse and the Forte de São João Baptista, a 17th-century fortress built to defend the area from pirates. There are trails around the island, including through caves. You can visit the islands by boat but, under a system introduced in 2022 to limit visitor numbers to 550 per day, you first need a €3 permit. Register on the website  berlengaspass.icnf.pt to buy a permit (several hours in advance, as it takes some time to be delivered). Boats also fill up quickly in high season, so before buying the permit, first check availability with ferry company Viamar ( viamar-berlenga.com), which runs the 185-seat Cabo Avelar Pessoa once or twice a day from mid-May through September, or with one of the other companies that organize private trips year-round. Some companies are allowed to register you for the permit themselves. It's a notoriously choppy crossing, so you may want to take something for motion sickness. The main island has a visitor center, a restaurant and bar, and a small guesthouse; it is also possible to camp or even stay in the fortress if you book ahead.

    Ribeira Velha 2, Peniche, Leiria, Portugal

    Sight Details

    Rate Includes: From €20 round-trip, No ferry mid-Sept.–mid-May
  • 13. Buddha Eden

    Just about the last thing you'd expect to find in rural Estremadura—about 10 minutes south of Óbidos—this landscaped "Garden of Peace" was inspired by the...

    Just about the last thing you'd expect to find in rural Estremadura—about 10 minutes south of Óbidos—this landscaped "Garden of Peace" was inspired by the destruction in 2001 by the Afghanistan Taliban of the giant Buddhas of Bamiyan—one of which is reproduced here. Buddhas of various shapes and sizes dot the lawns and surrounding forest, as well as carved gates, dragons, and hundreds of figures from China's ancient Terracotta Army. There are also sculptures by leading contemporary artists. It all makes for a lovely place to stroll (you can also opt for the hop-on, hop-off miniature train, for an extra €5). There's an eatery serving decent Portuguese food and a shop selling wines from the adjoining Quinta dos Loridos estate; two wines are always available for a free tasting.

    off the A8, Bombarral, Leiria, 2540–480, Portugal
    262 605 240

    Sight Details

    Rate Includes: €5
  • 14. Capela das Aparições

    This tiny chapel—now ringed by benches and covered by a much larger modern canopy—was built in 1920 on the site where the appearances of the...

    This tiny chapel—now ringed by benches and covered by a much larger modern canopy—was built in 1920 on the site where the appearances of the Virgin Mary are said to have taken place. A plinth with a statue of the Virgin marks the exact spot. Gifts, mostly wax reproductions of body parts, are burned nearby as offerings to the Virgin in the hope of achieving a miraculous cure.

    Cova da Iria, Fátima, Santarém, 2495–441, Portugal
    249 539 600

    Sight Details

    Rate Includes: Free
  • 15. Casa Cadaval

    If you're a fan of wine, stop by the prestigious Casa Cadaval between Benavente and Almeirim. This winery, on the Herdade de Muge estate, has...

    If you're a fan of wine, stop by the prestigious Casa Cadaval between Benavente and Almeirim. This winery, on the Herdade de Muge estate, has belonged to the Alvares Pereira Melo family since 1648. It produces red, white, and rosé wines under the Casa Cadaval, Marquesa de Cadaval, and Padre Pedro labels, using native and international grape varieties, such as Pinot Noir. The store is open every day, but you must book ahead for a wine tasting or a more extensive tour of the estate, followed by lunch.

    Rua Vasco da Gama, Benavente, Santarém, 2125–317, Portugal
    243 588 040
  • 16. Casa dos Patudos

    Alpiarça is a pleasant little town 7 km (4 miles) northeast of Almeirim on the N118. Here you'll have the chance to see how a...

    Alpiarça is a pleasant little town 7 km (4 miles) northeast of Almeirim on the N118. Here you'll have the chance to see how a wealthy country gentleman lived at the beginning of the 20th century. The Casa dos Patudos, now a museum, was the estate of José Relvas, a diplomat and prosperous local farmer. This unusual three-story manor house with its zebra-stripe spire is surrounded by gardens and vineyards and is filled with an impressive assemblage of ceramics, paintings, and furnishings—including Portugal's foremost collection of Arraiolos carpets.

    Rua José Relvas, Alpiarça, Santarém, 2090–102, Portugal
    243 558 321

    Sight Details

    Rate Includes: €2.50, Closed Mon.
  • 17. Casas dos Pastorinhos

    These are the cottages, in the nearby hamlet of Aljustrel, where the three shepherd children who saw the Virgin Mary were born. To reach them,...

    These are the cottages, in the nearby hamlet of Aljustrel, where the three shepherd children who saw the Virgin Mary were born. To reach them, from Fátima's Rotunda Sul (south roundabout) take the N360 to Aljustrel for just over 1 km (½ mile) and turn right onto Rua de Aljustrel (signposted "Museu"). At the next major junction, the two houses of the little shepherds are along the street to the left, along with the Casa-Museu de Aljustrel (closed Monday), a small museum that aims to give visitors some idea of what life was like in those times. It also displays some the children's own personal items.

    Rua dos Pastorinhos, Aljustrel, Santarém, 2495–301, Portugal
    249 539 600-for shrine

    Sight Details

    Rate Includes: Closed Tues., Free
  • 18. Castelo de Abrantes

    Walk up through the maze of narrow, flower-lined streets to this 16th-century castle, which is still an impressive structure today. The garden between the twin...

    Walk up through the maze of narrow, flower-lined streets to this 16th-century castle, which is still an impressive structure today. The garden between the twin fortifications, with its panoramic views, is a wonderful place to watch the sun set: the play of light on the river and the lengthening shadows along the olive groves provide a stirring setting for an evening picnic. The Gothic church within the castle walls, the Igreja de Santa Maria do Castelo, houses a museum that showcases sacred art from convents and monasteries around the region, as well as items from a large private collection of Iberian art from prehistoric to contemporary times.

    Praça Dom Francisco de Almeida, Abrantes, Santarém, 2200–242, Portugal

    Sight Details

    Rate Includes: Free, Closed Mon.
  • 19. Castelo de Belver

    This fairy-tale castle—the fortress of Belver—stands atop a cone-shape hill upriver from Abrantes, commanding a superb view of the Tagus River. It was built in...

    This fairy-tale castle—the fortress of Belver—stands atop a cone-shape hill upriver from Abrantes, commanding a superb view of the Tagus River. It was built in the last years of the 12th century by the Knights Hospitaller under the command of King Sancho I. In 1194, this region was threatened by the Moorish forces who controlled the lands south of the river. The expected attack never took place, and the present structure is little changed from its original design. The walls of the keep, which stands in the center of the courtyard, are some 12 feet thick, and on the ground floor is a great cistern of unknown depth. According to local lore, an orange dropped into the well will later appear bobbing down the river. The castle is reached by car in 30 minutes via the N244–3 through pine-covered hills to Chão de Codes, then the N244 south toward Gavião. There are four trains a day to Belver from Abrantes (a 25-minute ride).

    Portalegre, Portalegre, Portugal
    241 635 040

    Sight Details

    Rate Includes: €2, Closed Mon. and Tues.
  • 20. Castelo de Leiria

    Built in 1135 by Prince Afonso Henriques (later Portugal's first king), Leiria Castle was to become an important link in the chain of defenses along...

    Built in 1135 by Prince Afonso Henriques (later Portugal's first king), Leiria Castle was to become an important link in the chain of defenses along the southern border of what was at the time the Kingdom of Portugal. When the Moors were driven from the region, the castle lost its significance and lay dormant until the early 14th century, when it was restored and modified and became the favorite residence of Dom Dinis and his queen, Isabel of Aragon. With these modifications the castle became more of a palace than a fortress and remains one of the loveliest structures of its kind in Portugal. Within the perimeter walls you'll encounter the ruins of a Gothic church, the castle keep, and—built into the section of the fortifications overlooking the town—the royal palace. Lined by eight arches, its balcony affords lovely views. A prize-winning refurbishment concluded in 2021 saw displays in the small museum revamped and funicular elevators installed on the north and south flanks of the castle, as well as new walkways around it—smoothing visits for people with reduced mobility.

    Largo de São Pedro, Leiria, Leiria, 2400-235, Portugal
    244 839 670

    Sight Details

    Rate Includes: €2.10

No sights Results

Please try a broader search, or expore these popular suggestions:

There are no results for {{ strDestName }} Sights in the searched map area with the above filters. Please try a different area on the map, or broaden your search with these popular suggestions:

Recommended Fodor’s Video