We propose four itineraries, that include three of Portugal’s most important monuments classified as world Heritage sites by UNESCO – the Monastery of Alcobaça, The Convent of Christ and the Monastery of Batalha. Linked to key episodes in Portuguese history, these exquisite monuments combine various architectural styles. The oldest, the Monastery of Alcobaça was founded by Portugal’s first king, and pertained to the Order of Cistercians, which played an essential role in Portugal’s agricultural and cultural development. The Convent of Christ - where one still senses the mystique of the Knights Templar - is located next to the castle built in 1160 by the Military Order, that chose Tomar as the bastion for defence and expansion of the territory conquered from the Moors. The Monastery of Batalha - a masterpiece of late Gothic architecture - pays testimony to affirmation of Portuguese independence against the powerful Kingdom of Castille.
But there’s far more to discover in this region. The “Treasure of the Templars” route is the ideal itinerary for those who enjoy chivalric romances. Starting in Tomar, a sacred geographical centre for the Knights Templar, this itinerary will introduce you to their symbols– in the Church of Santa Maria do Olival, where initiation ceremonies were held, or the Round Church of the Convent of Christ where the knights used to hear mass. Travel through the region and visit the Castle of Almourol, perched on a rocky island in the middle of the River Tagus, or the Tower of Dornes, that once served as a watchtower over the spectacular local landscape.
Surrender to the power of local legends, myths and mysteries in the “Paths of the Faith” that will take you to Fatima - one of the world’s most important sanctuaries dedicated to the Virgin Mary, built next to the site where three child shepherds saw Our Lady. There are also records of other apparitions of the Virgin – in Nazaré, Póvoa de Cós or Ortiga. You’ll find a genuine medieval setting in the town of Óbidos, and in Ourém learn about the legend of the Moorish princess who fell in love with a Christian knight and changed her name from Fátima to Oureana.
Between the sea and the Serras de Aire e Candeeiros Natural Park sense the power of the “4 Elements”, the name of the third itinerary. The elements of Water, Air, Fire and Earth have engendered fascinating landscapes that include footprints of the planet’s oldest inhabitants – the dinosaurs.
“The Grail Quest” will fire your imagination, inspired by the search for the sacred chalice by the Knights of the Round Table. We suggest this epic quest be projected into the heart of Portugal, transforming Tomar into the meeting point of these intrepid heroes, their castle into the New Jerusalem and the "Charola" (Round church) into Solomon’s Temple. Follow our suggestions at your own pace - but surrender to the thrill of discovery.