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The modest, attractive town of Alcobaça is a popular stopover for visitors heading north from Lisbon to Luso, Porto or Coimbra. The town itself is rather small, home only to about 7,000 inhabitants. Alcobaça gets its name from the Alco and Baça rivers, which flow nearby.

The town was not noteworthy until 1147, when the first King of Portugal decided to build a great abbey there to celebrate victory over the Moors in the Santarém region. The great Monastery of Alcobaça was built between 1155 and 1223, and today stands as Portugal’s largest church and one of the finest examples of Cistercian architecture in the world. The monastery houses the remains of Pedro and Inés, the protagonists of Portugal’s greatest love story, and many visitors come to see their elaborate tombs.

Besides the monastery, there isn’t much to see and do in Alcobaça, although the gift shops are above average in terms of quality, price and selection and there are some friendly cafes on the street across from the monastery. Although there is little to see, Alcobaça is a charming town and worth a poke around. According to locals, parked tourist cars are often a target for thieves: take some extra precautions if parking for any length of time.

Most people day trip to Alcobaça or stop while passing through, nevertheless, there are some noteworthy hotels in Alcobaça if you’re inclined to stay for a day or two.


Other places nearby Alcobaça: Óbidos, Batalha, Lisbon and Sintra.

By Christopher Minster
I am a writer and editor at V!VA Travel guides here in Quito, where I specialize in adding quality content to the site and also in spooky things like...
21 Sep 2007

Things to do in Alcobaça

The Monastery of Alcobaça

113458The Monastery of Alcobaça (Portuguese: Mosteiro de Alcobaça), also known as the Abbey of Santa María is one of Portugal’s greatest visitor destinations: just ask the Portuguese themselves, who ...
Historical Building
Alcobaça, Portugal
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