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Alcobaça

The city grew along the valleys of the rivers Alcoa and Baça, from which it derives its name.
West of Fátima is Batalha and southwest of that is Alcobaça. These small towns contain two of the three architecturally stunning religious monuments that together with Tomar make up the UNESCO World Heritage Sites in this part f the country. If you like Gothic architecture and religious monuments you’re in for a huge treat. If not, these wonderful buildings will still amaze you especially when you consider they were built more than 900 years ago.
This region is also known for its rich cuisine, ceramics, pottery and its cut-glass crystal.

Alcobaça Castle

Alcobaça Castle is probably situated under the ruins of a late 6th century Visigoth fortress. When D. Afonso Henriques conquered this castle, he rebuilt it and erected a convent next to it. The castle was for a short period of time under Arab ruling, but in the 12th century during D. Sancho I reign it was reinforced by a weep-hole. In 1422, the castle was hit by an earthquake that destroyed most part of the building. All that was left from the castle was the lower part of the walls and the keep. It stands out for its irregular plan. Only a part of the first wall curtain has remained, strengthened by seven squared pillars and a battlement facing the monastery.
Santa Maria Monastery
Also known as Alcobaça Monastery, (o que está no welcome book até 1838).
Due to its artistic and historical importance, it was listed by UNESCO as a World Heritage Site in 1989.
Opening hours:
Apr-Sep: daily 9am-7pm
Oct-Mar: daily 9am-5pm

Inês de Castro 

Inês came to Portugal in 1340 as a maid of Infanta Constance of Castile, recently married to Prince Pedro, the heir to the Portuguese throne. The prince fell in love with her; Pedro's love for Inês brought the exiled Castilian nobility very close to power, with Inês's brothers becoming the prince's friends and trusted advisors. King Afonso IV of Portugal, Pedro's father, disliked Inês's influence on his son. Constance of Castile died in 1345, Afonso IV tried several times to arrange for his son to be remarried, but Pedro refused to take a wife other than Inês. Afonso IV banished Inês from the court after Constance's death, but Pedro remained with her declaring her as his true love. After several attempts to keep the lovers apart, Afonso IV ordered Inês's death. Peter became King of Portugal in 1357 and he stated that he had secretly married Inês, who was consequently the lawful queen. She was later buried at the Monastery of Alcobaça where her coffin can still be seen, opposite Peter's so that, according to the legend, at the Last Judgment Peter and Inês can look at each other as they rise from their graves.
Gastronomy
The gastronomy is the most tempting of the region. The presence of religious orders of the monastery of Alcobaça and convent of Cós, have brought to date convent sweets that continue to delight many visitors that the country receives annually, highlighting as example the egg “trouxas”, delights of Frei João, egg pudding and the monastery of Alcobaça.

Santa Maria Monastery

Santa Maria Monastery is really what people come to Alcobaça to see. It’s a 12th century Cistercian monastery and has been included as a World Heritage Site for its size and purity of its architectural style.  The outside is deceptive in that because it has been remodelled in the 17th and 18th centuries with a typically fussy Baroque style, only the main doorway and rose window remained unchanged. However, inside you my have to steady yourself as you gaze up in wonder at the high vaulted ceilings.

The monastery was founded in 1153 by Dom Afonso Henriques to honour a vow he’d made to St Bernard after the capture of Santarem from the Moore in 1147. The monastery’s estate had become one of the richest and most powerful in the country, however as with all the money in began to corrupt and the monks’ growing decadence reached is limit in the 18th century. The Order’s days were numbered and it was dissolved in 1834.

In the south and north transepts are the two intricately carved 14th century tombs, which commemorate the tragic love story of Dom Pedro and his mistress. Despite the best efforts of marauding French troops who damaged them looking for booty, you can still be amazed by the extraordinary details from the life of Christ scenes.

Places to visit (museums)

Museu Nacional do Vinho (National Museum of Wine)
Address: Rua de Leiria - Olival Fechado, 2460-059 ALCOBAÇA
Tel.: +351 262 582 222
Description: The museum has a collection of thousands of bottles of wine, many of which are more than fifty years old, as well as thousands of labels from all over the country. 
It has a collection of earthenware pitchers from the Alentejo, the oldest of which dates back to 1620, as well as a number of other ceramic objects and many tools used in the wine industry.

Museu Monográfico do Bárrio (Monographic Museum of Bárrio)

Address: Largo João Soares Bárrio, 2460-302 Alcobaça
Tel. : +351 262 581 959
Visiting hours: 10h00 - 12h30 e 14h00 - 16h30
Closed on Saturdays and Sundays
Description: Parreitas Roman villa, situated in the hills of Bárrio over the former Pederneira lagoon, is a living testimony of Roman occupation that lasted from the 1st to the 5th century. This villa is heir of a tradition that dates back to the Copper Age. The heritage is on exhibition in Centro de Informação e Documentação da Villa Romana de Parreitas (Information and Documentation Centre of Parreitas Roman Villa). Apart from domestic activities, this museum depicts everyday life of a rural population who worked in the fields, bred cattle, fished in the lagoon and made ceramics and weaving works.

Museu Atlantis (Atlantis Museum)
Address: Casal da Areia Coz, 2460-392 ALCOBAÇA
Tel.: +351 262 540 248
Visiting hours: 10h00 – 18h00
Closed on Sundays and Mondays
Description: The visit starts in the crystal factory, where it is possible to observe the production of pieces. The Museum with the history of this factory follows. Magnificent crystal pieces of Alcobaça are displayed.

Museu Raul da Bernarda (Raul da Bernarda Museum)
Address: Ponte D. Elias, Apartado 39, 2461-601 Alcobaça
Visiting hours:
Tuesday until Friday: 10h30 - 12h30 e 14h00 - 17h00
Saturday: 14h00 - 19h00
Sundays: 10h00 - 13h00 e 14h00 - 19h00
Description: It presents a beautiful set of typical ceramics from Alcobaça, dated from the last century. This museum belongs to the Raul da Bernarda family and the factory with the same name produced the ceramics.

Museu Agricola (Agricultural Museum)

Address: Estrada de Rio Maio, Alcobaça, 2460 ALCOBAÇA
Tel.: +351 262 596 844
Visiting hours: 9:30 - 12:30 e 14:00 - 17:00.
Closing days: Saturdays and Sundays
Description: This museum comprises a vast collection of 19th century agricultural utensils and ethnographic images of that period.

Restaurants

Cervejaria Restaurante António Padeiro
Address: Rua Doutor Maur Cocheril 27, 2460-032 Alcobaça
Tel.: +351 262 582 295
Open Hours:  12:00 - 15:30 e 19:00 - 22:30.
Specialties: Açorda Seafood, Boiled Portuguese, Fried eels, Baked Goat and Duck Rice.
The menu of this Restaurant is based on local traditional recipes and conventual confectionery.

Restaurante O Frei Bernardo

Address: Rua Dom Pedro V 17/19, Alcobaça, 2460-029 ALCOBAÇA
Tel.: +351 262 582 227
Closing times: 00:00
Closing days: Monday
Specialties: Bacalhau à Dona Inês; Bacalhau à Frei Bernardo; Perna de Porco Assada; Frango na Púcara.
Frei Bernardo is a Great quality restaurant, a reference in Alcobaça gastronomy.

Restaurante Peppo

Address: Rua da Levadinha 5, Alcobaça, 2460-058 ALCOBAÇA
Tel.: +351 262 585 280
Open Hours: 12:30 - 15.00 e 19:30 - 23:00.
Closing days: Sunday dinner and Monday.
Specialties: Pataniscas de bacalhau, tapas de farinheira, Filetes de robalo com legumes salteados, bacalhau com maçã de Alcobaça, Cochas de pato confitadas com chucrute, lombinhos com redução de Vinho do Porto, Baba de camelo com bolacha, sopa de morangos, bolo de chocolate com molho de caramelo.