Discover why this sprawling historic building is considered to be one of the most spectacular examples of Gothic architecture in Portugal.
Pass beneath the grand archways and high ceilings of the splendid Batalha Monastery and imagine you have been transported hundreds of years back in time. This remarkable building has made the small town of Batalha a must-visit destination for many tourists.
The monastery is not only an architectural wonder, but also an important relic of Portuguese history. Learn about the fascinating story behind its construction from the leaflets and plaques provided to help you understand the building. Inside, visit the tomb of King Joã I, the Portuguese monarch who ordered the building of the monastery to celebrate his triumph against the Castilians in the battle of Aljubarrota in 1385. Legend has it that his prayers to the Virgin Mary helped him win this battle he seemed sure to lose. He dedicated this grand monastery to her in gratitude.
Take photos of the beautiful building’s exterior from far away and close up. From a distance the monastery’s sheer size and magnificent spires make for wonderful pictures. Look more closely and see the many breathtaking examples of stone carving and ironwork that are works of art in themselves. Positioned all around the walls are statues of saints; see how many you can count.
Walk through the monastery’s grand entrance to discover the beauty of the interior. See some of the building’s most impressive stonework in the Royal Cloister, which is full of intricate carvings. Visit the Chapel of the Founders to pay your respects to King Joã I in his final resting place. Several other historical figures are also buried in the monastery, including his wife, Philippa of Lancaster, who shares a tomb with him. Visit the section of the monastery that serves as a war memorial to see more recent tombs, belonging to 20th-century Portuguese soldiers.
Drive to Batalha Monastery from Lisbon in roughly 1.5 hours. Without a car it takes a little longer, so stay overnight in one of the nearby scenic coastal towns, such as Fátima, Alcobaça or Nazaré. It is worth paying the entrance fee to view the building’s remarkable interior.