Portugal: Jerónimos Monastery

The parish of Belém, just west of Lisbon’s city centre, has many monuments related to Portugal’s naval history and the Age of Discoveries. The Padrão dos Descobrimentos and the Torre de Belém have already been discussed. Yet Belém’s greatest treasure is arguably the awe-inspiring Jerónimos Monastery. It was built between…

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Portugal: Torre de Belém

It is perhaps a little hard to believe that the Torre de Belém was actually built as a fortress to protect the mouth of the Tagus river, the gateway to Lisbon. The tower is so beautifully decorated with Manueline and Renaissance elements, that it could easily have been part of…

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Portugal: Padrão dos Descobrimentos

Belém is an historically important part of Lisbon near the mouth of the river Tagus. The name Belém means ‘Bethlehem’ in Portuguese. This parts of Lisbon is known for its cultural and historical heritage, such as the famous Jerónimos Monastery and the Torre de Belém, a tower guarding the mouth…

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Portugal: Sintra

We have twice been to Sintra, a city west of Lisbon on the edge of the Sintra-Cascais Natural Park. The first time was in May 2011, when we took a train from Lisbon’s Rossio Station, a trip of some 45 minutes. The second time was in August 2015. This time,…

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Portugal: Batalha

On 22 October 1383, King Fernando I of Portugal died after a reign of sixteen years. His death effectively ended the House of Burgundy, which had ruled Portugal since the early twelfth century. The king had no male heir, just a daughter, Infanta Beatriz (1372-1408). She had been married off…

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Portugal: Santarém

Santarém is the capital of the Santarém District in the Ribatejo region in central Portugal. It is by no means a large city, with a population of about 30.000. Yet it has many interesting monuments and is definitely worth a visit. Just do not go there on a Monday or…

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Portugal: Tomar

The description of Tomar in our travel guide was particularly promising: a picturesque town in the shadow of a crusader castle and monastery perched on a hill. Since both the Convento de Christo and the Castelo dos Templários are listed as UNESCO World Heritage, we decided to take the car…

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Portugal: Alcobaça

It was a pleasant drive to Alcobaça, a small town with a population of about 16.000. Alcobaça is home to Portugal’s largest church and the church was the main reason we came here. Just to the east of the church and monastery is a large car park with ample space…

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Portugal: Óbidos

From our apartment in Vila Nova, near Cadaval, it was about 30 minutes to Óbidos by car. The weather was lovely and so was the scenery. This part of Portugal is known for its vineyards and pear orchards. People have lived in and around Óbidos for centuries. The area was…

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