This extraordinary abbey was built to commemorate the 1385 Battle of Aljubarrota (fought just south of here).
One of Iberia's great monasteries utterly dominates the town of Alcobaça. Hiding behind the imposing baroque facade lies a high, austere, monkish church (free entry) with a forest of unadorned 12th-century arches.
Within medieval walls, the picturesque Cidade Velha consists of winding, peaceful cobbled streets and squares, reconstructed in a melange of styles following successive batterings – first by marauding British and then two big earthquakes Enter through the neoclassical Arco da Vila , built by order of Bishop Francisco Gomes, Faro’s answer to the Marquês de Pombal, who oversaw.
It's difficult to believe that a century ago, this was pastureland outside an insignificant village. This vast complex is now one of Catholicism's major shrines; the focus of enormous devotion and pilgrimage. At the eastern end is the 1953 basilica, a triumphantly sheer-white building with colonnade reminiscent of St Peter’s.
Braga’s extraordinary cathedral, the oldest in Portugal, was begun when the archdiocese was restored in 1070 and completed in the following century.
Blank, hulking and prisonlike, Sagres’ fortress has a forbidding front wall balanced by two mighty bastions. Inside, a few buildings dot the vast, open expanse, but otherwise a visit here is mostly about the striking views over the sheer cliffs, and all along the coast to Cabo de São Vicente Splash out on the printed guide (€1, in English) that’s sold at the entrance.
Famously depicted on bottles of Mateus rosé, the 18th-century Palácio de Mateus is one of Portugal’s great baroque masterpieces – probably the work of Italian-born architect Nicolau Nasoni.
Long a Moorish stronghold and for a century the seat of Portugal’s kings, Coimbra’s upper town rises abruptly from the banks of the Rio Mondego. The most picturesque way to enter Coimbra’s labyrinth of lanes is via Arco de Almedina – the city’s heavy-duty Moorish gateway – and up the staggered stairs known as Rua Quebra Costas (Backbreaker).
Most visitors to Vila Nova de Foz Côa come for one reason: to see its world-famous gallery of rock art. Although the park is currently an active research zone, three sites are open to the public: Canada do Inferno , departures at around 9.30am from the park museum in Vila Nova de Foz Côa; Ribeira de Piscos departures at around 9.
Climb uphill from Largo de São Vicente and you’ll soon set foot inside the astonishingly well-preserved 12th-century citadel.
In the 13th century, Dom Afonso III built Castro Marim’s castle on the site of Roman and Moorish fortifications in a dramatic and strategic position for spying on the Spanish frontier. In 1319 it became the first headquarters of the religious military order known as the Order of Christ, the new version of the Knights Templar.
The dukes of Bragança built their palace in the early 16th century when the fourth duke, Dom Jaime, decided he had had enough of his uncomfortable hilltop castle. The wealthy Bragança family, originally from Bragança in Trás-os-Montes, had settled in Vila Viçosa in the 15th century.
Wild-spending Dom João V poured pots of Brazilian gold into this baroque palace, covering a mind-boggling 4 sq km and comprising a monastery and basilica. Begun in 1717, the exuberant mock-marble confection is the handiwork of German master Friedrich Ludwig, who trained in Italy and clearly had a kind of Portuguese Vatican in mind.
Évora’s cathedral looks like a fortress, with two stout granite towers. It was begun around 1186, during the reign of Sancho I, Afonso Henriques’ son – there was probably a mosque here before. It was completed about 60 years later.
The Portas d’El Rei (King’s Gate), surmounted by the ancient coat of arms, was always the principal entrance, whose guillotine-like door sealed out unwelcome visitors. The walls run intact for over 1km around the medieval core, which is centred on the main square, Largo Padre Francisco Ferreira .