Walking in Alcobaça


Walking in Alcobaça


Cangas de Onis ​Alcobaça is a beautiful small town in the center of Portugal, well located to quick access to most of Portuguese beauties. In Alcobaça you must see the imposing monastery, a world masterpiece of the early Gothic. Don’t miss the cloisters, the dining room, and the kitchen. Of course, you can’t miss in the main corps, the tombs of Pedro and Ines, a real Portuguese history of Romeo and Juliet.

The surroundings of the monastery mix well antiquity and modernity, and, being so small, the town is excellent to wander a while. Make a pleasant pause in the gardens around town hall and the local court.

The castle is an abandoned ruin, only serving as good photo spot of the monastery. Nothing very special in the local museum, but if you go 2 km north towards Leiria, stop at the interesting “Museu do Vinho” (wine museum), and, with time, accept my suggestions and explore the region. You will not be wasting your time.

Pedro & Ines in Ceramics


The pleasant path along the river, while waiting for the repair of the buildings that flank it to the south, has been enriched with a collection of ceramic art, by several artists and industrial units, which, cleverly averts the eyes from the ruins.
An appreciable initiative!

​The Castle


There is, really, nothing to see there.

So, if you want to make a good picture of the Monastery’s facade, that’s a good point, otherwise there is no reason to justify the effort of climbing the steep way.

​I know that there are some beautiful houses in the way, but you need not to go up to the top to see them.



Once a gardened square, full of life (and cars), the square facing the monastery was transformed in a desert, with the intention to enhance the monastery.

Locals complaint, commerce fades and discussion grows.

Even the regular events in the square are different, more professional and less participated (and… funny: frequently with a big tent hiding the monastery…).

​Fortunately, the image and proportions of the buildings in the square were preserved.




Baça river draining in Alcoa river gave name to Alcobaça.

The merging point of both rivers were for long time abandoned and neglected.

A few years ago workings were started to recover and embellish it.



Ninety per cent of the visitors go straight to enter the Monastery, browse one of the shops in front of it, and leave Alcobaça.


​Hidden in the narrow streets around the monument, Alcobaça has more interesting points that justify a longer staying.

​City Hall


No, its not Disneyland. It’s City Hall.

The palace has been built in 1890 by a local that made fortune in Brazil, and started being used as City Hall in the middle of last century.

The style reflects Brazilian architecture.

​Around it, there’s a garden, with tennis lawns, and, at both ends, the camping ground and the Palace of Justice

​Summer Animation


After decades of indifference, the recent works to evidence the monastery created the opportunity to a different use of its facing square and facade.

Several events, from spring to autumn, animate the interior and surroundings of the monastery.

A discrete nightlife is growing in some of the adjacent bars.

​City Hall’s homepage has a good agenda, unfortunately only in Portuguese.

Cós monastery


It will become a beaten path!

After several years blaming the local authorities for neglecting this monument, my nephew’s marriage took me to a finally restored church, that is now available to visit.

Distant 5 to 10 minutes from Alcobaça, you should try to visit Cos monastery, or, at least, my pictures in its page.

​The tiles are splendid.



Once a swamp area drained by the monks of Cister, Alcobaça still keeps small natural ponds, providing relaxing sights and some good picnic areas.

​This lagoon, in the industrial town of Pataias, only a few minutes from the beaches, though invaded by the water jacinth, still has its beauty.



The region of Alcobaça is pleasant, and though the main touristy attraction is the monastery, there are many small details and spots to explore around the town, while finding the best of the area – the diversity of the agricultural landscape, and the hospitality of the people.

Only a couple of kilometers south of town, Capuchos is an example:
Capuchos convent or Santa Maria Magdalene, already in ruins, is now partially recovered.

​Behind the picnic Park, are the remains of the former convent who gave name to the place, founded by Cardinal D. Henrique in 1566, in connection with the monastery.