Batalha Monastery: UNESCO World Heritage in Portugal

Fachada principal do Mosteiro da Batalha.
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The Batalha Monastery is a National Monument with the status of National Pantheon, located in the town of Batalha (Leiria district), in Central Portugal.

It was commissioned in 1386 by King Dom João I of Portugal, as a thanksgiving to the Virgin Mary for the victory in the Battle of Aljubarrota, but construction lasted nearly 200 years.

It is a magnificent example of Gothic architecture and Manueline style in Portuguese territory, and one of the most visited national monuments in Portugal.

Furthermore, this grand work of Portuguese Gothic is included in UNESCO’s World Heritage List and was elected in 2007 as one of the Seven Wonders of Portugal.

Do you think these reasons are enough to include the town of Batalha in your itinerary? Join me on this journey through the History of Portugal, as I believe you won’t regret it.

Visit the Batalha Monastery

Fachada principal do Mosteiro da Batalha.
Main facade of the Batalha Monastery.
Estátua equestre do Condestável Nuno Alvares Pereira.
Equestrian statue of Constable Nuno Álvares Pereira.
Pormenor do Portal do Transepto, do Mosteiro da Batalha.
Detail of the Transept Portal, of the Batalha Monastery.

First of all, it is important to keep in mind that what we call the Batalha Monastery is actually a monastic complex consisting of a church, the Unfinished Chapels, and two cloisters.

It is located on the left bank of the Lena River and is indeed a vast complex with several points of interest accessible to visitors.

So, when visiting the monastery, make sure to carefully observe the most important features of the monument. And if you want to know what they are, here they are:

  • The Gothic portal and the Manueline window;
  • The Church;
  • The Founder’s Chapel;
  • The Chapter House, where the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier is located;
  • The Royal Cloister;
  • The Lavabo;
  • The Old Refectory, where the Museum of Offerings or the Room of the Unknown Soldier is located;
  • The Dormitory;
  • D. Afonso V’s Cloister;
  • The Manueline Door;
  • The Unfinished Chapels;
  • The Tomb of D. Duarte I and Leonora of Aragon;
  • The equestrian statue of the Constable Nuno Alvares Pereira.

Fun fact: Did you know that the Batalha Monastery is also known as the Monastery of Santa Maria da Vitória?

Highlights at the Batalha Monastery: The Unfinished Chapels (Capelas Imperfeitas)

Interior das Capelas Imperfeitas.
Interior of the Unfinished Chapels (Capelas Imperfeitas).
Túmulo D. Duarte (1391-1438) e Rainha D. Leonor de Aragão (1402-1445).
Tomb of King D. Duarte (1391-1438) and Queen D. Leonor of Aragon (1402-1445).

The Imperfect Chapels (Capelas Inperfeitas) are also known as the Dom Duarte Pantheon.

They are called “imperfect” because of the unfinished appearance of the site, as they lack a roof.

In other words, this project was not completed due to the death of King Dom Duarte in 1437 and the master Huguet, who was responsible for the work, in 1438.

However, the fact that they are incomplete does not diminish their heritage value, and a visit to the Imperfect Chapels is essential for an overall view of the Batalha Monastery.

Very importantly, right at the entrance, you will pass through an elaborate portal, which deserves your extra attention due to its detailed execution.

Also, take a look at the tomb of King Dom Duarte (1391-1438) and Queen D. Leonor of Aragon (1402-1445).

Highlights at Batalha Monastery: The Founder’s Chapel (Capela do Fundador)

Capela do Fundador.
The Founder’s Chapel (Capela do Fundador).

The Founder’s Chapel is one of the places that attracts the most interest from monastery visitors.

After all, it is in the Founder’s Chapel that the mausoleum of King Dom João I and Queen Philippa of Lancaster is located.

Best Accommodation in Batalha

Hotel Villa Batalha.
Hotel Villa Batalha.

As you may have noticed, you’ll need a few days to leisurely explore the Batalha Monastery, as well as all the tourist attractions in the region.

Therefore, my hotel suggestion in Batalha is the Hotel Villa Batalha (4 stars), which not only boasts a spectacular location in the center but also features a very good SPA.

On the other hand, if you prefer the convenience of an apartment, the Mosteiro View, also in the center, can be a good option.

If you usually travel with your pet, then Monte do Mosteiro CountryHouse is the most suitable choice for you.

Finally, if none of these suggestions appeal to you, you can always explore other options below.

Hotels in Batalha, Portugal.

What to see near the Batalha Monastery?

Visiting the Alcobaça Monastery

o que visitar em alcobaça
Alcobaça Monastery.
a cornucópia de Alcobaça.
Typical sweet from Alcobaça, the “cornucópia” from Pastelaria Alcôa.

The city of Alcobaça is located just 20 km from Batalha, so it’s an excellent opportunity to visit both places.

Don’t forget to include on your list of what to do in Alcobaça, besides a visit to the monastery, a mandatory stop at Pastelaria Alcôa to taste the typical sweets.

Visit Leira

Visitar Leiria, no Centro de Portugal.
Best places to visit in Leiria, Central Portugal.

Leiria is situated around 14 km from Batalha, making it an ideal addition to your itinerary.

Begin your exploration by wandering through the historic center of Leiria, nestled along the banks of the Liz River, and culminate your journey at the splendid Leiria Castle.

Moreover, Leiria holds the title of Creative City of Music, ensuring a plethora of music-related events and activities year-round. Be sure not to miss out!

Explore the Natural Park of Serras de Aire and Candeeiros

Parque Natural das Serras de Aire e Candeeiros.
Leisure Area in the Natural Park of Serras de Aire and Candeeiros.
Monumento Natural das Pegadas de Dinossauros.
Natural Monument of Dinosaur Footprints (Monumento Natural das Pegadas de Dinossauros).

The Natural Park of Serras de Aire e Candeeiros is located about 18 km from Batalha, making it an excellent destination to add to your trip.

My suggestion is to journey to the center of the earth at the Mira de Aire Caves, explore the historic dinosaur footprints at the Natural Monument of Dinosaur Footprints, or even dedicate a full day to exploring the mountain trails.

Everything You Need to Know Before Visiting the Monastery of Batalha

Túmulo do Infante D. João.
Tomb of Infante D. João.
Abóbada da Sala do Capítulo, no Mosteiro da Batalha.
Monastery of Batalha.
Portal do Transepto, do Mosteiro da Batalha.
Transcept Portal, of the Monastery of Batalha.

Price to visit the Monastery of Batalha

If you want to know how much it costs to enter the Monastery of Batalha, please take note that the regular ticket costs 10 EUR, but children up to 12 years old have free admission.

Also, the admission to the Monastery of Batalha is free on Sundays and holidays for residents of the national territory.

Who lies in the Founder’s Chapel of the Monastery of Batalha?

Well, those interred in the Founder’s Chapel are King Dom João I, Queen Philippa of Lancaster, and most of their children, whom the poet Camões dubbed the “illustrious generation.”

Why is it called the Monastery of Batalha?

Portuguese students learn in school that the Monastery of Batalha was commissioned in 1386 by King D. João I, as a thanksgiving to the Virgin Mary for the victory against the Castilian rivals.

This battle (Batalha in Portuguese) took place in Aljubarrota, hence it became known as the Battle of Aljubarrota.

Who were the architects and master builders of the Batalha Monastery?

Pormenor de rendilhado em traceria, no Mosteiro da Batalha.
Detail of the architecture at the Batalha Monastery.

Since the construction of this monastery took almost 200 years, there were several architects and master builders responsible.

So, according to records, the following are counted (from the oldest to the most recent): Afonso Domingues, David Huguet, Martim Vasques, Fernão d’Évora, Mateus Fernandes, João de Castilho, Miguel de Arruda, Mouzinho de Albuquerque, and Lucas dos Santos Pereira.

Where is the Batalha Monastery located?

Mosteiro da Batalha.
Batalha Monastery.

The Batalha Monastery is located in the town of Batalha, which belongs to the district of Leiria, in the Central region of Portugal.

So, to get there, we suggest you take a look at the following maps.

Map and How to get to Batalha Monastery

Batalha is about 150 km from Lisbon and 196 km from Porto.

Although there are bus connections, such as Flixbus, between Lisbon, Porto, and Batalha, the most convenient way to visit the region is by car.

So, if you need a rental car, my suggestion is Discovercars, which, in my opinion, offers the best prices and conditions.

Check how much it costs to rent a car in Batalha, Portugal.

From Lisbon

From Porto

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