Last updated: 10/13/2022
Discover Batalha, a city located in the north of Portugal that is home to a famous World Heritage Site and is full of history and culture.
THE CITY OF BATTLE
Batalha is a Portuguese village located in the District of Leiria with about 8 thousand inhabitants. It is the seat of the municipality of Batalha, which has about 20,000 inhabitants. The city was founded in 1500 by King João I, in the region of Monastery of Santa Maria da Vitória (better known as Batalha Monastery), built with the aim of giving thanks for the victory in Battle of Aljubarrota, the event that gives the city its name.
THE BATTLE OF ALJUBARROTA
This important battle took place in August 14, 1385 in between Portuguese troops (with English allies) led by D. João I of Portugal (about 6,500 soldiers) against the Castilian army and allies commanded by João I of Castile (about 31 thousand soldiers). The battle consolidated D. João I as king of Portugal. It took place in Campo de São Jorge, on the outskirts of the village of Aljubarrota and, therefore, takes its name. This battle was one of the biggest of the Middle Ages and marked one of the most important events in the history of Portugal.
The battle was innovative in terms of military tactics and resolved the dispute between the Kingdom of Portugal and the Kingdom of Leon and Castile, opening space for the Avis Dynasty to start the Age of Discovery. In addition, in the diplomatic field, it allowed the alliance between Portugal and England, through the Luso-British Alliance that lasts until the present day.
HOW TO GET AND GET AROUND BATALHA
Being in the city, the best way to get around is on foot. The historic center of the city is relatively small and super pleasant to walk around. Only one of the mentioned attractions is further from the city center. Check below which are the main options to get to the city of Batalha.
- CAR: A good option is to take a trip with a rented car to Aveiro, so you can stay as long as you want.
- TRAIN: The nearest train station is in the city of Leiria, less than 15 km north of Batalha. The suggestion is to go to Leiria and from there take a taxi or Uber.
- BUS: For those who want to go by bus, there is a Express Network which takes 2 hours and leaves from Lisbon Sete Rios to Batalha. It costs between €10 to €13 and there are 5 times per day.
- EXCURSIONS: One of the most popular ways to get to the city is by joining a tour from Lisbon. It is an excellent option for those who want to explore several places in one day without having to worry about public transport or renting a car. Check out some options below and click for more information.
WHAT TO DO IN BATTLE
To help you plan an amazing visit to Batalha, we've put all the information on the interactive map below. Attractions are in blue, tips for shopping and restaurants are in red and hosting and other important points in black. Then check out more details about each of the attractions.
The Monastery of Batalha is a Dominican monastery built at the request of King João I in 1387 as a thank you to the Virgin Mary for the victory in the Battle of Aljubarrota. The monastery was built over two centuries, during the reign of 7 kings and was inaugurated in 1517, although the construction was officially completed in 1563. The building, in Manueline style, has been listed since 1983 as UNESCO World Heritage, and is also considered one of the Seven Wonders of Portugal, in addition to being a National Pantheon.
In the monastery they are buried D. João I, Master of Avis (illegitimate son of King Pedro I with Teresa Lourenço), D. Filipa de Lencastre (wife of D. João I), the Infante D. Henrique, Infante D. João, D. Isabel, D. Duarte (sons of D. João I and D. Filipa), D. Fernando (father of D. João I), D. Afonso V (son of King Duarte I) and D. João II (son of Alfonso V). The main areas of the monastery include:
- SHIP AND CHORUS: The church is narrow (22 meters) in relation to its height (32 meters). The interior gives a sober and bare impression due to the lack of ornaments and statues in the nave. The vaults are supported by composite pillars, closed by ornate vaults. Light enters the church through the ten stained glass windows and through the tall, laced windows on the side walls. The choir extends across two-span transepts and consists of five chapels.
- CHAPTER ROOM: Here is the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier. With a square plan, the room is covered by a star vault with Gothic features, being formed by sixteen ribs.
- FOUNDER'S CHAPEL: Built between 1426 and 1434, it is considered one of the most important buildings adjacent to the monastery. With a square plan, the chapel is composed of three fictitious openings and a central octagon supported by eight pillars. There are three tombs that are copies of the original tombs of King Afonso V, João II, and his son and heir, Prince Afonso.
- DUARTE'S PANTHEON: This area also known as Capelas Imperfeitas reminds us that the monastery was never fully completed. It was commissioned in 1437 by King Edward of Portugal as a second royal mausoleum. He and Queen Eleanor of Aragon are the only ones buried here.
- ROYAL CLOSURE: Also called the Cloister of D. João I, it was built between 1448 and 1477. It has a square plan with 50 meters on a side and lace decoration carved in Gothic style that forms an incredible combination with the Manueline style in the arcades.
- CLAUSTRO D. AFONSO V: In Gothic style and with double-ended arches, this cloister was built at the end of the 15th century with much simpler decoration. The cornerstones of the vault bear the coat of arms of D. Duarte I and Afonso V.
- Address: Largo Infante Dom Henrique, 2440-109 Batalha, Portugal
- Schedules: daily
- mid-October to October 9:00am to 6:00pm (last entry at 5:30pm)
- April to mid-October 9am to 6:30pm (last entry at 6pm)
- Single Ticket: 6€ | free for children under 12
- World Heritage Ticket (Alcobaça, Batalha, Convent of Christ): €15 – valid for 7 days
2. BATTLE MATRIX CHURCH
Also known as Igreja Matriz da Exaltação a Santa Cruz, this church began to be built between 1514 and 1532, because the monastery had no parish service for the local population. The church has a single nave covered in wood, with a quadrangular chancel with a star-shaped vault. The church has undergone restorations over the years and the baroque decorations of the 18th century stand out. In the 20th century, the bell tower was replaced by a bell tower and a stone altarpiece was placed inside the chancel.
- Address: str. of Fatima 10A, 2440 Batalha, Portugal
The Municipality of Batalha Museum is a pedagogical museum that houses an exhibition on the history of the evolution of the territory in the last 250 million years, with emphasis on the Battle of Aljubarrota and the construction of the Monastery of Batalha. The museum displays dynamic and interactive exhibits from its geological, paleontological and archaeological origins, through various historical events to the sociocultural aspects of the present day.
- Address: Largo Goa, Daman and Diu 4, 2440-901 Batalha, Portugal
- Schedules: Wednesday to Sunday from 10 am to 1 pm and from 2 pm to 6 pm | closed on mondays and tuesdays
- Entrance: €2,50
Ponte da Boutaca is a viaduct built in 1862, 60 meters long and 7 meters wide. The bridge is less than 1 km from the Batalha Monastery. It was built in a revivalist style with neo-Gothic features. Painted in yellow, six broken arches are formed interspersed by buttresses with several stops.
- Address: str. da Boutaca 68, 2440 Batalha, Portugal
Opened in 2008, the Interpretation Center of the Battle of Aljubarrota is a museum that aims to conduct field studies, preserve and display information about the Battle of Aljubarrota in 1385, as well as disseminate historical data about the 14th century. The Center is located in São Jorge, just over 3.5 km from the Monastery of Batalha and has an area of almost 2 thousand m². The museum has an exhibition area dedicated to the Battle of Aljubarrota, an auditorium that shows a film that recreates the confrontation, as well as educational programs and an area for temporary exhibitions.
- Address: Av. Dom, Av. Nuno Álvares Pereira 120, 2480-062 Porto de Mos, Portugal
- Schedules: from tuesday to sunday from 1pm to 5pm | closed on mondays
- Entrance: 7 € | buy tickets in this link
WHERE TO EAT IN BATTLE
- Adega dos Frades (at Hotel Villa Batalha, Portuguese cuisine, vegetarian options)
- icecrepe (crepes, salads, pasta, vegetarian options)
- vintage restaurant (hamburgers, sandwiches, pasta, Portuguese cuisine)
- Sapori Pizzeria Italiani (Italian)
- Old Donkey Restaurant (Portuguese)
- Puzzle (burger)
- Pizzeria Tentazione (Italian)
- Archer Pastry (confectionery)
- Cavallini's Croissanteria (breads, croissants, waffles, juices)
WHERE TO STAY IN BATTLE
There are few accommodation options in Batalha, but we have selected the best ones for you to check out below. If you are going to sleep in the region, a suggestion is to stay in the city of Leiria, which is larger, has more hotel and restaurant options and is less than 15 km north of Batalha. See Leiria options here and, below, some accommodation options in Batalha divided by stars.
UP TO 2 STARS
- Casa do Outeiro – Arts & Crafts Boutique Hotel
- View Monastery (apartments)
- Casa Ceedina Bed and Breakfast & Beauty
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