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UNESCO World Heritage Site with Stunning Gothic architecture and the Notable Monastery of Batalha.

Batalha

Batalha is a small Portuguese town, famous for the Dominican Monastery of Santa Maria da Vitória.

Batalha, Portugal, is located in the center of the country. The Portuguese call this place the Monastery of Battle in Manueline style as on August 14, 1385, here took place a significant event, and after it, the city was founded in this place. Before the battle, João I made a promise to build a monastery and kept it. The Portuguese won their right to be independent in the Battle of Aljubarrota. Nowadays, the Dominican monastery of Batalha is not only historical but also one of the most artistically valuable attractions of Portugal. Moreover, in 1983 it was included in the UNESCO World Heritage Site List.

The construction is an amazing work of art with countless towers, impressive openwork balustrades, and amazing stone gargoyle gutters. The first thing that all the visitors see is the front portal, decorated with statues of the apostles in the Gothic style. Among important historical facts should be mentioned that the monastery is the royal tomb of John I, his wife Philippa of Lancaster, and four infants. Besides, one of their kids was Enrique (Henry the Navigator). The work on the monastery was carried out by architects of different schools, who used new techniques and artistic styles, previously unknown in Portugal. So it can't be called a monument of one style. It's an impressive mixture of different trends from Gothic to Renaissance. The complex, kept till our times, includes a church, two monasteries with outbuildings, and two royal pantheons: Capella do Fundador and Capellas Imperfeitas.

The Square Chapel of the Founder (Capela do Fundador) was built by the order of King John I in the 15th century and became the first royal pantheon in Portugal. The chapel combines Flamboyant Gothic and the English Perpendicular style. It consists of three conventional bays and a central octagon supported by eight pillars decorated with croquettes supporting arches with high stilts.

One more attraction of the Dominican abbey is Capelas Imperfeitas (Unfinished Chapels), which form a separate octagon. The construction is attached to the choir of the church. The visitors can get access to it only from the outside. The chapel is a mild reminder that the monastery was never completed. The windows in each chapel are decorated with stained glass. A visit to these Unfinished Chapels very clearly introduces the system of sometimes centuries-long construction of Gothic masterpieces, everything was done simultaneously along the way, and no one waited for the frame of the building to be completed, they immediately began interior decoration, because people realized that it was unlikely during their short human life they will see the result.

The chapter house reminds visitors of the military reason for the founding of the monastery. This square has a star vault without a central support and occupies an area of 19 meters on the side. According to the legend, when the last of the platforms were removed, Yuge spent the night under the vault to silence his critics. In the chapter hall, there is an eternal flame and the tomb of the Unknown Soldier of the First World War, and the guys stand at the grave in a guard of honor.

As for the Royal Monastery, one more example of Medieval architecture, built between 1448 and 1477, it was not part of the original project. It was created by the architect Fernand de Évora in Gothic style with the openwork carved decoration and later combined with the Manueline style of the arcade screens. Additionally, the visitors should see Lavabo, located in the northwest corner of Claustro Real. It's an architectural composition, consisting of a fountain and two small pools at the top with an atmosphere of Portugal romantic.

The Monastery of Batalha is a masterpiece of Portuguese architecture and one of the most famous works of European architecture took enormous human and material resources.

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All About Batalha

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When to Visit

Batalha is located in the central region of Portugal and has a mild Mediterranean climate. The winters are rainy and warm. The summer season is dry, and there is relatively stable weather throughout the year, great for exploration.

An optimal time for Batalha visit is from April to October with comfortable temperatures ranging from 15°C to 25°C. The hottest time is from July to August when the temperatures exceed 30°C, and still, it's the most crowded period.

In winter the temperature ranges from 5°C to 15°C. 

Overall, Batalha is a spot for a deeper understanding of Portuguese history and architecture, and a delightful destination for a year-round visit. In this picturesque town, there's always something to explore and experience.

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Getting Around

Batalha is a tiny place, so the best way to explore it is on foot. In most cases, for tourists, one day is enough to explore the place. It's highly recommended to prepare the most comfortable shoes to walk around and see all the most significant places. The transportation options are also available. In case you want to visit the surrounding sightseeings there is a taxi service for longer distances. Buses from the local bus station offer routes to nearby towns. For nature enthusiasts, there are scenic walking trails surrounding Batalha, such as the Ecopista do Lena, a converted railway line that offers peaceful countryside views. As for those who come here in their own car, there is a comfortable parking area, from where it's easy to start the sightseeing tour around the monastery.

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Travel Information

You can get an unforgettable experience while traveling in Batalha if you consider a few simple Batalha travel tips:

1. How to make the first trip to Batalha unforgettable?

Day excursions to Batalha allow you to get acquainted with the monastery. The architectural complex is so interesting and unique that it deserves closer study. Those who come at night can see the monastery illuminated, which gives a mystical impression. Those who come for a few days can stay in one of Batalha Portugal hotels for any budget.

South of the village of Batalha is the small town of Porto de Mos with a castle built in the 13th century. It was seriously damaged during the earthquake of 1755. The cone-shaped green towers and the loggia, surprising in their sophistication, have survived to this day. When going on holiday to Batalha, you can also admire the natural attractions of the region, for example, the bizarre rock formations located near the aforementioned Porto de Mos.

2. What is a list of Batalha hidden gems?

Batalha Monastery is one of the most beautiful and significant monuments of Portuguese Gothic. South of Batalha is Porto de Mos, a small town with a characteristic 13th-century castle and underground caves, and strange rock formations of bizarre shapes, nearby. The castle, once used as a fortified palace, was badly damaged in the 1755 earthquake. But its green, cone-shaped towers and elaborate loggia are decorated with typical Manuelino symbols, such as plants and flowers of the open lands, and sea motifs carved into each arch of the chapel, illustrating the diversity of Portuguese art of the Age of Great Geographical Discoveries.

3. What dishes are the must-try in Batalha?

Batalha, with its hospitality and impressive culinary traditions, will convince you that food is more than a condition of our daily existence. It is possible that a menu grabbed from a local restaurant will make you return to this city again.

We recommend trying their delicious fish dishes such as Bacalhao a Braz and Sardiños (fried sardine). Don't miss the opportunity to try their famous dish "Arroz de Coentro", coriander rice cooked with seafood. A visit to these restaurants and cafes will allow you to fully enjoy the authentic flavors of Portuguese cuisine and experience the gastronomic side of Batalha Portugal tourism.

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Frequently Asked Questions

Get clear and useful insider tips for the most common queries about Batalha

What are the opening hours for the Batalha Monastery?

It's highly advisable to check the official website or local tourism office before visiting as there can be seasonal or holiday changes. The fixed time when the visitors can buy tickets for the visit is from 9:00 AM to 6:00 PM.

What are the options to get to Batalha from Lisbon?

There is a direct bus connection from Lisbon's Sete Rios bus station. The route on the comfortable bus takes approximately 1.5 to 2 hours. As for those who come by car, the approximate time on the road is 1 hour and 45 minutes.

Is there a parking area near the Batalha Monastery?

Yes, there are all the necessary parking facilities available near the Batalha Monastery, so it's very convenient for visitors to explore the area at any time on their own.