Tomar-rio
Portugal

Tomar: One-day tour on the Templar City

In this article, we will list some of our suggestions for a visit to the city of Tomar in just one day. As the city is relatively small, the tourist and historical points in the city are close to each other. Tomar is ideal for a quick getaway and is more or less halfway between Lisbon and Porto.

Tomar-rio

 

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Tomar - janela

{fa-map-marker } Tomar Map 

The following map shows the three main points to visit. Convento de Cristo, Mouchão Park and the Church of Santa Maria dos Olivais. Tomar is a city in Ribatejo region, belonging to the district of Santarém  and is located very close to the A13, a highway that intersection with the A1.

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{fa-map-marker } Tomar History

Not wanting to be too exhaustive, it is worth mentioning that in the historical context Tomar was a very important city. Firstly, because the Order of the Templars was installed here, and the Castle of Tomar and the Convent of Christ has its headquarters. This military religious order has always provoked immense curiosity in those who wish to know the secrets of the Order of Knights Templar. This, however, extinguished by the papal order was converted, in Portugal, by the Order of Christ.

Thus, Tomar was a city of great importance, since both the crown and the church were quite important to the development of Portugal. Interestingly, it was here that D. Henrique king outlined the Portugal Discoveries around the world.

Tomar hides yet another curiosity. It was arranged in a cross, like a compass rose, with a convent at each end.

 

Castelo de Tomar

{fa-map-marker } Tomar Castle

The Tomar Castle is part of the architectural complex of the Convent of Christ. Thus, before reaching the Convent of Christ, the first door you will pass through is the walls of the Castle of Tomar that was built to protect all the complex.

Walk along the walls, seeing the old orangery, the Almedina Door and the Keep.

Castelo de Tomar - Jardins

 

{fa-info-circle } TIP: Next to the entrance to the Church is what appears to be a ruin. However, it is the Chapter House, an unfinished work, which absorbed part of the old wall of Almedina. 

 

Casa do Capítulo - Tomar

{fa-map-marker } The Christ Convent

The Christ Convent (Convento de Cristo) is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. It is a monument with many centuries and an extraordinary architecture that crosses several styles in different periods of Portuguese architecture.

Convento de Cristo - Exterior

Convento de Cristo - Entrada

All of it is magnificent but it is worth mentioning the splendour of the Charola, one of the most emblematic associated with Templar architecture, the Main Cloister and its fantastic geometry, which can be seen in small details, such as the magnificent round stairs. The maximum exponent is associated with the Manueline style in the Chapter Room window, which brings together elements such as ropes, chains, the royal shield and the cross of Christ.Charola

IMG 20210822 124525

Charola

 

Claustro

Escadas - arquitetura

Janela do capítulo - Convento de Tomar

Janela do capítulo - Convento de Tomar

Chapter Room window

 

The visit continues and passes through other cloisters, the refectory, the kitchen and the cistern.

Refeitório do Convento de Tomar

Refeitório 

Cisterna do Convento de TomarCistern

{fa-info-circle } TIP: Next to the first parking lot, for those visiting by car, there is a small chapel on the right. It is a small jewel of the Portuguese Renaissance built with the purpose of a mausoleum of King Joao III.

{fa-map-marker } Seven Hills National Forest

For those visiting the Castle and Convent on foot, you will have to walk through the Seven Hills National Forest (Mata Nacional dos Sete Montes). It is a green space used by the Order of Christ as an area for cultivation and gathering. In the middle of the vegetation, the Charolinha stands out, which is thought to be a secret and hidden retreat. It’s worth taking a walk through this space and getting lost in it.

Mata dos Sete Montes

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{fa-map-marker } Mouchão City Park

The Mouchão Park is a green area next to the Nabão river, where there is no lack of shade, a playground and other more radical activities, such as a slide. You can even rent some boats and ride on the river.

Rio Nabão - Parque do Mouchão

Rio Nabão - Parque do Mouchão

But the most famous and photographed element in the park is the large wooden wheel, moved by the current of the Nabão River and which with its buckets collect the water from the river.

Roda no Parque do Mouchão

Rio Nabão - Parque do Mouchão

{fa-map-marker } Old Bridge

Next to Mouchão Park is another fine example of Tomar’s architecture. The old bridge or D. Manuel I Bridge is one of the most beautiful entrances to Tomar ending at Serpa Pinto Road (Corredoura). This in turn leads to Republic Square (Praça da República). Serpa Pinto Road is the main pedestrian street in Tomar and where the most legendary houses in Tomar are found, as pastry shops with traditional sweets. Republic Square is the centre of Tomar, where the parish church and the City Hall building are located.

{fa-map-marker } Santa Maria dos Olivais Church

igreja

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This church was out of our initial itinerary and we ended up not visiting it despite having been indicated as a must-visit point (we lost some time to enjoy a nice lunch and regional sweets). It is located on the left bank of the Nabão River and, after all, it was here the headquarters of the Order of the Templars, serving as a pantheon of the Order’s masters. It is one of the most emblematic monuments of Gothic art in Portugal.

 

[zt_title type=”single-border”]Activities in Tomar[/zt_title] 

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{fa-map-marker } When is the best time to visit?

Tomar is located in the centre of Portugal so in terms of weather conditions, it does not differ much from Portugal’s temperate climate. Thus, Tomar should be visited throughout the year, from our point of view. If you are looking to visit during warm weather with longer days, do so during spring and summer. In years without covid, the city is dynamic and with several events throughout the year.

tabuleiros

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The most prominent event in Tomar is the grandiose Festa dos Tabuleiros de Tomar. During the party, hundreds of girls carry huge and colourful trays on their heads through streets adorned with paper flowers. This party happens every 4 years.

 


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{fa-map-marker } Where to sleep in Tomar?

Tomar and the surrounding cities have many places to stay overnight or for a holiday. From popular hotels to accommodation, there is a lot to choose from. Use the following Booking tool to choose the best accommodation by location.

During our last stay we stayed at the Varandas do Nabão accommodation and we loved it.

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Or get inspired by the following most popular accommodation in Tomar.

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Siga-nos também em Português!

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