Discover the 7 Wonders of Portugal


In this article you will discover the 7 Wonders of Portugal, chosen by the Portuguese people in 2007.

After reading through the wonders you’ll find 2 itineraries to easily visit these amazing places in one or two weeks.

Here are the 7 Wonders of Portugal:

1. Belém Tower

The construction of Belém Tower(1514-1520) had as its main goal the protection of Lisbon against invaders. As the means for defense and atack had evolved since then, its defensive function was lost.

From 1580 onwards it was used as a political prison and even as a telegraph station.

When it was built, it was surrounded by water from Tagus river but, through the years, Belém beach gained some space and got the Tower closer to Lisbon.

Nowadays, the tower is surrounded by an artificial lake, forcing its visitors to cross a wooden walkway to visit the interior of the monument.

  • Opening hours: from Tuesday to Sunday from 10 to 17h30 (18h30 in the summer)
  • Tickets: 6 euros

Information: if you’re visiting Belém Tower then do not miss the opportunity to visit the Monument to the Discoveries. From the top of this monument (56 metres) you can admire a beautiful view over the astonishing 25 April Bridge, Belém Tower, the Hieronymites Monastery and Tagus River.

2. Hieronymites Monastery

The Hieronymites Monastery is one of the most beautiful monuments in Portugal. Its beauty makes it the most visited monument in the country with over 800 000 tickets sold every year.

The construction of the Hieronymites Monastery began in 1502 by order of King D. Manuel I and was concluded a century later.

This monument shows the Portuguese wealth by the time of the Discoveries and the pioneering role the Portuguese had in the 15th and 16th centuries by creating contacts, dialogues and promoting cultural interchanges.

The expenses of this huge 300-metre project were paid thanks to a tax implemented by the king. This tax consisted of tributing 5% of the gold brought from Guinea and of the gemstones that came from India.

D. Manuel I wanted to build this monastery to perpetuate the memory of Henry the Navigator and, at the same time, to have a pantheon where his dinasty would have a final resting place.

To inhabit the monastery, the king chose the monks from the Order of Saint Jerome or Hieronymites (hence the name Hieronymites Monastery). Here, they could pray for him and give spiritual solace to sailors who would leave Lisbon to conquer the world.

The monks from this order inhabited the monastery for over 300 years, until 1834. At this time all the religious orders in Portugal were extinct.

Presently you can visit the amazing church (free entry), the wonderful cloister, the dining hall and the room where the monks would meet.

Throughout your visit you’ll notice several tombs from kings, queens and great personalities such has the Portuguese navigator Vasco da Gama, and the amazing Portuguese poests Luís Vaz de Camões and Fernando Pessoa.

  • Opening hours: from Tuesday to Sunday from 10 to 17h30 (18h30 in the summer)
  • Tickets: 10 euros or 12€ if you visit Belém Tower

Information: right beside the Hieronymites Monastery you’ll find the famous “Pastéis de Belém” pastry shop, opened since 1837.

3. Pena National Palace

A chapel was built in the 12th century, where you can now find Pena National Palace, in honour of Nossa Senhora da Pena.

In 1503 D. Manuel I (the king that ordered the construction of the Hieronymites Monastery) also ordered the construction of a monastery that he offered to the Order of Saint Jerome or Hieronymites.

The monks lived there until 1834, time when all the religious orders in Portugal were dissolved. In 1838, King D. Fernando II buys the monastery, that was in really bad shape – mainly because of the 1755 earthquake that struck Lisbon and its surroundings.

Between 1842 and 1854 the monastery was restored and became the “New Palace“. After the death of king D. Fernando II in 1885, the palace was sold to the Portuguese State and is used up until 1910 by the king D. Manuel II.

With the revolution in place, the king and his family fled to a foreign country and the First Republic was proclaimed in Portugal.

In 1911, the palace’s name changed to Pena National Palace. From then on the palace opened its doors to general public as a museum.

It is the most visited palace in Portugal and rivals with the Hieronymites Monastery for the title of monument most visited in Portugal.

  • Check here the ticket prices and the opening hours

Information: while in Sintra don’t forget to visit its historic centre, classified as UNESCO World Heritage.

4. Óbidos Castle

The construction of Óbidos castle began in the mid 1st century, when Romans ruled the world. However, it was during the Moors occupation that the castle developed and at the same time the fortress was created.

In 1148 the first king of Portugal, Dom Afonso Henriques, conquered the village and its castle from the Moors. Since then, the castle has been restored and enlarged several times.
The 1755 earthquake was heavily felt in the village and part of the fortress and some medieval buildings were completely destroyed.
In the 20th century the castle was in ruins. The Portuguese State then decided to restore it and, in 1950, converted the structure into a luxury hotel – the first to be built in a historic building.

If you want to visit the interior of Óbidos Castle (affiliate link), you’ll have to book at least one night in the hotel. Know that you can explore the exterior of the castle and even walk on the walls surrounding the village. It’s a one kilometre and a half walk.

Aside from the castle, you should definitely stroll through the streets of the village inside the walls. Óbidos village is full tourists but it will be worth your while. You’ll have the opportunity to stroll in a maze of streets and white houses adorned with beautiful flowers.

Are you looking for a place to stay in Óbidos or nearby? Check here

Information: don’t leave Óbidos without trying the Ginjinha, a liqueur made from cherries.

5. Alcobaça Monastery

After conquering Santarém from the Moors, king Dom Afonso Henriques promised the Cistercian Order to build Alcobaça Monastery  as a token of his appreciation.

The construction of the monastery began in 1178 according to the designs of Clairvaux Abbey, which belonged to the Cistercian Order in France, and ended in 1252. It was inaugurated by king D. Dinis.

In 1810, Napolean’s troops stole the most part of the monastery’s riches and what was left was stolen in 1834 when all religious orders were dissolved in Portugal.

During your visit, you can admire the dorms, the chapter house, the dining hall, D. Dinis cloister, the amazing kitchen, the Hall of Kings and the church (free entry).

Are you looking for a place to stay in Alcobaça or nearby? Check here

  • Tickets: 6€
  • Opening hours: 9h – 18h from October to March, from 9h – 19h from April to September
    Closed on the 1st of January, Easter, 1st of May, 20th of August and Christmas.

Information: if you’re visiting Alcobaça and Batalha Monasteries and Convent of Christ in Tomar, then you should by the ticket “Circuito do Património Mundial” (UNESCO World Heritage Tour) for 15 euros.

6. Batalha Monastery

Batalha Monastery is one of the most beautiful Portuguese and European architecture masterpieces. After his victory in Aljubarrota (1385) over the Kingdom of Castile (a region from the present Spain), king D. João I decided to order the construction of this monastery to thank Virgin Mary for his triumph.

The construction began in 1386 and was concluded two centuries later, in 1517. The monastery was given to the Dominicans who lived there up until the dissolution of the religious orders in Portugal in 1834.

Since then, this amazing monument belongs to the Portuguese State that decided to open its doors to general public.

Are you looking for a place to stay in Batalha or nearby? Check here

  • Tickets: 6€
  • Opening hours: 9h – 18h from October to March, from 9h – 18h30 from April to September
    Closed on the 1st of January, Easter, 1st of May, 14th of August and Christmas.

Information: if you’re visiting Alcobaça and Batalha Monasteries and Convent of Christ in Tomar, then you should by the ticket “Circuito do Património Mundial” (UNESCO World Heritage Tour) for 15 euros.

7. Guimarães Castle

In the mid 10th century Mumadona Dias Countess has ordered to build a monastery. With the constant raids from the Moors, she decided to order the construction of a fortress to protect the monks and the Christian community in the surrounding area. This is how the primitive Guimarães Castle appeared.

In the 12th century Dom Henrique Count and Lady Teresa came to live their lives in Guimarães Castle and it was probably here that Dom Afonso Henriques was born.

When its defensive function was lost, the castle was abandoned and progressively deteriorated until the 20th century, when it is declared as a National Monument and so restoration works were in order.

  •  Tickets: Free entry. 1.5 € to enter the donjon.
  • Opening hours: Opened everyday from 9.30h to 18h. Closed on the following public holidays: 1st of January, Easter Sunday, 1st of May and 25th of December.

Information: while in Guimarães don’t miss the opportunity to visit its historic centre, which is UNESCO World Heritage.

How to visit the 7 Wonders of Portugal?

Are you visiting Portugal for a week?

My suggestion is that you visit Lisbon for 3 days. Among other places, you’ll have the chance to discover Belém Tower and the Hieronymites Monastery.

Your fourth day should be for you to visit the beautiful city of Sintra and Pena National Palace. To get there, take the train in Rossio train station and enjoy the views along the way to Sintra – it’s a 45-minute trip.

On your fifth day you should explore the castle and village of Óbidos and the Alcobaça and Batalha monasteries. To get there, choose one of these three options:

Train: to visit Óbidos, you have a train station located 1 km away from the historic centre. However, the nearest train station to Alcobaça and to Batalha is located +/- 10 km away. You’ll have to take a taxi from Valado train station to Alcobaça, then from Alcobaça to Batalha and from Batalha to Valado train station. If you’re coming from Lisbon, the trip will take 3 hours and will cost you around 20€ round trip per person (minus the taxi fare).

Rent a car: If you’re travelling with your friends or family (4-5 people), then my suggestion is that you rent a car or take yours if you’re living in Portugal. This will allow you to get to Óbidos and Alcobaça and Batalha monasteries in less than one hour, if you’re coming from Lisbon.

Private Tours: if you’re travelling alone or with another person then you could go on a one day private tour from your hotel in Lisbon to Óbidos and to Alcobaça and Batalha monasteries. The tour with a local guide lasts 8 hours and will cost 120€ per person. Check here if you want to know more information.

On your 6th day you can discover in Lisbon what you haven’t discovered yet or you can also take the train and visit the beautiful city of Évora.

Your 7th day is for you to relax and return home.

Are you visiting Portugal for two weks?

Start your holidays by visiting Lisbon – you can stay here for about 4 days. On the following day you should go to Sintra and the 6th day would be for you to visit the beautiful village of Óbidos and the Alcobaça and Batalha monasteries.

After having visited Lisbon and Sintra you have several options for the following days:

If you rent a car

Visit Óbidos, Alcobaça and Batalha on the 6th day.

On the 7th day go to the beautiful city of Coimbra.

On the eighth day you can visit Aveiro in the morning and in the afternoon go to Guimarães to discover the seventh Portuguese wonder, Guimarães Castle and the city’s historic centre.

The ninth day should be for you to visit Braga and then Porto. Leave your rental car and stay in Porto for 2 days.

If you’re traveling by train:

After having visited Lisboa and Sintra, take a private tour to visit Óbidos, Alcobaça and Batalha.

On your seventh day of holidays, take the train in Lisbon and go to Coimbra. On the following day continue towards Porto.

After staying in Porto for 2 days, you can go and visit Guimarães by train as well. It’s a one hour trip and it’ll cost you 3,10 euros.

On the two following days you can take the train and visit Braga and Aveiro – it’s a similar trip as the one to Guimarães.

This travel guide is for 12 days, on the 13th day you can visit what you missed in Porto or you can discover the beautiful Douro region. The last days should be for you to relax and return home.

Where can you find the 7 Wonders of Portugal?

Check here some of the places to visit in Portugal or read below one of the articles I’ve chosen for you!

Are you going to visit the 7 Wonders of Portugal? Then don’t hesitate to book your hotel room and your car by clicking the links below. This way you are helping me in the development of my blog and I’ll be able to offer you free tips and travel guides so that you can better prepare your visit to Portugal. Thank you!

Book here your Hotel  Book here your Car

What will also interest you:

About Tiago

Tiago, 27 years old, Parisian since 12, I decided to go on an adventure and make my dream come true: get to know our country from one end to the other. I believe that if we don’t know our origins we don’t truly know ourselves. Read more here