One of the best options to spend a weekend away from Lisbon is surely to visit Tomar. Former seat of the Knights Templar, Tomar is a city that has kept a lot of charm, because of its artistic and cultural richness. Visiting Portugal is also discovering its medium-sized but XXL heritage cities, and Tomar is definitely one of them. If you like time travel then visiting Tomar will be an unforgettable experience for you. Indeed, Tomar is full of places and places rich in history and its heritage has nothing to envy to other Portuguese cities. The best proof is the convent of Christ, one of the most important works of the Renaissance in Portugal. Located 2 hours by train from Lisbon this city is one of the most interesting to visit. There are also lot of activities, like the unforgettable Private Tour from Lisbon to discover the mysteries of the headquarters of Templar Knights. What to visit in Tomar ? How to get there ? What to do in the city of the Templars ? Lisbob, the Expatriates' Assistant in Portugal, introduces you to Tomar, the city of the Knights Templar.
How to go there ?
What to visit and see ?
What to do ?
Where to eat ?
Get a private tour of Tomar in your language : discover the Templars city !
How to go to Tomar ?
How to get to Tomar from Lisbon ?
Tomar is located 140 km north-east of Lisbon and is therefore more easily and quickly visited by car : there is about 1 hour 20 of highway taking the A1 toll road. The railway line connecting Lisbon to Tomar is a regional line (and thus rather slow) whose terminus is to Tomar itself. It's easy to visit Tomar from Lisbon. You will see below the different ways to go to visit Tomar from Lisbon, by car and by train.
The fastest way to go to Tomar from Lisbon is by car, and this will allow you to visit allow the surroundings of Tomar, the Templar city. The best is to go to the north of Lisbon and to take the highway E1 or A1.
If you want to visit Tomar from Lisbon by train it is also possible. It takes a bit more but you can watch the fantastic landscapes Central Portugal has to offer you. You can catch a train in Santa Apolonia station (or Oriente) and the train will go directly to Tomar. The Templar City is the last stop of the line so you can’t miss it.
This railway line is operated by CP (Comboios de Portugal), the national railway company of Portugal. As this line is regional, it makes many stops before arriving at its destination, which takes it in total a little more than 2 hours. The train journeys in Portugal are very cheap, a one-way ticket from Lisbon to Tomar costs only 9.95 €.
How to get to Tomar from Coimbra ?
If you spend some days in Coimbra you can take one day to go to visit Tomar. Indeed, the 2 cities are not very far one from each other and if you don’t come often in the area, you can’t miss to take some time to visit Tomar, the Templar Knight city.
By car, it only take one hour to go from Coimbra to Tomar. You just have to direct the direct road that connect the 2 cities.
If you don’t have a car and that public transports are your only option, then things are getting a bit more complicated. Indeed, there is no direct train connecting Coimbra and Tomar. You will have to go from Coimbra to Lamarosa, then to catch another train to Tomar. It will cost you about 10 €.
But one of the best option if you want to visit Tomar from Coimbra is to take a bus. You can visit the website of Rede Expressos. There is a direct bus that connects Coimbra and Tomar and it takes 2 hours. The only thing is that you will have to spend one night in the Templar City, which is not bad if you want to discover and visit Tomar at its best. It will cost about 12 € the ticket.
What to visit and see in Tomar ?
The Parque do Mouchão (Moucão Park) is a beautiful and luxuriant park situated in the center of the City of Tomar. The people from Tomar call it the Island of Mouchão, as it’s located in the middle of the Nabão River. Whether you arrive by car or by train you can’t miss the river and this park.
There is a beautiful garden and trees are free to grow everywhere, giving a special green light to this place.
It’s a place appreciated by the people living around it as it’s very quiet and offers them the possibility to spend time, alone or with family and friends. Some areas are designed for children and the kids playground will be for sure a success if you go to visit Tomar with your family. You can even enjoy the Nabão River and the old town of Tomar during the night as it’s a safe place.
When we visit Tomar we realize that the city is old. Tomar was founded in 1160 as Templar headquarters in Portugal and can still be seen among the most significant monuments of the Knights Templar in Europe: the castle. Tomar gained prominence in the 15th century, when the city became the center of Portuguese expansion under the reign of Henry the Navigator.
DISCOVER THE MYSTERIES OF THE HEADQUARTERS OF KNIGHTS TEMPLARS WITH A PRIVATE TOUR IN YOUR LANGUAGE
Tomar Castle was built around 1160 on a strategic location, above a hill and close to the Nabão River. It has a defensive outer wall and a citadel (alcáçova) with a keep inside. The dungeon, a central tower for residential and defensive purposes, was introduced in Portugal by the Templars, and that of Tomar is among the oldest in the country. Another novelty brought to Portugal by the Templars are the round towers in the outer walls, which are more resistant to attack than the square towers. When the city was founded, most of its residents lived in houses located inside the castle's protective walls. The convent was built during the Spanish reign.
Convent of the Order of the Christ
The Convent of the Order of Christ (in Portuguese: Convento de Cristo) was originally a Templar fortress built in the twelfth century. When the order of the Temple was dissolved in the fourteenth century, the Portuguese branch of the order was transformed into knights of the order of Christ, who will support the maritime discoveries of Portugal in the fifteenth century. The convent of Christ of Tomar is one of the most important historical and artistic monuments of Portugal. It has been a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 1983.
The most beautiful part of the Convent of Christ is undoubtedly the Rotunda. The round church of the castle, called the Rotunda, Romanesque style, was built during the second half of the twelfth century by the knights of the Temple. Outside, the church is a 16-sided fortified polygonal structure with solid buttresses, round windows and a bell tower. Inside, in its center, is the Rotunda, an octagonal structure connected by vaults to a gallery (ambulatory). The general form of the early church is similar to the round structures of the Omar Mosque or the Church of the Holy Sepulcher in Jerusalem.
From the outside, the rectangular nave is adorned with many Manueline-style motifs, including gargoyles, Gothic pinnacles, statues and "ropes" reminiscent of those used on boats during the era of great discoveries. It is also decorated by the cross of the order of Christ and the emblem of King Manuel I, the armillary sphere. A huge window visible from the cloister of Saint Barbara, named the window of the House of the Chapter (Janela do Capítulo), is located on the west facade of the nave. It includes most of the typical motifs of the Manueline style: symbols of the order of Christ and Manuel I, ropes, corals and plant motifs. A human figure in the middle of the window probably represents the designer, Diogo de Arruda. This window of the convent is one of the masterpieces of Manueline style decoration. The convent of Christ comprises a total of eight cloisters, built between the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries. All styles are mixed with Gothic, Manueline, reborn neoclassical.
The aqueduct of Pegões (Portuguese: aqueduto dos Pegões) or aqueduct of the Convent of Christ (aqueduct of Convento de Cristo) was built for the water supply of the convent of the Order of Christ (Convento de Cristo) in Tomar, Portugal, inscribed since 1983 on the UNESCO World Heritage List. The construction of the aqueduct, begun in 1593, under the reign of Philip I of Portugal, under the direction of Philip Terzio, architect of the king, was completed in 1614 by Pedro de Fernando Torres. If you take the decision to visit Tomar you have to go through the aqueduct.
In its aerial part, the aqueduct, about 6 km long, has 58 semicircular arches, supported by a 16-arch arches, all connected by masonry pillars. forming two large aqueduct bridges, including one at two levels, more than 30 m high. At the ends stand two buildings covered with a dome, each housing a settling basin.
Synagogue of Tomar
The Synagogue of Tomar is a synagogue located in the historical center of the city of Tomar in Portugal. It is the best preserved medieval synagogue in the country and currently houses a Jewish museum. The synagogue of Tomar was built in the mid-fifteenth century in the Jewish quarter of the city. In 1985, excavations in an adjacent building revealed the remains of a mikvah (ritual bath).
With the expulsion and forced conversions of Portuguese Jews in 1496, the synagogue served as a prison, church and later as a warehouse. In 1921 the building is declared a historical monument. In the 1930s, the owner, a Polish intellectual, restored the building and donated it to the Portuguese government on condition that it be turned into a museum.
Since 1939, the synagogue houses the Jewish Museum Abraham Zacuto named after a famous scientist of the time. There are several medieval gravestones from across the country. Among his best pieces is a plaque from the old Lisbon synagogue dating back to 1308.
Yes, Tomar is also known for having the largest collection of matches in Europe ! Located a few steps from the station, nearly 43,000 pieces with different designs, colors and formats, patiently collected since the early 1950's by its excellent Senhor Aguiles Mota Lima. To visit Tomar is also to impregnate local peculiarities !
The museum has 7 rooms and a collection if not interesting as the collections of some museums, at least fascinating and really enjoyable to discover. The curator of the museum is happy to tell the story of her museum in a very good English. The visit is free or free and the place is totally wheelchair accessible.
What to do in Tomar ?
Tomar is a small city but is full of activities. Whether you are alone, with friends or with your family there are plenty things to do in Tomar. Of course, the best to discover and Visit Tomar is to book a private tour.
Hotel pick-up and drop off in Lisbon
Transportation by air-conditioned vehicle
Personal and accident insurance
Free Wi-Fi on board
Entrance ticket (Caves and Castle of Almourol)
The tour lasts 8 hours when you will discover the hidden mysteries of the headquarters of the Knights Templars in Portugal. After lunch in Medieval Tavern, you will visit another great Castle.
You can also choose one of these fantastic activities in Tomar :
Where to eat in Tomar ?
This restaurant has one of the most famous piri-piri chicken of all Portugal. Indeed, this place serves spicy chicken since decades, everybody who has tasted this chicken says that it’s one of the best they ever had. There is also an option for vegetarian.
Address : Rua dos Moinhos nº54
Facebook page : https://www.facebook.com/restaurantepiripiri.tomar/
Restaurante O Tabuleiro
After a good day of walking in the Templars City, having a good dinner is something fantastic. O Tabuleiro is one of the best restaurant you will find in Tomar. The decoration is very simple but the food is very good.
Address : R. Serpa Pinto
Where to sleep in Tomar ?
Tomar has a short range of places to sleep, but everyone will find something that fits its budget. From youth hostel to very nice appart’hotel, there are many options when it comes to where to sleep in Tomar.
Here is a map will all places to sleep in Tomar :
This hostel is located in the center of Tomar. Beside the comfortable rooms, the Hostel has several common areas to make your stay even more enjoyable (kitchen, lounge, dining room, patio, reading area, Internet zone). You can go to visit the Castle, the Convent or even the Aqueduc by walk. This hostel also offers double room.
Address : R. Serpa Pinto 43
Overlooking the Nabão River, this luxurious hotel is a 7-minute walk from São João Baptista Church and a 13-minute walk from the richly decorated convent of the Order of Christ.
Address : Largo Cândido dos Reis 1