Travel in time to discover the secrets of the Knights Templar visiting Tomar, a charming town in Central Portugal famous for being the headquarter of the legendary chivalric order.
This is the main reason that attract tourists to Tomar, although it is a lovely town per se with an old center that can be easily explored on foot, a riverside park where to enjoy some relax, and the beautiful natural scenario of Mata Nacional dos Sete Montes on the background.
However, we can’t blame tourists who come here only to see the historical siege of the Templars: the Convent of Christ is a beautiful mix of Gothic, Manueline, and Renaissance architectural elements.
Among castles, squares, and parks, these are the must-see attractions in Tomar!
Whether it is the main reason to come to Tomar or not, you can’t miss a visit to the Templar Castle, the headquarter of the order of the knights; a convent built on a hill above the city and surrounded by a city wall.
It is a unique establishment, with several chapels, cloisters, and choirs that melt Gothic, Manueline, and Renaissance decorative elements.
The showpiece of the complex is the extraordinary Charola, the original Romanic church built to reproduce the Church of the Holy Sepulchre in Jerusalem. The interior blends the simplicity of the lines and the richness of its decors; its circular shape allowed nobles to attend the liturgical celebrations while sitting on their horse.
Do not miss the upper Choir, a great example of Manueline style as well as the window on the west side of the church, which is also in Manueline style and aims at celebrating the great maritime discoveries of Portugal.
In depth: who are the Templars?
The Templar knights are a Catholic, militar order from the Middle Age, whose origins are connected to the first crusades against the Moors. Halfway between monks and soldiers, the Templars did their best to assure peace and safety to the European pilgrims visiting Jerusalem for religious purposes.
During the passing of the centuries their wealth and fame increased, while their double religious-secular nature remained controversial. The order was disbanded in 1300 by Pope Clement V.
After visiting Carmo Convent, walk down towards the city center; you can choose whether you want to cross a park or walk down the street. If you choose the second option, make a short break to visit the chapel of Ermida de Nossa Senhora da Conceição.
Once you have reached the center pay attention to the urban planning of the city: the original nucleus has the shape of a cross oriented towards the cardinal points; on each side of the cross there is a different convent.
The main square of Tomar is Praça da República; from here you can stroll around the streets of the city center, maybe looking for an old pastry shop where to eat some traditional sweets such as pumpkin and almond sweets, as well as the Fatias de Tomar. After your walk enjoy some fresh air at the Parque do Mouchão, where you can observe a perfectly preserved water mill.
If you have rented a car, you can explore the surroundings of Tomar to learn more about the Templars or to enjoy some relax on the shores of the largest artificial lake of Portugal.
Many one day tours from Lisbon or templar-themed tours include a stop in Tomar. Joining a guided tour is the best solution if you want to visit Tomar without renting a car.
Tomar is a popular destination for a day trip, and there are very few travellers who choose to stay for the night although the city offers a good choice of accommodations, from cheap hostels to luxury hotels. Spend a night in Tomar to experience its magical medieval atmosphere when all the tourists have left and the city is lighten up.
To experience an unforgettable night we recommend Hotel Dos Templarios, a 4 stars hotel featuring an outside pool surrounded by blooming gardens and boulevards shaded by palm trees. All rooms are comfortable and feature a balcony overlooking the river.
If you are traveling on a budget, the best choice for low cost travellers is Hostel 2300 Thomar. A clean and comfortable accommodation with traditional Portuguese decorations.
Tomar is located about 140 km from Lisbon; it can be reached in one hour and a half by renting a car.
It is also possible to reach Tomar by train; travel time changes according to the train; however, it takes no less than two hours to reach Tomar by train from Lisbon.
What's the weather at Tomar? Below are the temperatures and the weather forecast at Tomar for the next few days.