(Last Updated On: January 18, 2023)
Drone Image of Convento de Cristo and Tomar Castle in Portugal
Drone Image of Convento de Cristo and Tomar Castle in Portugal

About Tomar, Portugal

The charming small town of Tomar, Portugal, famous for its Knights Templar past, Tomar Castle and the Convento de Cristo, is located in Central Portugal, just 90 minutes northeast of Lisbon or two hours southeast of Oporto. It was founded in the 12th century by the Knights Templar on land granted by the first king of Portugal, King Afonso Henriques. Tomar was the last ever Templar town to be commissioned.

The transformed Order of Christ eventually took over Tomar Castle and Convento de Cristo from the Knights Templar, and Tomar, under the rule of Henry the Navigator became the city where the many Portuguese voyages in the Age of Discovery were organized. But enough of the history, what are the best things to see and do in Tomar.

Inside Tomar Castle
Inside Tomar Castle

Tomar Castle

Tomar Castle was built by the Knights Templar in the middle of the 12th century, in a strategic hill-top position overlooking the River Nabão. It’s an excellent example of Templar architecture and now a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

It’s free to enter and wander around the grounds of Tomar Castle. Within the castle grounds, you’ll find the renowned Convento de Cristo.

Convento de Cristo (The Convent of Christ)
Convento de Cristo (The Convent of Christ)

Convento de Cristo (The Convent of Christ) in Tomar, Portugal

No trip to Tomar, Portugal would be complete without a visit to the Convento de Cristo. It’s a short but steep walk uphill from the old city, although it is possible to drive up to the top or take one of the tuk-tuk tours from the main square in the old town.

The convent is an astonishing mix of architectural styles – Gothic, Moorish, Manueline. Be sure not to miss the incredible Manueline ‘Janela’ or window.

Entrance Fees to Convento de Cristo

Adults €6 Children under 12 Free

Opening Hours

09:00 to 18:30 June to September and from 09:00 to 17:30 October to May

Old Town Tomar, Portugal
Old Town Tomar, Portugal

Old Town Tomar, Portugal

The narrow cobbled streets of the old town are filled with cafes, family-run restaurants, and cute shops. We found a lovely local restaurant and tucked into a huge bowl of Arroz de Tamboril (monkfish rice) for just five euros each.

The tourist office in Tomar provides a self-guided walking map to assist you with exploring the town and riverside park.

Clock Tower on Igreja de São João Batista

Clock Tower on Clock Tower on Igreja de São João Batista

Igreja de São João Batista

This 15th-century church lies in the heart of the old town in the main square and is also an excellent example of Manueline architecture which was introduced to Portugal around this time. It has a really cool clock that once belonged up in the castle.

The church is free to enter and open to visitors daily from 08.00 to 19.00 throughout the year.

Practicing for Festa dos Tabuleiros (Festival of Trays) in Tomar
Practicing for Festa dos Tabuleiros (Festival of Trays) in Tomar

Praça da República

The main square, the Praça da República is located just in front of the church. Here you will get a great view of Tomar Castle up on the hill. The square has many coffee shops, a beautiful 16th century Town Hall and a statue of Gualdim Pais, a Templar Knight and founder of Tomar.

It is in this square that the Festa dos Tabuleiros (Festival of Trays) is held. The festival is one of the most important festivals in Portugal and takes place every four years. The next time will be this year in July, but we were fortunate to witness a mini-rehearsal, while we were in Tomar. The tabuleiro is made of 30 pieces of bread and decorated with flowers and carried on the head. This festival dates back to the 1200’s.

Praça da República in Tomar, Portugal
Praça da República in Tomar, Portugal

Aqueduto dos Pegões

Just a short drive from Tomar is an impressive looking aqueduct. This six-kilometer aqueduct was built by the Convent of the Order of Christ in the early 16th century to bring water from the springs in Pegões.

If you’re brave enough, we weren’t, you can walk along the aqueduct at the top.

Drone Image of the Aqueduct near Tomar, Portugal
Drone View of Aqueduto dos Pegões near Tomar, Portugal

Castle of Almourol

Just a half hour drive from the city of Tomar, Portugal is the Castle of Almourol. The Castle of Almourol is considered to be the most beautiful castle of Portugal. It’s positioned on a small island in the middle of the River Tagus.

There is evidence that the original fort here was Roman, but the Knights Templar of Portugal rebuilt the castle and made it their own during the 12th century. The main door of the castle shows the date 1171.

When the Knights Templar were no longer in power, the castle was abandoned and left to fall into ruins, but was restored during the 19th century.

Entrance Fees to Castle of Almourol

The entrance is free but you have to pay €2,50 for a boat ride to the entrance. Parking is free.

Opening Hours to Castle of Almourol

Castle of Almourol is Open daily.

From November to February 10:00-13:00 and 14:30- 17:00

From March to October 10:00- 13:00 and 14:30 – 19:00

Note for photographers: the castle is located close to a military base so cannot use drone cameras.

Castle of Almourol Near Tomar, Portugal
Castle of Almourol

How to get to Tomar, Portugal

By car – Tomar, Portugal is just 135 kilometers from Lisbon or 190 kilometers from Oporto.

By train – Tomar’s train station is located close to the old town. Direct trains leave from Lisbon Santa Apolonia and Lisbon Oriente stations and take around two hours. Coming from Oporto, Coimbra or Aveiro, you would need to change train at Lamorosa or Entronacamento.

By bus – check here for bus schedules and prices.

By tour from Lisbon – This highly rated day trip from Lisbon to Tomar, also includes a side trip to the Castle of Almourol.

Tomar is quite a small city, so once there, it’s easy to see most of the major sites on foot.

If you are walking the Camino Portugues, just follow the yellow arrows from Lisbon.

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Queluz National Palace And Gardens (Palacio de Queluz)

Tomar, Portugal the Convento de Cristo and Tomar Castle

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Drive Through the Algarve from Alte to Vila Nova de Milfontes

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What To Do With One Day In Lisbon

Visit to Viseu 

Portuguese Food 

Golega National Horse Fair 

Nazare For The Surf And Giant Waves 

Berlenga Islands

Batalha Monastery


Iberian Wolf Sanctuary 


Visit to Aveiro, Agueda, Costa Nova and Barra Portugal


Terceira Island, The Azores

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