I stopped in the town of Alcobaca because I had heard of the beauty and size of its monastery.
Alcobaca is about 100 km north of Portugal.The first King of Portugal, Afonso Henriques, built a monastery there in thanksgiving to Our Lady when he won a battle over the Moors.
The Mosteiro de Santa Maria de Alcobaca is a huge stunning medieval monastery that was begun in 1178 and was consecrated in 1252. It is one of the most important medieval monasteries in Portugal. In 1989, it was listed by UNESCO as a World Heritage Site.
This huge site has a church with several ornate tombs of Kings and Queens, among them the ill-fated King Pedro I and his mistress, Ines de Castro. The nave of the church is tall and imposing. The Cloister of Silence was ordered by King Dinis in the late 13th century. The library is one of the largest medieval libraries in Portugal. The ornate golden Baroque Reliquary is a peaceful stunning space.
The huge refectory was the site of meals daily and the kitchen which is covered in Portuguese tiles has a central chimney for cooking and a basin where the river water ran through and the cooks caught fish for dinner.
I spent a couple of hours in the Alcobaca Monastery, church, cloisters, kitchens, and royal tomb sites.
This is a fantastic site that I highly recommend. The Alcobaca monastery is a must-see in Portugal.