Travel Guide for Tomar Portugal: 10 Must-visit attractions in Tomar

Travel Guide for Tomar Portugal

Welcome to the ultimate travel guide for Tomar. This charming town, nestled in central Portugal, is rich in history and culture. 

Known for its Templar heritage, Tomar offers visitors a chance to explore ancient castles, stunning architecture, and picturesque landscapes. 

Whether you’re interested in history, nature, or simply relaxing, Tomar has something for everyone. Join us as we uncover the hidden gems and must-see attractions in this beautiful town. 

Get ready to experience the best of Tomar!

Uncover the history of Tomar

Tomar, founded in 1160 by the Knights Templar, boasts a fascinating history. 

The town’s centerpiece, the Convent of Christ, was constructed in 1162 and later expanded in the 16th century. In 1312, after the dissolution of the Templars, the Order of Christ was established, continuing the town’s religious significance. 

During the Age of Discoveries in the 15th and 16th centuries, Tomar played a pivotal role as a hub for explorers. 

The blend of medieval and Renaissance architecture in Tomar reflects its enduring historical importance.

Travel Guide for Tomar Portugal: 10 Must-visit attractions in Tomar 

1. Convent of Christ

The Convent of Christ is the most iconic site in Tomar. Founded by the Knights Templar in 1162, it features stunning architecture and rich history. 

Visitors can explore its intricate Manueline decorations and the famous Charola, the Templar rotunda. The convent has expanded over the centuries, showcasing Renaissance cloisters and baroque elements. It’s a symbol of Tomar’s significant religious and historical past.

2. Tomar Castle

Overlooking Tomar, the castle offers panoramic views and historical insights. Built in 1160 by the Knights Templar, it served as a stronghold and later became part of the Convent of Christ. 

The castle’s walls and towers provide a glimpse into Tomar’s medieval military architecture. 

The castle is part of the UNESCO World Heritage Site and is integral to understanding Tomar’s development over the centuries.

3. São João Batista’s Church

Located in the main square, this Gothic church is a must-see in Tomar. Its construction began in the 15th century and was completed in the early 16th century. 

The church features beautiful stained-glass windows and a striking Manueline-style bell tower. It is a central part of Tomar’s religious and architectural heritage, hosting many local events and religious ceremonies.

4. Synagogue of Tomar

The Synagogue of Tomar, one of Portugal’s oldest, is now a museum. Established in the 15th century, it showcases Jewish history and culture in Tomar. 

The small but significant museum offers a unique perspective on the town’s diverse past, with artifacts such as ancient Hebrew inscriptions and religious objects. It highlights the historical presence and influence of the Jewish community in Tomar.

5. Mata Nacional dos Sete Montes

This serene park, also known as the “Forest of Seven Hills”, is perfect for a relaxing stroll. It spans over 39 hectares and is located near the Convent of Christ. 

The park provides a natural escape within Tomar, ideal for picnics and leisurely walks. With its ancient olive trees, winding paths, and scenic viewpoints, it’s a favorite spot for both locals and tourists to enjoy nature.

6. Aqueduct of Pegões

The Aqueduct of Pegões is an impressive 16th-century structure near Tomar. It was built to supply water to the Convent of Christ. 

The aqueduct spans 6 kilometers with 180 arches, some towering up to 30 meters high.

Visitors can walk along parts of the aqueduct and enjoy scenic views of the surrounding countryside. It highlights Tomar’s engineering marvels and the ingenuity of its builders.

7. Museu dos Fósforos

This unique museum in Tomar showcases a vast collection of matchbox labels. With over 43,000 matchboxes from around the world, it offers a quirky and interesting visit. 

The museum provides a glimpse into the history and art of matchbox collecting, displaying intricate designs and themes. It’s housed in the Convent of São Francisco, adding to the historical ambiance of the visit.

8. Praça da República

Praça da República is the central square in Tomar. It is surrounded by historic buildings, including the Igreja de São João Baptista and the town hall. The square is a lively hub with cafes and shops, making it a great place to relax and enjoy the local atmosphere. It’s often the site of cultural events and markets, providing a vibrant snapshot of Tomar’s community life.

9. Nabão River

The Nabão River flows through Tomar, offering picturesque views and recreational activities. Visitors can enjoy a leisurely walk along its banks or take a boat ride. 

The river adds to the scenic charm of Tomar and is a pleasant spot for relaxation. The riverside parks and gardens are perfect for picnics, and the calm waters reflect the town’s historic architecture.

10. Chapel of Our Lady of the Conception

This small yet significant chapel in Tomar is dedicated to the Virgin Mary. Built in the 16th century, it features beautiful frescoes and a serene atmosphere. 

The chapel is located near the Convent of Christ and offers a peaceful retreat for visitors. It reflects Tomar’s religious heritage and provides insight into the town’s devotion and artistic traditions.

Festa dos Tabuleiros: a festivity you can’t miss in Tomar

The Festa dos Tabuleiros, also known as the Festival of the Trays, is one of the most significant and vibrant celebrations in Tomar Portugal. 

Held every four years, this event is steeped in tradition and features a stunning parade where women carry tall trays adorned with bread, flowers, and doves on their heads. 

The festival, with roots dating back to the 14th century, symbolizes fertility and prosperity. Streets are decorated with paper flowers and elaborate designs, and the entire town participates in the festivities, reflecting Tomar’s rich cultural heritage.

If you’d like to know more about the origin and symbolism of the Festa dos Tabuleiros in Tomar, we’ve prepared a blog post for you!


Tomar is a treasure trove of history, culture, and architectural wonders. From the majestic Convent of Christ to the vibrant Festa dos Tabuleiros, this charming town offers a rich tapestry of experiences for every traveler. 

Exploring Tomar by train allows you to delve deep into its captivating past and vibrant present, ensuring a journey filled with unforgettable memories. 

Book your tour with Tribos Tours to uncover all the hidden gems and make the most of your visit to this enchanting destination.