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The Santarém region is known for the Tagus lezirias, vast plains flooded by the river, with extremely fertile land for agriculture. Place of production of wine, oil, cereals and fruits, where we can see herds of cattle and horses grazing. The city of Santarém was founded in 1868, is the capital of Ribatejo and the district of Santarém, located in the Alentejo region, and Lezíria do Tejo sub-region, on the right bank of the Tagus river. Santarém is a place of popular Portuguese traditions of fandango dance, and bullfighting art with campinos (peasant knights), bulls and horses. Santarém is the capital of Gothic style architecture, and the land of freedom, from where the military departed in the early hours of April 25, 1974 to overthrow the old Portuguese dictatorial regime. Santarém is the religious center, the district of Portugal where we find the sanctuary of Nossa Senhora de Fátima.
The district of Santarém is divided into three areas:
1. The Neighborhood or “Ribatejo Norte”: located on the right bank of the Tagus River. The neighborhood covers the municipalities of Vila Franca, Rio Maior, Torres Novas and Tomar. The landscape of this region is marked by the agricultural production of olive, wine, corn and wheat.
2. A Charneca or “Ribatejo Sul”: located on the left bank of the Tagus River. Charneca includes the municipalities of Benavente, Salvaterra de Magos, Almeirim, Alpiarça, Chamusca, Golegã and Coruche. In this region, cereals, wine and rice are cultivated. A characteristic of the landscape in this area is the existence of vast plains with eucalyptus, pine and cork oak forests – this is where cork is extracted.
3. Lezíria or “Terras da Borda d’Agua: is the most fertile area of Ribatejo and one of the most fertile in Europe. Lezíria corresponds geographically to the municipalities of Almeirim, Alpiarça, Azambuja, Benavente, Cartaxo, Chamusca, Coruche, Golegã, Rio Maior, Salvaterra de Magos and Santarém. It has an area of approximately 20 thousand hectares and the largest area of cork oak forest in the whole country. Lezíria has varied and extensive agricultural productions: horticultural, fruit, cereals, rice fields, pine forests, olive groves, vineyards.
Places to visit in the city of Santarém
1. The city of Santarém
Santarém is organized in three distinct areas:
- Santarém Historic Center: with emphasis on the streets decorated with Portuguese cobblestone, limited by historic buildings, the entire area of the historic center must be covered on foot. Surrounding the historic center we find the Liberdade garden, the court building, the Santarém market, the church of Nossa Senhora da Piedade, and the garden of the Republic. One of the entrances to the historic area is through the Sá da Bandeira square, in front of the Santarém seminary, a square where we find the statue of Sá da Bandeira, surrounded by cafés with a terrace. Continuing along Rua Serpa Pinto, we find local shops, spread over an area of narrow streets, with crossings, squares and historic buildings flanking the traditional stone streets with Portuguese cobblestones.
- Alfange: is the area located on the coast of the Tagus river south of the Dom Luís I bridge, a former place of intense fishing, commercial and industrial activity until the 14th century. Alfange de Santarém has been recovered by the Al-Margem project.
- Ribeira de Santarém: is the area of the city located on the coast of the Tagus river north of the Dom Luís I bridge. The name “Santarém” originates from this place, because “Santa Iria” is buried here or “Irene” (7th-8th century). The area of Ribeira de Santarém grew between the 12th and 14th centuries due to the trade that arrived from Lisbon by the Tagus River. Ribeira started to lose importance in 1861, the year the train arrived in the city. This part of the city is particularly known for the large number of restaurants and the artisanal fishing boats. Ribeira de Santarém has a heritage worth visiting, namely the D Luís bridge, opened in 1881, a spectacular bridge over the landscape of the Tagus lezírias, the Oliveira Marreca square, the Chapel of Nossa Senhora das Neves, the Old Hospital of Santa Iria , the Church of Santa Iria, the Alcorce bridge, the Church of Santa Cruz, the train station, the Palhais fountain and the Ribeira de Santarém Ethnographic Museum.
2. Jardim das Portas do Sol
Portas do Sol Garden: it is a garden located within the walls of the old Santarém Castle, at the end of the historic city, at a high point over the Tagus River, with a breathtaking view over the Dom Luís bridge I, the Tagus River, and the Tagus Lezírias. It is one of the most appreciated places to visit in Santarém. From Castelo de Santarém, an ancient mountain castle from the 17th century, with only a few sections of the old walls remaining and the Torre das Cabaças, the clock tower of the castle built in the 15th century, from the first clock towers from Portugal. At the end of the 20th century, the Tower was transformed into a museum, Núcleo Museológico do Tempo, whose collections are organized on the 1st floor with the Sala dos Pesos, which shows the visitor the time when time was measured from the observation of the stars; on the floor 2 where we find the “Sala da Máquina”, which transports tourists to the Industrial Revolution and the appearance of the mechanical clock; and the floor 3 that integrates the “Observation Room”, taking us to the top of the tower, where we can know the weather throughout the city of Santarém.
3. Casa dos Patudos
Casa dos Patudos is a museum house located in a palace in Alpiarça 10 km from Santarém, a legacy left by José de Mascarenhas Relvas to the municipality of Alpiarça to be transformed into a museum. The house was built in 1906 at the behest of José Relvas, who left his assets as a testament. Casa dos Patudos has a collection of works dated from the end of the Middle Ages to the beginning of the 20th century, with works of architecture, painting, sculpture and other arts, in addition to furniture, textiles and porcelain. Among one of the most well-known pieces, there is a painting by Rembrandt. Casa dos Patudos is classified as a Property of Public Interest.
4. Graça Church
Church of Santa Maria da Graça: or Church of Santo Agostinho is an old male convent, with Gothic architecture from the 14th century. The façade is imposing, with a rose carved in a single stone, highlighted above the entrance decorated with two arches of kerosene. Inside the church we can visit a set of mausoleums and emblazoned sepulchral slabs, where ancestral elements of the Portuguese nobility are buried. The Graça Church is located in the historic center of Santarém, in front of Largo Pedro Álvares Cabral, where we find the statue of Pedro Álvares Cabral. The building of the church of Santa Maria da Graça has been classified as a National Monument since 1910.
5. Church of Santa Maria de Marvila
Church of Santa Maria de Marvila: it is a 16th century church located in Largo de Marvila, in the heart of the historic center of Santarém. The main attractions of the Church of Marvila are the interior decorated with more than 65 thousand tiles, the chancel and the imposing Gothic portal at the entrance of the church.
6. Rainha D. Amélia Bridge
Rainha D. Amélia Bridge: it is a 1904 railway bridge with 840 meters, built in iron structure, converted for road use in 2001 with only one carriageway, and two pedestrian passages from which we can enjoy the view over the Tagus River.
7. Ponte D. Luís I
Ponte D. Luís I: known as the “Ponte de Santarém”, it is a metal bridge that crosses the Tagus River on the National Road 114, connecting Santarém to Almeirim. Inaugurated in 1881, it was considered at the time as one of the examples of iron architecture. This bridge is part of the postal scene that we see from the Jardim das Portas do Sol
8. Tower of Cabaças
Torre das Cabaças: is a 15th century clock tower with 8 windows, classified as a National Monument, known as the Clock Tower. The name “(Cabaças) Gourds” originates in the 18th century, when 8 stone gourds were placed on top of the tower, which the people classified as representing the heads of their municipal councilors.
9. Diocesan Museum of Santarém
Diocesan Museum of Santarém: it is a sacred art museum much appreciated by visitors, located in the Sé Catedral de Santarém, named Nossa Senhora da Conceição church, created with the aim of preserving works of art in the district from Santarém.
10. Church of Nossa Senhora da Piedade
Church of Nossa Senhora da Piedade: it is a 17th century church, with a Mannerist style of ground style, with Baroque influence. The church is located in the historic center of Santarém, on the site of the old port of the city of Santarém.
Other attractions in the Santarém region
Sanctuary of Our Lady of Fatima
Sanctuary of Nossa Senhora de Fátima: it is one of the most important religious tourism destinations in the world, located 59 km from the city of Santarém, and 26 km from the city of Leiria. The Sanctuary of Fátima is made up of the Sanctuary square, the Basilica of Nossa Senhora do Rosário, a baroque style basilica 70 meters high, the Capela das Aparições (place where we can glimpse the pedestal on which the original sculpture of Nossa Senhora de Fátima is located, which marks the place where there was a small holm oak on which it is believed that the Blessed Virgin Mary appeared to the three little shepherds), and the Basilica of the Most Holy Trinity, a very large church dedicated to the Holy Trinity, with 8633 seats. The sanctuary of Fátima was the scene of the greatest religious events of the Christian church, known as the miracle of Fatima, composed of the apparitions of the Angel of Peace and of Our Lady of Fatima.
Valinhos in Fátima
Valinhos em Fátima: it is a religious destination, composed of the land that the three shepherds of Fátima traversed from their homes in Aljustrel to Cova da Iria for the grazing of their flocks, where two of the apparitions of the Angel of Peace took place in 1916. Currently we can travel the route of the Via Sacra to the Hungarian Calvary, where we find the sculptures of the Angel of Portugal Loca do Cabeço (Angel of Peace) and the various stations of the Way of the Cross.
House of Lucia
Casa de Lúcia, is a museum house in the parish of Aljustrel. It is the place where Sister Lúcia (one of the 3 little shepherds who witnessed the miracle of Fatima) lived until she was fourteen and where she was interrogated for the first time. Casa de Lúcia was offered by Lúcia herself in 1981 to the Sanctuary of Fátima. It recreates the daily life of the family. The main highlight is the Poço do Arneiro, which is at the back of the house, where the Angel appeared for the second time, and where Lucia saw one of the popes crying in a large house. The museum house is located a short distance from the sanctuary of Fátima, however there is a tourist train that runs between the sanctuary and the museum house.
House of Francisco and Jacinta Marto
Casa de Francisco e Jacinta Marto: also known as the Casa dos Pastorinhos, it is a museum-house located in Aljustrel close to Lúcia’s house, Fátima. It is a very simple house that demonstrates the humble way in which the little shepherds lived their lives.
Convento de Cristo (Tomar)
Convento de Cristo: it is a set of monuments classified as a National Monument and a World Heritage Site by UNESCO, built from 1160 for the Order of the Templars, having been extended until the 18th century with various styles architectural, namely Romanesque, Gothic, Manueline, Renaissance and Mannerism. The Convento de Cristo is located at the western top of the city of Tomar, comprising the Castelo Templário de Tomar, the convent of the Order of Christ of the Renaissance period, the conventual fence (Mata dos Sete Montes), the Ermida da Immaculada Conceição, and the conventual aqueduct (Aqueduto dos Pegões). The Convento de Cristo is among the most appreciated attractions in Portugal.
City of Tomar
Tomar: it is a historic city linked to the Order of the Templars since 1159. It was in this year that this religious order received Tomar as a reward for the help offered to D Afonso Henriques in the Christian Reconquest. The castle of Tomar and the convent of Christ are a UNESCO World Heritage Site. In Tomar, we highlight the Synagogue, Mata dos Sete Montes and Church of Santa Maria do Olival. Tomar holds the Festa dos Tabuleiros every year. The gastronomy of Tomar includes dishes such as cabbages à Prior, the tripe da Junceira, sweet chestnuts, almond cheeses, slices of Tomar, “bed cakes” and “kiss me quickly”.
Mira de Aire Caves
Mira de Aire Caves: they are the largest caves in Portugal, discovered only in 1947, and are currently classified as one of the 7 Natural Wonders of Portugal. They are limestone caves formed over 150 million years ago. They are located in Mira de Aire, in the municipality of Porto de Mós, in the eastern part of the Serras de Aire e Candeeiros natural park, between Leiria and Santarém. The Mira de Aire Caves are open to the public, exploited for tourism to ensure their preservation and the safety of visitors. In the Mira de Aire Caves complex there are accommodation services, a restaurant, a water park, an exhibition of geological themes, and nature surroundings. We can visit 600 meters of caves in approximately one hour, a total of 11 kilometers long and 110 meters deep. The temperature inside the caves is 17ºc, artificially lit to ensure the safety of visitors. The descent is carried out by stairs, and the ascent to the surface is carried out by elevator. In the Mira de Aire Caves we can see several galleries with ancient stalactites and stalagmites.
Natural Park of Serras de Aire and Candeeiros
Serras de Aire e Candeeiros Natural Park: it is a natural park with an approximate extension of 39 thousand hectares, protected area since 1979, with limestone rock landscape and the largest underground freshwater reservoir in Portugal, fed by water from the rain in the form of underground streams, in an extension from Rio Maior to Porto de Mós, where we find more than fifteen hundred caves, algares (vertical caves dug in the limestone rock naturally by the erosion of the waters), fields of lapiás (karst reliefs, a type of geological relief characterized by the dissolution of the rock), dolines (some with lagoons), uvalas and the Polje de Minde. In other words, rocks worked by erosion, creating caves, caves, lakes and other places of great spectacularity. In the Natural Park of Serras de Aire e Candeeiros we find the caves or caves of Mira de Aire a well-known geological attraction in Portugal, and the springs of Olhos de Água do Alviela, responsible for supplying water to Lisbon since 1880. The Serras de Aire e Candeeiros Natural Park is also a place for bird watching, bats, rare mammals, reptiles, amphibians, insects, with more than 300 species of butterflies and other species. Here we also find the Natural Monument of the Dinosaur Footprints of Serra de Aire, an area of approximately 20 hectares classified as a Natural Monument discovered in 1994, with traces of sauropods (one of the two large groups of dinosaurs with large bodies, with a long neck that ended in a small head, and a very long tail) 20 of the largest, oldest and clearest trails known, with an age of 175 million years.
The Park includes the municipalities of Alcobaça, Porto de Mós, Alcanena, Rio Maior, Santarém, Torres Novas and Ourém. The main attractions of the Serras de Aire e Candeeiro Natural Park are the village of Barrenta, the Alviela Science Center, the Gruta da Pena Underground Interpretation Center, Center of Interpretation of the Springs of Alviela, the Grotto of the Moinhos Velhos, the Dinosaur Footprints with 175 million years, and the Mira D’Aire Caves, and the Grotto do Almonda Underground Interpretation Center ** composed of several underground streams over 15 km originating at the source of the Almonda River, with the most extensive karst network currently known in Portugal, and the existence of deposits dated from the Lower Paleolithic to to Roman times.
Ecopista of Porto de Mós
Ecopista de Porto de Mós: is an ecopista located to the north of the Serras de Aire e Candeeiros Natural Park with an approximate length of 12 km between the Minas da Bezerra and Porto de Mós. The ecopista was adapted from the old train line that connected the mines and Porto de Mós. Currently, it is a popular route for sportspeople to run, hike and cycle along a path surrounded by nature, history and fantastic landscapes.
Moeda Caves: located in São Mamede, approximately five minutes by car from Fátima. The Moeda Caves were discovered accidentally in 1971 by two hunters who were chasing a fox. The temperature of the caves reaches 18 degrees and has a depth of 45 meters. The main highlights are the Lago da Felicidade, the Sala do Presépio, the Pastor, the Cascata, the Red Dome, the Maritime , the Capela Imperfeita, the Abóboda Vermelha, the Fonte das Lágrimas, the Center for Scientific-Environmental Interpretation.
Alvados Caves: caves with more than 50 000 years of age located in the heart of the Serras de Aire e Candeeiros Natural Park. Inside, the caves have a total elevation of 100 meters that run through several chambers decorated with stalagmites and stalactites, at a constant average temperature of 17º.
Centro Ciência Viva de Constância
Centro Ciência Viva de Constância: it is the Constância center of the National Agency for Scientific and Technological Culture. The Ciência Viva Center of Constância is located in Alto de Santa Bárbara, outside the areas of light pollution, from where we have an excellent panoramic view. It is dedicated to Astronomy, in an area of 10,000 m2 with a planetarium, a heliophysics laboratory, a multimedia auditorium, an open-air amphitheater and five domes of astronomical observation. A movable dome installed on the terrace of the main building is equipped with a 10 ° catadioptric telescope, type Schmidt Cassegrain. At the Science Center there are several exterior modules representing the solar system, a carousel representing the Sun, Earth and Moon, a terrestrial globe, a celestial sphere and an analemmatic sundial.
Castle of Almourol
Castelo de Almourol: it is a castle classified as National Monument, located on an island in the Tagus River, being one of the most known and emblematic castles of the Templars in Portugal. The Castle of Almourol is dated from the 12th century, built in a place that would have previously been occupied by the Alanos, Visigoths and Muslims from the 3rd to the 8th centuries. From the top of the walls we can have a panoramic view over the Tagus river and the green nature. River kayaking is one of the most radical ways to visit the Castle surroundings, much appreciated during the hot summer months!
Vila Nova de Barquinha
Vila Nova de Barquinha: it is a town located in the lezíria by the Tagus river. The main attractions of Vila Nova de Barquinha are the castle of Almourol, the Parque de Barquinha by the river, a place where the inhabitants stroll and practice sports, including canoeing on the Tagus River, the Igreja Matriz da Atalaia, the Chapel of Nossa Senhora dos Remédios, the Chapel of Roque Amador and the Plaza de Toiros. The party that attracts the most visitors to this location is the Grande Feira de Vila Nova de Barquinha, which includes bullfights.
Natural Salinas of Rio Maior
Natural Salinas of Rio Maior: also known as Salinas da Fonte da Bica, are salt marshes located 30 km from the ocean, dating from 1177 and classified as Public Interest Buildings, the only salt marshes in Portugal where yolk salt is still produced. According to anthropological studies, it is believed that the collection of rock salt dates back to prehistoric times. According to technical studies, the saline is crossed by an underground stream that feeds a well, giving rise to salt water, seven times more salty than sea water. The salt flats are surrounded by vineyards and agricultural land, which transforms the surroundings into a magnificent landscape.
Parque do Mouchão: is a park located on a small island on the Nabão River, in the city of Tomar. It is a green spot ideal for relaxing in the city center surrounded by the river. Parque do Mouchão is connected to the two sides of the city by four pedestrian bridges, among them the Ponte Velha, or Ponte de Dom Manuel, a century-old bridge built taking advantage of a former Roman bridge. In the center of the park we can see the wheel of the Park o Mouchão, a water mill built in wood working with the river water.
Pia do Urso Sensory Ecopark
Pia do Urso Sensory Ecopark: is a village with stone houses located in Serra de Aire and Candeeiros, very popular with nature lovers and outdoor walks. In this village there is an ecopark adapted for the blind public, with sensory routes. At the Pia do Urso Sensory Ecopark we can get to know some stories of the region, have picnics, walks and enjoy nature. The legend of the village of Pia dos Ursos says that in the past, bears came to this place to drink water from natural rock sinks.
Castelo de Ourém
Castelo de Ourém: also known as Paço dos Condes de Ourém, it is a 12th century Romantic style castle located over the medieval town of Ourém and the Seiça river. Near the Castle of Ourém we find the Church of the Collegiate Church of Nossa Senhora da Misericórdia, a Baroque church founded by D. Afonso Henriques, remodeled and expanded in 1445 by Count D. Afonso, destroyed by the 1755 earthquake, and rebuilt between 1758 and 1766.
Castelo de Abrantes: also known as Fortaleza de Abrantes, is a medieval castle from the 12th century with an initially romantic style, and Gothic style originating from a 13th century remodeling, built in stone masonry, located at source of the city of Abrantes, in a dominant position on the right bank of the Tagus River. From the castle garden we can enjoy a panoramic view, and from the walls we have a fantastic view over the city Ourém. Inside the walls we find the Church of Santa Maria do Castelo of Gothic style, converted into a historical museum, with a collection of collections of Roman sculpture, tomb sculpture from the 15th and 16th centuries, panels of Sevillian tiles and other works of art.
National Railway Museum
National Railway Museum: it is a museum with a collection consisting of 36000 objects related to antique railway, namely equipment, clothing, tools, wagons, and old steam, diesel, electric locomotives, with models representative of the Portuguese Royal Train and of the Presidential Train. Here we can learn about the history of the railway in Portugal, Europe and the world, with a permanent exhibition and several temporary exhibitions. The National Railway Museum is located in the Entroncamento Railway Complex. The Santarém Train Station was opened in 1861, having operated between 1870 and 1925. The building features panels of tiles from the 19th century that depict the traditions and history of Ribatejo. The Museum is installed in one of the buildings of the station and its main attractions are the locomotives of Salão do Príncipe and Salão D Maria Pia.
Church of Santa Maria dos Olivais
Church of Santa Maria dos Olivais: it is a 12th century Gothic style church classified as a National Monument, located in the city of Tomar. The Church of Santa Maria dos Olivais was founded by the Templar master Gualdino Pais on the site where there was a 7th century monastery of the Benedict Order. It was former headquarters of the Order of the Templars, was the mother church of all the churches in the territories discovered in Asia, Africa and America, and served as a pantheon for the masters of the Order of the Templars. The church of Santa Maria dos Olivais is located in the ancient Roman city of Sélio.
Church of São João Batista (Tomar)
Igreja de São João Batista: it is a 15th century church classified as a National Monument, located in the city of Tomar, in the center where Festa dos Tabuleiros, a pagan festival held in July every four years years old. Inside the church we can appreciate paintings from the 16th century that include a Last Supper by Gregório Lopes.
Museum of Prehistoric and Sacred Art in the Tagus Valley
Museum of Prehistoric and Sacred Art in the Tagus Valley: it is a museum located in Mação, responsible for guided tours to the Rock engravings of the Vale do Ocreza dating from the Paleolithic, located on the banks of the Ocreza River , from the Pracana dam to Barca da Amieira, around the A23 viaduct, the engravings are found in the last 4 of 14 kilometers
Fátima Wax Museum
Museu de Cera de Fátima: it is a museum where it exhibits, through dolls and very realistic wax scenes, the representation of the history of the little shepherds of Fátima, the most important historical events related to the apparitions of Our Lady and the angel of Portugal.
Aqueduct of Pegões
Pegões Aqueduct: it is a 1614 aqueduct with approximately 6 km in length, a maximum height of 30 meters, composed of 16 pointed arches, topped by 58 round arches, classified as a National Monument. The Pegões Aqueduct was built with the purpose of supplying water to the Convento de Cristo in Tomar. Currently, we can visit and travel the aqueduct in a 1 km extension under our responsibility, since there are no lateral protections.
Santa Margarida Environmental Park
Santa Margarida Environmental Park: it is a natural park located near the village of Constância, with environmental education programs, where we can visit the Garden of Aromatic and Medicinal Plants, explore the circuits of environmental interpretation, go up to the Observation Tower and learn about topics related to the environment. At the Santa Margarida Environmental Park, we can also visit the Tropical Butterfly, a teaching space that aims to raise awareness of the importance of preserving butterflies and their importance in our ecosystem.
Falcoaria Real: is a space for training game birds located in Salvaterra de Magos, classified by UNESCO as Cultural and Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity. The objective of Falconry Royal is to safeguard an ancient heritage, defined as one of the oldest relationships between man and bird. Here we can visit the history of the village of Salvaterra de Magos and discover the interactive exhibition of the world of falconry from the Neolithic to the our days. In Falconry we can watch the demonstration of free training flights that hawks capture “false prey” released by falconers.
Torre de Dornes
Torre de Dornes: is a pentagonal tower in stone stonework, classified as a Public Interest Building, built on an ancient Roman tower to defend the Tagus line. The Torre de Dornes is located in the village of Dornes, on a peninsula of the river Zêzere, in front of the Sanctuary of Nossa Senhora do Pranto.
Tagus Estuary Nature Reserve
Nature Reserve of the Tagus Estuary : it is an integrated reserve in the largest wetland in Portugal, located south of Santarém. It is a marshland area, with a habitat rich in mollusks and crustaceans, a nursery for various species of marine fish, a transition zone between the marine and fluvial environments for migratory fish. Waterfowl are of extreme European importance for the Tagus estuary, with around 120,000 individuals of wintering species, namely more than 10,000 ducks and 50,000 shorebirds, flamingos, wild goose and black-breasted hawk. The Tagus Estuary Nature Reserve is a place of calm and tranquility, very popular for bird watching, hiking, and cycling in the surrounding areas.
Here we find Evoa , a Visiting and Bird Watching Space built in Lezíria do Ribatejo. Its main attractions are the Interpretation Center , the main lagoon, the shallow lagoon, the big lagoon, the Tagus estuary, one of the ten most important wetlands in Europe, the most important in Portugal, being a place visited annually by 120 thousand birds. EVOA’s main motivation :
- the conservation of the birdlife of the Tagus Estuary and the Lezíria of Vila Franca de Xira, creating conditions to attract the greatest possible diversity of birds occurring in the estuary and lezíria, conditions for bird watching, maintaining its tranquility, contributing to the dissemination of the importance of birds, and to facilitate their scientific study.
- Increase the availability of tidal refuge areas for wintering estuarine birds. Increase the areas suitable for nesting several species of water birds.
- Publicize the construction and conservation work of Lezíria Grande in Vila Franca de Xira.
- To raise awareness of the importance of water management, of which Lezíria is an excellent example,
- and demonstrate a model of self-sustainability in nature conservation management.
In this region we also find the Salinas do Samouco , a feeding, refuge and nesting place for thousands of birds and the Corroios Tide Mill Center , a tidal mill built in 1403 where we can visit the ecomuseum with a long-term exhibition called 600 Years of Grinding at the Corroios Maré Mill.
Museum of Matches
Museu dos Fósforos: it is a museum installed in the Convento de São Francisco in Tomar, where we find the largest film collection in Europe, started in 1953 by Aquiles de Mota Lima. The Museum of Matches houses a collection of approximately 43,000 matchboxes, representing 122 countries, famous paintings, musical instruments, films, stars, jewelry and precious stones, myths and legends. It is an example of history of world graphic art represented in matchboxes. The Convento de São Francisco is a convent opened in 1242, transformed into a military barracks in the 19th century. The convent’s main attractions are the facade and the cloister.
Alviela Live Science Center
Alviela Ciência Viva Center – Carsoscope: it is the Alviela center of the National Agency for Scientific and Technological Culture. It is a Live Science Center with the aim of enhancing the natural heritage of the source of the Alviela River and the surrounding area, a strategic resource for scientific dissemination and environmental education. Interactive exhibits include relevant aspects of the Estremadura Massif, the water course, limestone, caves, bats, and pollution.
Pego da Rainha
Pego da Rainha: it is a lake fed by a natural waterfall surrounded by green nature and rock, located near Mação. Access is via the Estradão Florestal Bica da Cabroeira, a dirt road a few meters away.
Roque Gameiro Watercolor Museum
Roque Gameiro Watercolor Museum: it is a museum, much appreciated by the public because it is 100% dedicated to the art of watercolor, installed in the Casa dos Açores in Minde. The Roque Gameiro Watercolor Museum is dedicated to watercolor art with a collection of watercolors by Alfredo Roque Gameiro and the Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation.
Parish Church of Fátima
Parish Church of Fátima: it is a small church located in Fátima, known for having been the place of baptism for the three little shepherds of Fátima.
Church of Nossa Senhora do Castelo
Church of Nossa Senhora do Castelo: it is a well-preserved church located at the top, with a privileged view over the Soraia valley, with the village of Coruche, the Sorraia river and the surrounding lezirias. The sunset enjoyed from this place is of unparalleled beauty.
Sanctuary of the Most Holy Miracle of Santarém
Santuário de Santíssimo Milagre de Santarém: also known as Igreja de Santo Estêvão, it is a 13th century church classified as a National Monument, located in the center of the city of Santarém. The church was known as Santuário do Santíssimo Milagre due to the occurrence of a miracle in 1226. The architecture of the church has Renaissance influences with notes of Mannerism and Baroque due to a restructuring during the 16th century. Its original Gothic architecture was destroyed due to an earthquake, leaving only two pointed arches from the transept.
Interactive Museum “The Miracle of Fatima”
Interactive Museum “O Milagre de Fátima”: it is a museum located near the Sanctuary of Fátima with an interactive program that tells the story of the miracle of Fátima and other aspects of the Catholic Church through 3D technologies.
Miradouro do Castro
Miradouro do Castro: is a viewpoint located on the side of the N348 road, with panoramic views over the river Zêzere and the surroundings of green nature. In this viewpoint there is a space with tables and benches where we can rest and enjoy the scenery.
Consolata Museum – Sacred Art and Ethnology
Consolata Museum – Sacred Art and Ethnology: it is a museum located in Fátima with the objective of disseminating the history of Christ and the missions of religion around the world. The Consolata Museum brings together a collection of Portuguese sacred art and ethnography from various countries in the world, with a collection of cribs, images of the Child Jesus, and crucifixes from the 14th and 20th centuries.
Stairs of Nossa Senhora da Piedade
Stairs of Nossa Senhora da Piedade: they are a path built in the 19th century, beginning on the Prado road in the city of Tomar, consisting of 24 flights of stairs, with approximately 300 steps (288) that allow access to the Chapel, from where we have a fantastic view over the city of Tomar, the castle and the convent of Christ. At the top of the staircase we find the Chapel of Nossa Senhora da Piedade, a chapel from the 14th century, well restored and cared for.
Castle of Torres Novas
Torres Novas Castle: it is a well-preserved medieval castle classified as a National Monument, located in the center of Torres Novas near the Almonda River, with a dominant position over the city. From the castle walls we can enjoy the view over the city. The Torres Novas Castle is one of the city’s ex-libris, deserving a view due to its history and excellent location, providing a pleasant walk in its gardens, and views over the city from its walls.
Levada de Tomar
Levada de Tomar: it is a museum set next to the Ponte Velha over the Nabão river in Tomar, composed of the first mills and mills installed by the Templars during the 12th and 13th centuries, where after 1901 the power plant that fed the city of Tomar. Levada de Tomar is a very pleasant riverside place for a historical and cultural tour. Here we find the Convento de Santa Iria, a late 15th century convent classified as a Public Interest Building, and the Ponte Velha over the River Nabão, with its original name Ponte de Dom Manuel , built on a previous Roman building.
Vila de Alcanena
Alcanena: it is a Ribatejo county seat, it is practically inserted in the Serra de Aires e Candeeiros Natural Park. This village’s main curiosity is the location of the water source that supplies Lisbon. In the municipality of Alcanena we find heritage worth visiting such as the Nascentes do Alviela complex, with the river beach, interpretation center and camping site, and the Mata de Minde. The Nascentes do Alviela are a trail that begins at Olhos d’Água do Alviela, the source of the River Alviela, where the waters rise and reach the surface. Nascente do Alviela is one of the main sources of supply in Lisbon since 1880 due to the construction of the Alviela aqueduct.
Tomar Synagogue: it is a building classified as a national monument where we find the Abraão Zacuto Luso-Hebrew Museum, located in the old synagogue of the ancient Jewish quarter of the historic center of Tomar. The Tomar Synagogue is the only Jewish temple from the Renaissance era that currently exists in Portugal. The interior of the building is imposing with 4 columns that represent the mothers of Israel: Sara, Raquel, Rebeca and Lea. The ceiling is worked with 12 arches symbolizing 12 tribes of Israel.
House of the Administrator (Municipal Museum of Ourém)
Casa do Administrador: and a pole of the Municipal Museum of Ourém, a place where the three visionaries of Fátima Jacinta, Francisco and Lúcia stayed between 13 and 15 August 1917. This museum portrays characteristics and realities of the municipality of Ourém das past decades through visual aids adapted to the visually impaired, with cognitive disabilities and reduced mobility.
Funpark – Kartódromo de Fátima
Funpark – Kartódromo de Fátima: it is a karting track located on the road to Minde, with an area of more than 200 thousand square meters, including a go-kart track, fields that allow climbing, slides, abseiling, paintball and support infrastructures . Funpark – Kartódromo de Fátima has event organization services for groups.
Santarém Water Park
Santarém Aquatic Park: it is an aquatic complex with a recreational pool, with two water games and a waterfall, a jacuzzi, slides with 3 soft and two winding tracks, wave pool, a baby splash and a swimming pool for children, and a 25-meter indoor pool with 8 lanes for official swimming events.
Aquagruta: it is a water park with a swimming pool, children’s aqualândia, 3 water slides “tobogans”, solarium, bar and terrace. The Aquagruta is framed in a space with Polje de Mira-Minde and Serra de Aire as a backdrop.
Lapas Caves: they are a set of caves existing throughout the village of Lapas classified as of public interest, originated by the limestone massif and the karst action of the Almonda river. Near the caves, next to the river, Neolithic and bone artifacts were found. It is believed that the caves served as a shelter for people who inhabited Portugal more than a thousand years ago.
Jardim Horto de Camões
Jardim Horto de Camões: is a Jardim-Horto dedicated to Camões, an important Portuguese poet. In Jardim Horto de Camões we find the statue of Luís de Camões next to the stone structure with the main dates and trips from Lisbon to Macau, passing through Africa and India, the viewpoint of Zêzere from where we can see enjoy a fantastic view over the river, the garden where we can calmly enjoy the space, and the half-ton armillary sphere, offered by the Faculty of Fine Arts of Lisbon, which marks the 500th anniversary of the Portuguese Discoveries described by Camões in “Os Lusíadas”. The garden is located in Constância facing the Tagus River and its affluent Zêzere River. In Constância we find the Centro Ciência Viva de Constância Planetário de Ptolomeu in the open-air auditorium.
Fonte das Figueiras
Fonte das Figueiras: it is a 14th century fountain of Gothic architecture, which served the water supply to populations in the Portuguese Middle Ages. The fountain classified as National Monument, is located within the old belt of walls that connected the Porta de Atamarma, access to Marvila, to the Ribeira, located next to the Tagus.
Praia Fluvial do Carvoeiro
Praia Fluvial do Carvoeiro: located approximately 25 minutes from Mação, includes a children’s pool, support equipment for people with reduced mobility. The river beach of Carvoeiro was distinguished in 2014 with the Blue Flag Award.
River Beach of Ortiga
Praia Fluvial de Ortiga: fluvial beach located in the municipality of Mação includes services such as bar, restaurant, floating pool, pier, changing rooms, medical post, campsite and parking.
Albufeira da Pracana
Albufeira da Pracana: dam located on the Ocreza river that was built in 1951. It allows sports activities
Adega Cooperativa de Alcanhões
Adega Cooperativa de Alcanhões: cellar where Cardeal D Guilherme, Terras do Paço and Adiafa wines are produced, making wine tasting possible
Aerodrome of Santarém (LPSR)
Aeródromo de Santarém (LPSR): or Aerodromo Cosme Pedrogão – Pára-Clube de Santarém, is an aerodrome with an asphalt track measuring 1207 meters long and 28 meters wide, located approximately four kilometers from Santarém, includes passenger transport service and a school where it is possible to attend the pilot course for the level 1 pilot Brevet.
Other points of interest
- Quinta da Cardiga
- Ollem Turismo Fluvial: is a company with cultural and scenic routes framed with the history of Ribatejo.
- National Forest of Sete Montes: it is a park with 39 hectares of landscaped gardens, located in the center of the city of Tomar, with connection to the Castle of Tomar.
- Chapel of São Pedro do Castro: it is a church classified as a Property of Public Interest located on the top of a hill with fantastic panoramic views over the mountains and the river Zêzere.
- Vida de Cristo Museum: it is a thematic wax museum about the life of Jesus Christ, located in Fátima with 210 wax figures, distributed in 33 scenes.
Villages, towns and cities to visit near Santarém
Abrantes: is a city located in the district of Santarém with approximately 10,000 inhabitants. In Abrantes we can visit the historic center, the Martinchel EcoMuseum, the Castelo de Bode Dam, the Riverside Urban Park of Abrantes, the Municipal Art Gallery and the Castle of Abrantes. The city’s festivals that take place in May deserve to be highlighted, since the competitions of the Rua Floridas are held, giving a unique beauty and color to the city. Abrantes is also known for its sweets, namely the Abrantes straw and the bowls
Aldeia Água Travessa
Aldeia Água Travessa: is a village located south of the municipality of Abrantes. Água Travessa stands out for the typical Ribatejo heath landscape, with vast plains of cork oak forests for the production of cork.
Aljustrel Village: it is a village located in the municipality of Ourém, where we can visit the Monte dos Valinhos and the Calvário Húngaro, the houses where the three shepherds lived that, according to the believers, witnessed Nossa Senhora de Fátima.
Aldeia do Arripiado
Aldeia do Arripiado: is a village located in the parish of Carregueira north of the municipality of Chamusca, where Lezíria do Ribatejo begins. The main attractions of this location are the flowers that give color to the streets, the craft boats and the embroidery.
Aldeia das Caneiras
Aldeia das Caneiras: it is a village located approximately three km from Santarém, one of the most traditional villages of avian culture, which has as significant elements the bateira avieira, a river boat typical of this region of the Tagus river , the ** casa Avieira, dwellings built during the second half of the 19th century by families from Vieira de Leiria, and the typical gastronomy of soup from the river, shad, croaker and lamprey.
Aldeia de Entrevinhas
Aldeia de Entrevinhas: it is a village located in the municipality of Sardoal, it stands out for the vineyards of Quinta de Vale do Armo, the Moinhos de Entrevinhas and the Parque da Lapa .
Aldeia do Pereiro
Aldeia do Pereiro: is a village located in the municipality of Mação, known for the streets typically decorated with flowers during the summer.
Village of Santa Margarida da Coutada
Santa Margarida da Coutada village: it is a village located in the municipality of Constância. It is known due to the military field of Santa Margarida. Its main attractions are the butterfly garden and the nature paths sought for walks and sports activities.
Almeirim: it is a city that hosts the municipality of Ribatejo, it stands out for its history and gastronomy. The city’s heritage includes buildings such as the Parish Church of São João Batista, Quinta de Santa Marta, Praça de Toiros. The traditional gastronomy of Almeirim includes specialties such as Sopa da Pedra.
Cartaxo: it is a city located in Ribatejo, an important crossing point, with rural houses, the Church of São João Batista, the Chapel of Senhor dos Passos, the Cruise of Senhor dos Aflitos, Praça de Toiros, the Quinta das Pratas Sports and Cultural Complex and the Rural and Wine Eco-Museum. The most important festivals and fairs in Cartaxo are the Wine Festival, held annually in May and the Feira dos Santos. The municipality of Cartaxo has organized tourist routes, namely the Wine Route in order to visit the farms, wineries and farms in the region.
Constância: is a village located between the Tagus and Zêzere rivers, the place that served as inspiration for the Portuguese poet Luís Vaz de Camões to write some of the works. The heritage of Constância consists of the Church of Nossa Senhora dos Mártires, the Church of Misericórdia, the Casa Memória de Camões and the metal bridge over the river Zêzere by Gustavo Eiffel. The most important festivals in Constância are the Feast of Nossa Senhora da Boa Viagem, with the procession of boats held annually in April, and the “Pormonas Camonianas” that portray the medieval period and pay homage to Camões held annually in June.
Coruche: it is a village located on the right bank of the river Sorraia, it is one of the most important agricultural centers in the country. In Coruche we highlight the landscape marked by the moor, the estates of Mata-Lobos and Mata-Lobinhos, Quinta Grande and Praça de Toiros. The festivals and pilgrimages that deserve to be highlighted in this location are the Gastronomy Days, held annually in October, and the Flavors of Toiro Bravo party, held annually in May. Coruche is also known for its gastronomic specialties, namely: Canja de toriro bravo, Açorda de shad, Goat fried with hunter, Febra and cachola of olive oil and vinegar, Blood farinheira, Skewers of veal on laurel stick, Fava with veal loaves brava, Steak à Vítor Mendes, Nut cake, Areias do Sorraia, and Azevias.
Dornes: is a village located in Ferreira do Zêzere. It is considered one of the most beautiful villages in Portugal, passing through here the Great Route of the river Zêzere. Its main attractions are the church, the boat trip and the walk along the banks of the river Zêzere to the mouth.
Ferreira do Zêzere
Ferreira do Zêzere: is a town located in a transition zone between the Ribatejo hills and the mountains of central Portugal, with landscapes of a unique beauty. The Ferreira do Zêzere region has an important human and natural heritage, namely the Mother Church, the Chapel of São Pedro de Castro, the Pentagonal Tower, the Triangular Mill, the blue lagoon and the Castelo de Bode dam. Ferreira do Zêzere’s handicrafts include items such as wicker basketry, quilts and towels made on handlooms. The main highlights of Ferreira do Zêzere’s gastronomy are rice pudding and Areias cheese.
Golegã: it is a village bathed by the Tagus and Almonda rivers known throughout the country for being the Portuguese horse capital, where the National Horse Fair takes place in November, attracting thousands of people. visitors. In this fair we can taste the typical Ribatejo gastronomy, and taste the Água-pé (recently produced wine). The fair includes horse-related activities, namely Lusitanian horses and equestrian hitch competitions, show jumping and horseball games. In the village of Golegã we can visit the Mother Church, the Church of Nossa Senhora dos Anjos, Quinta da Cardiga, the Carlos Relvas Studio-House, the Martins Correia Painting and Sculpture Museum and the Paúl do Boquilobo Nature Reserve, where it is possible discover the largest heron colony on the Iberian Peninsula.
Rio Maior: is a city located between Serra dos Candeeiros and the Ribatejo plains. In the municipality of Rio Maior we highlight the village of Alcobertas, the Igreja da Misericórdia and the Marinhas de Sal de Rio Maior, salt pans classified as Property of Public Interest due to being unique in Portugal, are known salt pans since the 12th century fed by a well that springs water 7 times more salty than sea water. The most important Fairs in Rio Maior are the National Onion Fair – which takes place annually and includes activities such as the onions exhibition and the contest for the best onion cord – and the Feira das Tasquinhas – a gastronomy, handicrafts and sweets fair that takes place performs annually
Geographic location of Santarém
Santarém is approximately 80 km from Lisbon, an hour by car, or 41 minutes by train. Located in the district of Ribatejo, on the right bank of the Tagus River, it borders the districts of Castelo Branco and Leiria to the north, the districts of Lisbon and Évora to the south, the districts of Leiria and Lisbon to the west, and the districts from Portalegre and Évora to the east.
Towns and cities in the district of Santarém
The district of Santarém is composed of the cities of: Abrantes, Almeirim, Cartaxo, Entroncamento, Fátima, Ourém, Rio Maior, Samora Correia, Santarém, Tomar, Torres Novas. And the villages of Alcanena, Alcanhões, Alcobertas, Alpiarça, Amiais de Baixo, Benavente, Benfica do Ribatejo, Caxarias, Chamusca, Constância, Coruche, Couço, Almeirim Farms, Ferreira do Zêzere, Freixianda, Glória do Ribatejo, Golegã, Mação, Marinhais, Marmeleira, Minde, Olival, Pontével, Riachos, Salvaterra de Magos, Sardoal, Tramagal, Tremês, Santarém Valley, Vila Chã de Ourique, and Vila Nova da Barquinha.
Access to Santarém
Santarém is a city with good road and rail access, connected by the A1 motorway towards Lisbon, the A6 motorway towards Caia on the Spanish border, the A23 motorway towards Vilar Formoso on the Spanish border and the A15 motorway towards Caldas da Rainha and Óbidos
The rivers and mountains of Santarém
The Santarém district has one of the best floodplains in Europe, and a large number of streams. The most important rivers in Santarém are the Almonda River, the Alviela River, the Rio Maior, the Sorraia River, the Tagus River, and the Zêzere River. The most important mountain ranges in Ribatejo are Serra de Aire, Serra de Candeeiros, and Serra de Montejunto.
The Economy of Santarém
The Santarém district is a place of a lot of industry, with the tannery industry, the ceramics industry, wood industries, food industries, chemical industries, cellulose industries, civil construction industries, and the tourism industry, with a special focus on the Sanctuary of Nossa Senhora de Fátima, which is visited by several million visitors every year.
Regarding industry and services companies, Ribatejo has a business area with five business parks, namely the Abrantes Business Park, Cartaxo Business Park, Parque de Negócios Rio Maior Business, Santarém Business Park and Torres Novas Business Park.
Santarém agriculture has a major impact on the region’s economy, which due to the surrounding rivers, has the most fertile soils in Portugal, with more than 300 thousand hectares dedicated to irrigated agriculture, namely rice production , being the region of the country that produces the largest amount of Carolin rice, wine production, olive oil production, the largest tomato and corn production in the country. In Ribatejo there are approximately 110 thousand hectares of forest, a share of 10% of the national territory. The forest in the Santarém district is made up of landscapes of cork oaks, the cork production tree. In Santarém, more than ten million eggs are produced per week and 70% of the country’s ham.
The Gastronomy of Santarém
The palates of the countryside and Lezíria are reflected in the gastronomy. Santarém’s cuisine includes diverse specialties and intense flavors, namely:
- Eel stew
- Spare ribs with bean rice
- Skewers in Pau de Loureiro
- Fataça roasted on the tile
- Magusto with roasted cod
- Pasta à Barrão
- Flavored Bravo Bull Taco
- Roasted Pork Leg
- Egg Sliced
- Fried Shad with Egg açorda
- Fish Soup
- Soup on the Stone
- Almoster’s creepy
- Celestials from Santa Clara
Ribatejo Wines: the Ribatejo district includes six Demarcated Wine Production Regions: Tomar, Chamusca, Cartaxo, Almeirim, Santarém and Coruche, with emphasis on the following grape varieties: Arinto, Cabernet Sauvignon, Castelão, Fernão Pires, Merlot, Tália, Trincadeira, Touriga Nacional, and Vital.
Santarém handicrafts are mainly composed of wooden articles, embroidery, bunho, ceramics, basketry, cork, and leather products.
Brief history of Santarém
Santarém has been populated since 4000 BC due to its excellent strategic location. Several peoples occupied this region, namely the Phoenicians, Greeks, Romans, Alans and Muslims. In 1147 it was conquered by D Afonso Henriques and integrated into the kingdom of Portugal. Santarém was the royal residence and capital of Portugal during D Afonso’s reign in the 14th century. In 1531 there was an earthquake that damaged part of the city. After 1640, Santarém grew economically due to commercial activity on the Tagus River. The capital of the Ribatejo district was elevated to the category of city in 1868, experiencing a new economic dynamism that allowed the launch of important projects, namely the Passeio do Largo de Sá da Bandeira in 1876, the Passeio da Rainha (now Jardim da República) in 1877, and the Jardim das Portas do Sol in 1902.
Some important kings and figures of Portuguese society lived in Santarém, namely D Afonso III, D Afonso V, D João I, D João II, Pedro Álvares Cabral, the discoverer of Brazil, and Luís Vaz de Camões, author of “Os Lusíadas” .
Santarém Festivals and Pilgrimages
Parties and fairs play an important role in the economy of the Santarém region, notably:
- Festas de São José: held annually on March 19, St. Joseph’s Day, the patron of carpenters and craftsmen
- Expo Caça: held annually during the month of May
- Agriculture or Ribatejo Fair: held annually in early June. It is the event that attracts the most visitors to Santarém. The Agriculture Fair has as main attractions the typical gastronomy of Ribatejo, performance of Folkloric Ranchos and fandango.
- Cattle Fair: held every Saturday
- Biweekly Fair: held every second and fourth Sunday of each month
- Miracle Fair: held in the second and third weeks of October
- National Gastronomy Festival: held annually in October
- Celestino Graça International Folklore Festival: held annually in September
Santarém Quick Facts
- Population of the municipality: approximately 57 thousand inhabitants
- The native of Santarém is called “Escalabitano” or “Santareno”
- Area: 552.54 km2
- Foundation of the municipality: 1095
- District: Santarém
- Former province: Ribatejo
- Airfield: 1
- CUF Santarém Hospital
- Santarém District Hospital,
- Higher Education:
- Escola Superior de Educaction by Santarém Polytechnic Institute of Santarém,
- ISLA – Santarém Higher Institute of Management and Administration