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Explore Batalha Monastery, The final resting place of Prince Henry the Navigator

Standing in old, exquisite monasteries, with the sun's bright rays bleeding through the cracks and intricacies of the age-old walls, and a sage-like smell so serene, it feels like the warm embrace of peace and calm, even in the midst of a crowd. This indescribable feeling is something that you’ll only experience once you step inside the beautiful monastery of Batalha.

Built in the late 14th century, The monastery of Batalha was King John I's grand offering, a thank you carved in stone to the Virgin Mary for his unlikely victory at the Battle of Aljubarrota. Within the hallowed halls of the monastery, lies his son, the prince of Portugal who spurred a new era of maritime exploration and shaped the course of its history- Prince Henry the Navigator.

Where is Prince Henry laid to rest in the Batalha Monastery?

The Founder's Chapel is located at the east end of the monastery church. Once you are inside the chapel, you will see Prince Henry the Navigator's tomb in the center of the room. The tomb is a large marble structure with a recumbent statue of the prince.

Navigating your way through the Batalha Monastery

  • Start with the Founder's Chapel (Capela do Fundador). This is the most impressive part of the monastery and where you'll find the tombs of King João I of Portugal, his wife Philippa of Lancaster, and their children, including Prince Henry the Navigator. The chapel is known for its intricate stonework, stained glass windows, and octagonal ceiling. The architectural style is a unique blend of Flamboyant Gothic and the English Perpendicular style, influenced by Queen Philippa who brought English architects along with her. The central octagon chamber is a truly splendid space,  capped with a complex star-shaped vaulted ceiling.
  • Allocate: 30-45 minutes
  • Next, explore the Church of Santa Maria da Vitória (Church of Saint Mary of Victory). This church was built to commemorate the Portuguese victory over the Castilians at the Battle of Aljubarrota in 1385. It's a beautiful space with high ceilings, stained glass windows, and a mix of Gothic and Manueline architectural styles. 
  • Allocate: 20-30 minutes
  • See the Royal Cloisters (Claustro Real). This is a peaceful courtyard surrounded by arcades. This peaceful courtyard was a place for monks to relax and meditate. Look for the central fountain that adds to the lull of the portrait-like panorama.
  • Allocate: 15-20 minutes
  • Don't forget to see the Unfinished Chapels (Capelas Imperfeitas). These chapels were never completed, but they still offer a glimpse of the monastery's original plans. These were originally intended to be the tombs of King Duarte I and his wife, Queen Eleanor.
  • Allocate: 10-15 minutes
  • Finally, head to the Chapterhouse (Sala do Capítulo). This room was used by the monks for meetings and discussions. Today, it houses a small museum with exhibits on the history of the monastery and the religious orders that inhabited it. You'll find artefacts, paintings, and religious sculptures.
  • Allocate: 10-15 minutes

Frequently asked questions about visiting Prince Henry’s tomb within Batalha monastery

What are the opening hours of the Batalha Monastery?

The Alcobaca monastery is open from 09.00 a.m. to 6.00 p.m., from Sunday to Sunday. The last entry is at 5:30 pm.

How much does it cost to enter the Batalha Monastery?

There are 3 ticket options for Alcobaca Monastery. You can get an entry ticket for €5.60.

Is there a specific dress code for visiting the Batalha Monastery?

While there's no strict dress code, it's recommended to dress modestly out of respect for the religious nature of the site. Shoulders should be covered, and clothing shouldn't be overly revealing.

How long does it take to visit the Batalha Monastery and see Prince Henry the Navigator's tomb?

Allow yourself at least 1-2 hours to comfortably explore the monastery, including the Founder's Chapel where Prince Henry's tomb is located. If you want to delve deeper into the history and admire the details, you might need even more time.

Is the Batalha Monastery accessible for people with disabilities?

Accessibility can be limited in some areas of the monastery due to its historic nature. It's advisable to check their website for accessibility information or contact them directly with your inquiries.

Can I take photos inside the Batalha Monastery?

Photography is usually allowed for personal use, but flash photography might be restricted in certain areas. It's always best to confirm photography guidelines with the staff at the entrance.

Are there any restaurants or cafes near the Batalha Monastery?

There are cafes and restaurants within walking distance of the monastery, offering a variety of Portuguese and international cuisine. Pack a picnic lunch if you prefer to eat outdoors in the surrounding gardens (if allowed).

What else is there to see and do in Batalha besides the monastery?

The town of Batalha itself is charming and has a few historical sites you can explore. Consider visiting the Museu da Comunidade de Batalha (Community Museum of Batalha) or theMatriz de Batalha Church.

How do I get to the Batalha Monastery from Lisbon?

You can reach Batalha from Lisbon by train, bus, or car. The train journey is comfortable and takes about an hour and a half. Buses are a more budget-friendly option, but the journey might be longer. Renting a car offers flexibility but be aware of tolls on the highways.