Nazare to Tomar

Venture out on our Portugal road trip itinerary and discover the Center of Portugal with our Nazare to Tomar Road Trip

Visit the Templar town of Tomar, stumble upon the natural phenomenon of the salt flats of Rio Maior, and drink in everything wine and enology related at the National Wine Museum of Alcobaca. All of this plus a pit stop at Almourol Castle along the way. 

Our 2-days, 1-night self-driving tour is set at the perfect pace to see a different side of Portugal with.

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THE PLAN

Drive into the heart of Portugal, where the wild Atlantic Ocean and Silver Coast beach towns meet the interior mountains of the Serras de Aire e Candeeiros to unearth a country within a country.

The Center, one of seven regions, cinches Portugal at the waist, from Peniche in the south to avant-garde Aveiro in the north and across 

The Beiras to the Serra da Estrela and neighboring Spain.

Within its borders, you will find a network of Schist villages to fall off the radar from, Europe’s largest underwater canyon and the world’s largest waves ever surfed, landlock salt flats, a riverside Castle accessible only by boat, and a gastronomic scene rich in cheese, wine, and delicate pastries.

The Centre of Portugal is an ideal playground for those with an old soul, a curious mind, and a tank full of gas.

TOWNS VISITED

  • NAZARE BEACH
  • ALCOBACA
  • RIO MAIOR
  • ALMOUROL CASTLE
  • TOMAR

ROAD TRIP FACTS

Days on the road: 2 days 

Distance: 99 miles

Total drive time: 2 h 12 minutes

Cost in tolls: $5 one way (approx.)

Highlights: Hiking up Mount St. Bartholomew for a 360° view, Drinking in wine culture at the National Museum of Wine in Alcobaca (figuratively speaking), and the short and sweet boat ride to Almourol Castle

Sunset spot: The rooftop bar at Thomar Boutique Hotel Tomar

Top souvenir: Assorted salts from the salt flats of Rio Maior 

Visit Tourism Nazare Maps for the complete road trip.

View over Nazare from the Ladeira do Sitio da Nazare staircase

STOP ONE

NAZARE BEACH

Before venturing out and away from the glimmering shorelines of Nazare, take a moment to walk the streets of this fishing community.

Rooted in traditions so unique that no other beach town has been able to replicate them, Praia da Nazare has quickly risen in ranks to Portugal’s 4th most visited city after Lisbon, Porto, and Funchal in Madeira.

Visit the Museu do Peixe Seco, the dried fish museum.

Photograph yourself at the Arte Xavega outdoor boat exhibit. 

Sneak away from the sun inside the Centro Cultural da Nazare to learn more about the town. And don’t miss out on the Mae Nazarena monument. A meticulously carved statue, standing tall on the promenade, in honor of the woman who carried the weight of the town on their shoulders.

Eat lunch before heading out on to the open road and dine on freshly grilled fish at Maria do Mar to fill your belly before the trip ahead.

For a lighter affair, source out a traditional Portuguese sandwich called bifana. A pork steak sandwich marinated in garlic and various spices tucked into a fresh Portuguese bread roll. This delectable snack is considered to be a national favorite.

Fancy something else for lunch? Check out our 20 Excellent Spots to Eat at in Nazare for more mouth-watering options.

TAKE ME THERE

STOP TWO

MOUNT ST. BARTHOLOMEW

Except for February 3rd of every year when the festival of Sao Bras takes place to signal the beginning of Nazare Carnival, the 511 foot  Monte de Sao Bartolomeu is dormant for the most part.

Perched high above the pine forests of Leiria some 2 miles away from Nazare, the hike to the top is both a spiritual and athletic quest.

Reaching the watchtower’s guardhouse will require a ‘no fear of heights’ gusto and will reward the victor with a panorama achievable from no other advantage point in the area.

Access to the park is free, as is the platform for the guardhouse watchtower.

Please obey park signs, rules, and regulations when walking or hiking in the area. 

Visit our Google Maps Page to download and save our route itinerary with directions to Mount St. Bartholomew here.

STOP THREE

NATIONAL WINE MUSEUM OF ALCOBACA

Wine lovers rejoice!

The National Museum of Wine in Alcobaca (Museu Nacional do Vinho) is Portugal’s most extensive collection of artifacts, a staggering 8,500 pieces in total ranging from equipment to bottles of Port, dedicated to the study of enology.

The building is the original site of cellars built-in 1874 by Jose Eduardo Raposo de Magalhaes for the production of wine-JEM.

Open daily from 10:00 AM – 1:00 PM and 2:00 PM – 6:00 PM.

STOP FOUR

SALT FLATS OF RIO MAIOR

Portugal’s only ‘landlock’ salt flats, the Atlantic Ocean being over 18 miles away, the Salinas de Rio Maior is a natural phenomenon caused by cracks in the rock formations of the Serra dos Candeeiros.

These faults, allow rainwater to enter and form underground channels that naturally filter through salt-rock deposits and create the pools above.

The town’s commerce area, concentrated at the basin of the flats, resembles a hobbit town with thatched houses built entirely out of reclaimed wood.

Here visitors have the option to purchase salts from vendors cultivated from the plots just steps away.

For a family-friendly dining option, eat at the Churrasqueira Solar do Sal and ask for the house specialty – Portuguese Grilled Chicken.

Knights Templar Almourol Castle

STOP FIVE

ALMOUROL CASTLE

Situated on a granite skerry off the banks of the Targus River 18 miles away from Tomar stands Almourol Castle, one of Portugal’s most beautiful castles.

Once a part of the defensive line of the Knights Templar, Almorolan, as it was known before the 12th century, was abandoned and fell into despair when it lost its strategic military advantage, and the Order disbanded.

Now restored, the only way to access the castle is by boat for a nominal fee.

The castle is open daily except for January 1st, Easter, and December 25th.

The ferry operates on a winter and summer schedule and is closed between the hours of 1:00 PM to 2:30 PM daily and on Mondays during March and April. For safety reasons, boat transfers can also be stopped due to storms and rising water levels.

STOP SIX

THOMAR BOUTIQUE HOTEL

Situated in the city center next to the Santa Iria Convent, The Thomar Boutique Hotel, a former glass factory, was inaugurated in September of 2018.

Every floor with corresponding rooms, are decorated to match and represent a golden era of Tomar’s history: The Romans, The Templars, The Discoveries, and The Industrial Age.

On the rooftop bar, guests will delight in unobstructed views of Tomar and the castle as a backdrop.

Nightly rates begin at $60 with breakfast included.

STOP SEVEN

CONVENT OF CHRIST TOMAR

Tomar may seem like a nondescript town, that is until you venture to the Convent of Christ (Convento de Cristo). 

Famous for its Knights Templar heritage, the convent was constructed under the orders of Gualdim de Pais, a grandmaster of the Order, and is in the top 10 most visited national monuments in Portugal.

Gaze at impressive architecture, such as the 16th-century Manueline window (Portuguese Manuelino), symbolizing the Tree of Life and Diogo de Arruda’s famous chapterhouse window.

Open daily except for New Years Day, March 1st, Easter Sunday, May 1st, Christmas Eve, and Christmas Day between the hours of 9:00 AM and 5:30 PM (winter) or till 6:30 PM during the summer season.

ALTERNATIVE ROUTES

ROAD TRIP: NAZARE TO TOMAR (OBIDOS)

Swap out the salt flats of Rio Maior for a stop in Obidos instead. This medieval town is high on must-see lists when visiting Portugal and is a short diversion off the original route. 

ROAD TRIP: NAZARE TO LEIRIA

Looking for something a bit longer? Turn our 2 days, 1-night itinerary into a 3 days, 2-night road trip by adding Porto de Mos, Batalha Portugal, and the city of Leiria to your journey. 

For these alternative routes and more check out our Google Maps Page for more details.

Are we missing something you want to see? Send us a message at  info@tourismnazare.com so we can help.

What are your favorite Portugal Road Trip Itineraries? Comment below and share your thoughts with the Tourism Nazare community.

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