2017 was a big year in Portugal, as the country’s famed pilgrimage site, Fátima, celebrated its 100th anniversary. The events surrounding the commemoration brought thousands of new visitors to the Centro Region, which is promoted by NTA-member ACISO–Associacao Empresarial Ourém-Fátima.
According to ACISO’s Isabel Machado, while Fátima is its calling card, the area is home to other significant religious sites.
“The Centro Region of Portugal surrounding Ourém definitely has a lot to offer to groups apart from pilgrimages to Fátima,” she says. “It is very close to three important UNESCO World Heritage sites: the Monastery of Alcobaça, the Monastery of Batalha and the Convent of Christ in Tomar.”
The Monastery of Alcobaça is one of the first Cistercian monastic foundations in Portugal, and the site boasts a group of unique medieval buildings. The Monastery of Batalha, which took more than 100 years to build, is one of the most impressive Gothic-style structures in Portugal. Groups visiting the circa 1160 Convent of Christ can learn more about the fortress that served as the headquarters of the Knights Templar until 1314 and for the Order of Christ from 1357 onwards.
Machado says these faith-based sites are easy to combine with other local highlights.
“Groups can admire an outstanding coastline and sunny beaches like Nazaré, Figueira da Foz and the Berlengas Islands, but they also they can discover the forests, hills and vineyards that are dotted with luxurious places—from palatial spas to converted castles, convents and mansions.”
Top photo: Monastery of Batalha
Photo by CC Wikimedia Commons/Kyle Magnuson: bit.ly/2QJkpZw
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ACISO-Associacao Empresarial Ourem-Fatima