Tomar has much to offer its visitors. The city’s historic sites, tasty regional cookery, important architecture and pretty central park are all begging to be discovered, while beyond its boundaries lies the rural charm of the Ribatejo, with its lush green mountains, sparkling rivers and lakes and magnificently restored country houses.
On an ideal traveller’s itinerary this lovely city in central Portugal warrants a stay of several days to make the most of your surroundings. However, if you have only one day it is still possible to see and enjoy much of what Tomar has to offer as long as you plan your time carefully and we have put together this bite-sized itinerary to help you do so. This trip does recommend the use of a hire car or your own transport to enable you to explore beyond the immediate confines of the city and you will need to obtain a street map from your hotel reception to help you navigate your way around.
Take an early breakfast in your hotel or head on foot to the centre of town to the streets around the Praça da República for an espresso and a tasty Portuguese pastry for an energy boost to set you up for a day of sightseeing. If you approach the Praça da República via the Corredoura, the main road that leads up to it, note the lovely view of the São João Baptista church and of the Templar Castle beyond as you approach. Stop off at the São João Baptista church to admire its Manueline façade and interesting interior before continuing up to the Templar Castle and Convento de Cristo for a tour around the complex. Don’t miss the interesting “Janela” or window and the cloisters at the Convento de Cristo. Return to town and stop off to visit the small museum in the Jewish Synagogue of Tomar, located near the town centre.
Return to your car and head out to the Castelo de Bode, the huge freshwater lake located some 13 kilometres from Tomar. There are some interesting viewpoints en-route providing good opportunities for photographs of the attractive scenery of valleys, mountains and pine forests. The Jardim da Praça in Ferreira do Zêzere is an picturesque village located on the water’s edge where some attractive craftworks are made. Continue to explore the area above the lake, stopping at one of the many hotels and guesthouses for a bite of lunch, or if the season and weather conditions permit take a picnic and your swimwear and head for the shores of the lake. Here you can while away a few hours bathing in the clear waters and relaxing in the shade of the eucalyptus trees.
Return for dinner at one of Tomar’s many restaurants (see our where to eat section for some suggestions) before heading back to your hotel for some much-needed rest.