Monastery of Batalha

Monastery of Batalha
Photo by Els Slots.

The Monastery of Batalha is a Dominican convent that is a masterpiece of Gothic and Manueline art.

Its late Gothic architecture is intermingled with the Manueline style. The ornate convent has been put up in limestone, with a profusion of gables, spires, pinnacles and buttresses. The Monastery's Founder's Chapel became the first royal pantheon in Portugal.

Community Perspective: “Over-the-top” in its Manueline decorations. The Royal Cloister and Chapterhouse are among its highlights.

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Jakob Frenzel

Germany - 08-Feb-21 -

Monastery of Batalha by Jakob Frenzel

October 2020 - this was our 2nd Whs visit that day. The giant and beautiful gothic monastery of Batalha. Before we entered we had a snack at the cafe just east of the monastery. The cathedral has some wonderful gothic elements but most stunning is the light. Due to the colorful windows there were green, red, yellow spots on the floors and spread a charming atmosphere. This followed us to the many separate parts of the cathedral. A curiosity of the buildings can be found in the unfinished chapel. Due to lack of money, the Kings rather wanted to finish Jeronimos Abbey in Lisbon and let it stand like this for another 500 years.

it is a gothic cathedral, so an overrepresented category on the List. But with the combiticket Tomar, Batalha, Alcobaca definitely worth the visit.

Ilya Burlak

USA - 18-Jun-19 -

Monastery of Batalha by Ilya Burlak

Batalha Monastery is a masterpiece of Gothic and Manueline art. I visited all three WH monastic complexes in the Centro Region of Portugal in April of 2019, and the contrast between Alcobaça and Batalha, specifically, is one of the strongest impressions of seeing these places. Where the cloisters at Alcobaça are restrained, the ones in Batalha are outright exuberant.

There are three main impressive components to the Batalha site, starting with the Founders’ Chapel, the first royal pantheon of Portugal. The square-plan chapel is unexpectedly bright for what is technically a crypt, including vivid stained glass. Next are the cloisters of King João I, intricately decorated throughout. The decorative details range from very complex to sometimes simple, but all are just delightful to explore. A small detraction from the overall impression are the black stains on the yellow stones. Again contrasting this with Alcobaça, the monastery there appears very thoroughly cared for, whereas Batalha feels not exactly neglected but also not really in the best shape it could be.

The last component of the complex are the Unfinished Chapels. The principal work on the monastery construction continued into the 16th century (having been started in 1386), but the adjoining yet separate octagonal structure of the Capelas Imperfeitas was never fully built. It is the killer feature of the monastery, resplendently decorated with lacework of Manueline motives.

Most of the visitors will likely come to Batalha from Lisbon, which should take about an hour and a half by car (about the same time as between Lisbon and Alcobaça; you need about half an hour to get from one to another). The sufficient time to see the monastery is between an hour and an hour and a half. The surrounding town feels fairly lively but without significant points of interest beyond the monastery.

Read more from Ilya Burlak here.

Kyle Magnuson

California - United States of America - 02-Sep-18 -

Monastery of Batalha by Kyle Magnuson

For me this was the most exceptional Monastery in Portugal. The whole structure is photogenic, well-kept, and simply a lovely place to explore. The weather during my visit was perfect, it really does make a difference when visiting world heritage sites. 

The royal tombs here are all finely detailed. The Cloister of King Afonso is undeniably beautiful and with a blue nearly cloudless sky, it was very pleasant. Truly, a historic site that I will miss walking from within, wonder to wonder, and then arriving to the unfinished chapel and finding myself smiling. The detail in the later open-air chapel was astounding and a bit absurd! My visit took around an hour, but by the end, returning to the car, my wife and I were just full of enjoyment of the drive, the history, the gorgeous weather. No complaints.

Much has been stated here about "Manueline" or Portuguese late Gothic style architecture. While it surely is over-the-top, this description cannot even begin to be imagined when you compare how over-the-top every building in Sintra is, no? Can something over-the-top still be admired and charming? Surely, yes. Sintra, despite its vanity, is a lovely place to explore. So I don't really understand this critique, but this monastery which just passed its 500 year anniversary is certainly a religion gem worth visiting and seeing for oneself.


Read more from Kyle Magnuson here.


Austria - 17-Jun-18 -

Monastery of Batalha by Hubert

I arrived in Batalha around lunchtime on a Sunday in May 2018. Coming from the rather sleepy town of Alcobaça, the quite lively Batalha was a pleasant surprise. The service was just over and the squares around the monastery were crowded with churchgoers, locals and tourists. I decided to wait a bit until the crowds had dispersed and took a snack in one of the nearby restaurants.

After lunch and after a walk around the outside of the large monastery complex I entered the church. Compared with the exuberant exterior, the interior of the church is plain and elegant, not much different from Alcobaça. But this impression changes when you visit the monastery. It is famous for the Gothic-Manueline architecture. The opinions differ widely: "magnificent gem" or "over-the-top decor". I tend more towards the latter, nevertheless, it is fun to explore all the architectural details and the opulent decor. A highlight of this style is certainly the Royal Cloister or Clastro Real (photo): the combination of Gothic arches and Manueline tracery supported by slender columns is unique. And of course the Capelas Imperfeitas, in particular the Manueline portal, more decoration is hardly possible.
However, my favourite room was the Chapterhouse: a large, rectangular room with a single star-shaped rib vault, without a supporting column in the centre. A daring construction at that time, but with an impressive result, both aesthetically and technically. After leaving the monastery, I went back to the entrance to have a final look at the details of the façade and the portal of the church.

Well, the Manueline architecture is definitely not my favourite style, but it was a highly enjoyable visit and it was instructive to directly compare Batalha with Alcobaça. Both have all the elements typical of a monastery, concept and structure are similar, but the artistic implementation and the architectural solutions are very different. In the late afternoon I went to Tomar and was looking forward to the third World Heritage monastery in Central Portugal.

Klaus Freisinger

Austria - 03-Feb-17 -

Monastery of Batalha by Klaus Freisinger

I visited Batalha as part of an organized daytrip from Lisbon (together with Alcobaca, Óbidos, Nazaré and Fatima), so, just like in Alcobaca, we only had a limited amount of time available there. The monastery is much more impressive from the outside than Alcobaca, but we only had a chance for a quick look through the interior. The complex was built to commemorate a 14th-century battle against the Spanish and then served as a burial place for several kings and nobles. It is similar to the Hieronymite Monastery in Lisbon in its impressive, but a bit over-the-top Gothic/Manueline architecture.


Malta - 19-Aug-14 -

Monastery of Batalha by Clyde

I visited this WHS in August 2014. I spent half a day here and although I thought that 4 WHS monasteries/convents in an area of about 200km was going to be too much, I was wrong. After Tomar, the monastery of Batalha turned out to be my favourite. I had bought the convenient combined ticket of Tomar+Batalha+Alcobaca from Tomar which not only meant that I saved 3 euros but more importantly I didn't have to wait in the queue. The church entrance is free but the combined ticket will allow you to visit the incredible cloister carved in the Manueline style. The church exterior is also over-the-top with plenty of unique gargoyles to gaze at. The highlight of my visit though were hidden neatly behind the church - the unfinished chapels (picture). The intricate carving is truly world class.

Els Slots

The Netherlands - 02-Dec-12 -

Monastery of Batalha by Els Slots

This monastery lies at the heart of the town of Batalha. It borders a large square, where during the Saturday afternoon that I visited people were enjoying themselves on rollerskates and loud Christmas songs were played. There are also many cafés and souvenir shops, a sign that this is well on the tourist trail. The building itself is colossal. It is made out of stones in a rare yellowish colour, added by lots of grey on top from dirt. The pigeons love it too.

The first thing I did was walk around it slowly. It is an impressive but also weird construction. The seemingly endless decoration scheme is really over-the-top. Just as with the Hieronymite Monastery in Lisbon, I cannot say that I am becoming a big fan of this Manueline style.

Near the front end, there's a huge black equestrian statue, commemorating the battle of Aljubarrota in 1385 - which is why the construction of this monastery was started at all. The main portal also has the most beautiful carvings of little angels, saints, kings and other holy men.

The interior of the church is much soberer. Only the stained glass windows lighten up the atmosphere. Although entrance to the church itself is free, I bought a ticket for 6 EUR to see the rest of the monastery. The cloisters however I found unremarkable, especially after having seen those at the Hieronymite Monastery the day before. I ended up at the Capelas Imperfeitas, clearly a later addition. I could only look at them from a fair distance, as the entrance was closed due to a slippery floor. Finally, I was back at the front entrance of the church again, where directly to the right just after entering lies the Capela do Fundador. This is the royal mausoleum, with tombs placed in the walls and that of one royal couple (king Joao I) in the center. Just like the Capelas Imperfeitas, this space has some undefinable touches of Indian architecture (maybe it's the curvings or the elaborate decoration).

Ivan ManDy

Philippines - 06-Sep-06 -

I loved Alcobaca for her grand simplicity, a perfect combination with the delicate beauty of the church at Batalha. After getting all cathedraled-out in Spain, Alcobaca and Batalha sure proved to be welcome change from all the artistic excess of Portgual next-door neighbor. I loved all those fantastic traceries inside the church and its just too bad that 600 years on, this church isnt finished yet!

Frederik Dawson

Netherlands - 30-Aug-06 -

Monastery of Batalha by Frederik Dawson

Mosteiro de Santa Maria da Vitoria is another royal monastery built as a symbol of victory over Spain similar to the one in Alcobaca, but these two monasteries are totally different in style as Alcobaca is pure gothic and Batalha is unique Manueline.

Batalha monastery is very beautiful with stone carving in Manueline style and one of the best after the Monastery in Belem. The Royal Cloister's arches are one of the prettiest I ever seen, but the real jewel is the famous "Capelas Imperfeitas" which is the royal mausoleum which reminded me to India's amazing stone carving! Seeing Batalha is a great joy to see the exceptional work of art and one of my favorite places in Portugal.

For historical interest, this monastery is the resting place of Prince Henry, the navigator who played a major support for discovery age. His tomb is in the 'Capela do Fundador' room right next to main entrance.

Batalha monastery also has the tomb of unknown soldiers from WWI so this place is very important for Portuguese army and you can see some ceremonial guards walk around the area. So please show some respect when seeing this place.

Ismenia Silveira

Canada - 01-May-05 -

When I visited in 2002 there was a wedding in progress. The choir's voices were surreal. A visit during a mass would be worthwhile for the opportunity to hear the incredible acoustics of the cathedral. The sound was unforgettable as was the monestery. It is well worth the visit especially for anyone wishing to learn more about Portugal's history and architecture. The unfinished chapel/tomb is the last stop on the tour and well worth the effort. It's beautiful.

Site Info

Full Name
Monastery of Batalha
Unesco ID
1 2
Religious structure - Christian

Site History

1983 Inscribed


The site has 1 locations

Monastery of Batalha


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A. Mehmet Haksever AC AYB Adam Hancock Adolfo Adrian Turtschi Aidan Coohill Alberto Rodriguez Gutierrez Alessandro Alessandro Votta Alex Alexander Barabanov Alexander Lehmann Alexander Parsons Alfons and Riki Verstraeten Alicemears Aljaz Allan & Lucia Altacyr Ammon Watkins Ana Lozano Anna Wludarska Argo Ari Kailash Arianna Aspasia Atila Ege Avery MC Baudy-Floc h Bazikoln Ben Ami Bin Boj Boppare Bori Sári Bruno_Pires Carlos Garrido Catoplayer6 ChenMing Cheryl Chinmaya Christian Ochse Christoph Christravelblog Cirene Moraes Claire Bradshaw ClaireWhiteley Clark Kuhling Cluckily Clyde Cmtcosta Corinne Vail Craig Harder Cyberczar Czesioszpachelka DAB Dagmara Dan Dan Pettigrew Daniel C-Hazard Daniela Hohmann Daveycanuck David Berlanda David Pastor de la Orden DavidS Dibro Dimitar Krastev Dimitrios Polychronopoulos Dkabanov Dolemite92 Donald M Parrish Jr Donnico Dorejd Echwel Ecritures Elaine McArdle Eljx1988 Els Slots Emilia Enid MC Enrique Clemente Eric PK Errol Neo Eva Kisgyorgy FGKJR1492X FS Fan Yibo FedeCambo Federico P. Feldhase Felicité Femke Roos Filip Murlak Filipacfa Fool79 Frederik Dawson Frédéric M G.L. Ingraham Gary Arndt Geert Luiken Geo George Evangelou George Gdanski GeorgeIng61 Gernot Gi Gonçalo Elias Hadrianus Harald T. HaraldOest Harry Mitsidis History Fangirl Homadism Hsjamsil Hubert Iain Jackson Ian Cade Ilya Burlak Inigo Cia Itahue Ivan Rucek J Mitchell J. Stevens Jaakkotoivanen Jakob Frenzel Jan-Willem Jana and Matt Janina Lehmann Jarek Pokrzywnicki Jason and Corrinna Javier Coro Jaysutton79 Jean Lecaillon Jeanne OGrady Jens Jezza Jfreitas Jgera Joao Farminhao Joel on the Road JoeriNortier John Smaranda John booth Jonas Kremer Jonas Martinsson Jos Schmitz Jose Antonio Collar Joyce van Soest João Aender Jsalda Jtb105 Judit Dalla Judith Tanner Junwang111 Juropa KarenBMoore Kasia M. Kasienka5 Kbooth Kelise Kelly Henry Khuft Kim, Soo-youn Klaus Bondar Klaus Freisinger Koen Vliegenthart Krangalang Krijn Krzysztof B Kurt Lauer Kyle Magnuson La caperucita roja LaVale Lamelas Lara Adler Leontine Helleman Lichia Lidiane Ljowers Loic Pedras Lois Dekker Lorenzo Mejino Lubos Lier Lucia Ludvan Luis Filipe Gaspar Luisfreire Lukasz Palczewski M. Huineman de la Cuadra MH MMM MaYumin Malgorzata Kopczynska Marie Morlon Marina Markus Marlies van Wolfswinkel Marta Lempert Martin Lind (Switzerland) Martina Librio Martina Rúčková Matthewsharris Michael Novins Michal Marciniak Michiel Dekker Miguel Marquez Mihai Dascalu Mike Mikita M Mikko Milan Jirasek MoPython Monika and Rini NCosta Naim Y Nan Napalm NatSny624 Nelson O Niall Sclater Nihal Ege Nmocosta Nmocosta79 Nolan B. Nomad99 NonDuality PJ PabloNorte Palimpsesto Pascal Cauliez Patphilly Patrik Paul Schofield PeterH Petteri Pg280172 Philipp Leu Philipp Peterer Pieter Dijkshoorn Pink Bunny Potsdamer Priyaranjan Mohapatra Q Ralf Rotheimer Randi Thomsen Ray matlock Reza Ricardo Silva Rickard Alfredsson RobRos Roberto Diaz Robin Frank Roccobot Roger Ourset Roman Bruehwiler Roman Koeln Roman Raab Rvieira SHIHE HUANG Sabrina Liebehentschel Salla Saru Sclowitz Shandos Cleaver Shijie ZHU Shkedy_uri Sibariam Simonf Sjboyd Skalec Solivagant Stanislaw Warwas Stefan and Mia Stefania Giudice Stijn Strogan Svein Elias Szabo Viktoria Szucs Tamas Tamara Ratz Tammy Gouldstone Tarquinio_Superbo Therabidcow Thibault Magnien Thijs van den Berg Thomas Buechler Thomas Harold Watson Thomas van der Walt Thorben TimAllen Tkinou Tom Livesey Tony0001 Traveling Girl Triath Tschibi Van Hung Vernon Prieto Viaje al Patrimonio Viv Vladimir Voyager WHS Lux WILLIAM RICH Walter Walter H. Wang Qin Werner Huber Wieland Wojciech Fedoruk Wolfgang Hlousa Wolfgang Sander WolfgangHl Xavier b Zhenjun Liu ZivaB Zos M Zoë Sheng