Michael and Pam's Travels Our European Motorhome Adventures and other Travels

Alcobaça, Portugal 🇵🇹 2019

Date: 20-23 August 2019

Travelled: 122 kms from Coimbra in the Beira to Alcobaça in the Province of Estremadura

Visited: Conimbriga, Nazaré and Alcobaça

Stayed: Alcobaça municipal aire, free + E. N39.55296, W08.97788

Budget: 75 days @ €76 per day

Having found a Lidl on our way out of Coimbra, we turn for Conimbriga. Our guide book details the ruins of a Roman town and museum, so 15 kms later we drive in the car-park and find some shade under a tree.

It’s another hot afternoon and there is little breeze to temper the heat. So it’s big hats again as we pay our entry fee (€2.25pp) and follow the signs to the ruins.

Center map

Map of Conimbriga, the icon on our parking spot

Conimbriga stands south-west of Coimbra. Whilst the town dates back to Celtic times, it was settled by the Romans in the first century, only to be abandoned in the circa 465. There are some stunning mosaic still in situ.

If it had been several degrees cooler we could have been more enthused, however it was an interesting hour moving from one area of shade to another, reading the story boards.

We sit in the shade pondering our next stop. The guide book recommends visiting Batalha for its monastery, but the overnight stops are limited. The alternate is Alcobaça which has an excellent free aire, with electricity. Pam decides on the obvious.

So after 10 days touring the province of Beira we cross into the province of Estremadura, which isn’t as easy to spell unfortunately.

Center map

Map of Alcobaça, the icon on our parking spot

An hour later we arrive in Alcobaça to find Police controlling the round-about. We say we want to go to the aire, he tells us the road is closed until 9pm for a cycle race. So we stop in a shaded spot and re-group. The breeze has picked up and the temperature drops a little over the next hour or so. There is another parking spot at the other end of town so we head up there and spend a quiet and uneventful evening.

First thing in the morning we scout a laundromat and jag the best parking spot in the aire, connect to power and turn on the A/C. We get a load of washing done, before going for a walk around Alcobaça.

Our spot in the shade with power for free, Portugal keeps on giving…

Time to walk into the old-town.
Looking across the at the 12th century Mosteiro de Santa Maria de Alcobaça. The imposing baroque church facade dominates the square and the rest of town for that matter.

It’s late afternoon and still very warm, we decide we’ve seen enough for today, settle into a little cafe for a drink before making our way back to the Hymer and the A/C.

We see another GB plated motorhome and find we’re parked next to Michael and Vanessa from Devon, so we spend the next hour or so discussing motorhoming and life in general.

The weather app tells us we have another mid 30’s day ahead, so we decide to stay put with the Hymer in the shade. We look at our options for today and decide to unload the scooter and ride the 12 kms to the beach in Nazaré.

Center map

Map of Nazaré.

It’s an easy ride across to Nazaré and parking is no problem with the scooter. The beach itself is long and sandy, mind you hardly anyone is swimming.

Found this classic piece of Austrian engineering, a 1972 Puch Maxi LS.
The LS is the long seat model for those owners with an eye for the ladies.

Our plans for a swim didn’t eventuate, there’s a harsh shore break and the water’s cold which explains why no one is in swimming. We don’t really care, we enjoyed the walk along the beach in any case. Just a little trivia, the highest breaking waves every recorded have been off Nazaré.

We have a booking for lunch, so we scooter back to Alcobaça for a shower.

Our guide books tells us that Alcobaça other claim to fame is Antonio Padeiro, his restaurant has a consistent Michelin Star rating. We checked out the menu yesterday and booked for lunch today.

Lunch was excellent and good value for this class of restaurant, less than €50 including two rounds of drinks.

Obviously we were only good for a nap after lunch, however we re-appeared for drinks with Michael and Vanessa until the sun had disappeared on another day in Alcobaça.

Another hot day ahead. We have started planning for Lisbon and but don’t want to be there until Monday, so another day in the shade makes sense. Well that’s our excuse anyway.

Despite the hot start to the day, we decide on a walk up to the ruins of a Castelo that over looks the town. It does provide some great views.

After a second coffee and lunch we decide to return to the Mosteiro de Santa Maria and tour the monastery (€3pp). We visited the huge church that divides the complex a couple of days ago. But given monastery is World Heritage listed we should have a look.

The monastery was founded in 1153. With it’s vast estates it became the richest and most powerful in Portugal, at one point the home of more than 900 monks. As our guide book states the King was sick of the backchat from a bunch of overweight clerics, hence the party was over when he abolished the monasteries in 1834.

So the monastery is done ! It’s World Heritage listing is well deserved, in fact the town of Alcobaça was a great stop.

We have a final drink with Michael and Vanessa before checking the weather app. A cool change is coming though and the temperatures are down to the high 20s tomorrow. So no more excuses we’ll continue south in the morning.

Michael and Vanessa, it’s their first motorhome adventure and they bump into us.

Michael and Pam

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