15 Best things to do in Loures (Portugal)

North of Lisbon, Lores is a short distance from the capital, and you can go into town to visit museums, have dinner or potter in the alleys of charming old quarters.

But it’s also far enough, surrounded by open countryside, with vineyards making Becelas DOC wines.

The city of Loures also has many heritage worth your attention, whether it is the baroque complex of Santo Antão do Tojal, the converted ceramic factory in Sacavém, or the 16th-century abbey that is now the Loures town museum.

At the northern end of the city, you are also close to the modern projects of Expo 98 Lisbon, such as the National Park and the Ponte Vasco da Gama, which have become cherished landmarks.

Let’s explore the best things to do in Lores:

1. Quinta do Conventinho

Quinta Do Conventinho

For anyone looking to delve into the local history of Loures, the Municipal Museum is located in this former Franciscan monastery built in the 1570s.

It closed in 1834, when Portugal abolished religious orders, and after being nationalized and sold, it had some wealthy owners until it fell into disrepair when the museum opened in 1998.

It showcases discoveries from the Lores archaeological site and the realities of farm life for the rural inhabitants of the region in the 19th and 20th centuries.

The monastery also has a lovely relic, in the cloister with Doric columns and Capela do Espírito Santo, whose walls are glazed in blue and white.

2. Parque da Cidade

big city park

If you need a workout or a break, City Park has lush lawns, a designated picnic park, and a range of sports facilities.

There are two teenage playgrounds and a small complex with several restaurants and cafes, so on a sunny day you may take longer than you expect.

This is attached to the Macau Pavilion and is home to the Municipal Gallery, which we’ll get to later.

Another municipal building in the park is the Palácio dos Marqueses da Praia e Monforte, an elegant estate with a modern extension that accommodates the local Loures gathering.

3. Santa Maria Church

santa maria church

The “Igreja Matriz” at Loures was built in the mid-15th century, although archaeology suggests that it replaced the medieval Templar church.

The clock tower dates back to the last years of the Philippine dynasty in the 1630s.

Most of the artwork in the three naves is from the second half of the 18th century, as the church was badly damaged in the 1755 earthquake and abandoned for several years before being overhauled.

Worth seeing are the exquisite 16th-century frescoes on the nave ceiling, the coffered vaulted ceiling above the altar, and the paintings on the side altar panels.

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4. Museu do Vinho e da Vinha

Museu Do Vinho E Da Vinha

In the village of Bucelas, part of the city of Loures, is the newest museum of the Bucelas DOC. Museu do Vinho e da Vinha curates many of the region’s ancient winemaking infrastructures and showcases the region’s connections to wine, as well as centuries of production techniques.

You’ll learn about the makeup of soils, the types of grapes suitable for those soils, and learn about the various old-fashioned tools used to grow vines and press wine.

If that tickles your taste buds, there’s also a shop in the museum, or you can head to a nearby estate.

5. Quinta Das Carrafouchas

Quinta das Calafuchas

About 5 minutes from Loures to the countryside is this wine estate commanded by an old mansion.

This is the closest private vineyard to the centre of Lisbon.

Built in the 17th century, the property is worth a visit even if wine isn’t your strong suit; it has a mix of Mannerist and Baroque designs, and the loveliest part is a courtyard with calçada Portuguesa and glazed tile panels on the walls .

Much of the wines of the 20th century were mass-produced here, before the focus turned to quality, making full use of the Tempranillo and Doriga national grapes for full-bodied reds and arinto for crisp whites. wine.

6. Galeria Municipal Vieira da Silva

City Hall Vieira da Silva

Parque da Cidade was formerly the Macau Pavilion, a pavilion built for the 1998 World Expo, and moved here after the event.

The façade is a replica of the ruins of Macau’s iconic church, St. Paul’s Church, which was destroyed by fire in 1835. This sleek, modern space has two rooms, one for short-term contemporary art exhibitions and the other for gatherings.

There are exhibitions for local, national and international artists, so the gallery is worth a visit if you’re in the area.

7. Museu de Cerâmica de Sacavém

Museu De Cerâmica De Sacavém

Until the end of the 20th century, the Tagus River in Sacavém was a kiln forest for the pottery industry.

The largest factory finally closed in 1994, and the municipality of Lores decided to build a museum dedicated to ceramic craftsmanship at its location.

It opened in 2000 and won many awards in its first few years.

One of the cool things is the way it incorporates the original kiln into the building (you’ll be impressed by the scale of this kiln), and the various pottery and tiles made here are on display.

In addition, as a remnant of the Sacavém industry, the museum houses the archives of all the factories in the town.

8. Castelo de Pirescoxe

Castelo De Pirescoxe

In 1442, nobleman Nuno Vasques de Castelo Branco built this striking home for his family on a hill overlooking the Tagus River.

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The structure is called a castle, but it’s actually more of a palace, with some defensive elements, as in late Gothic Portuguese fashion.

When the line disappeared, the castle was abandoned and slowly reduced to ruins.

But in 2001, the city government intervened, restoring the ruins without rebuilding the palace and adding a small gallery for up-and-coming local artists to hang their works in a very stately place.

9. Santo Antão do Tojal

Palacio Damitra

The wider Loures region is rich in history, as well as many small monuments with interesting backstories.

Palácio da Mitra is the former summer residence of the Archbishop and Patriarch of Lisbon, built in 1554. In the 18th century, its huge baroque fountain was connected to the aqueduct, which is still largely intact today, and diverts water for 2 kilometers.

Palaces, fountains, aqueducts and the town’s Baroque churches all form a wonderful whole in Praça Monumental.

This place looks like it might be the setting for a period drama.

10. Riberinho Park

Riberinho Park

East of Loures is the mouth of the Tagus estuary, a marshland for waterfowl, several islands in the river, and traces of fishing and ancient riverside industries.

There is a great park in Póvoa de Santa Iria, inaugurated in 2013. Well, it’s more of a walkway than a park. The 5.6-kilometer-long boardwalk is paved in the swamp to help pedestrians, joggers and cyclists reach some of the previously inaccessible parts of the riverbank.

The project also restores an old fishing pier and its attached log cabin, and also features a wetlands feature and interpretive centre, playground and cafe.

11. Mostero de Saint Denis

mostero de sandinis

About ten minutes from Lisbon is this royal monastery, which houses the mausoleum of the reigning King Denis I of the 13th and 14th centuries.

Legend has it that he was chased away by a bear while he was out hunting in Beja.

In the ensuing battle, he vowed to build a monastery if he survived.

When it was founded, the Cistercian monastery was far from anywhere, but it was frequented by members of the royal family, including the 18th-century King John V, who had an affair with the monastery.

A 16th century renewal and the earthquake of 1755 meant that only the apse and three chapels remained Gothic.

But the cloisters are beautiful, with ribbed vaults and Morin arches, and you can see the wonderful tomb of Denis I, and the tomb of his daughter Maria Alfonso.

12. National Parks

National Park

The Expo 98 site transformed a disused riverside area into a vibrant urban environment.

In the best possible way, you’ll feel like you could be in Hong Kong or Singapore for a while.

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The Lisbon Oceanarium is the second largest in Europe, as well as a spacious shopping mall, observation tower, science museum, cable car and numerous bars and restaurants, many more to keep you here for more than a day.

Come after dark when the district’s towers and showrooms are illuminated.

13. Vasco da Gama Bridge

Vasco da Gama Bridge

It is impossible to ignore the huge bridge that juts out from the right bank of the river near Sacavém.

Ponte Vasco da Gama is the definition of a megastructure; if you take its viaduct into account, it is the largest bridge in Europe, curving 12.3 km at the mouth of the Tagus River, connecting the east of Lisbon with the district of Setúbal.

The giant was also completed in time for Expo ’98 at a staggering cost of over $1 billion.

One of the bridge’s many useful consequences is that it eases traffic in the congested capital, diverting off-road traffic away from the city center.

If you don’t mind paying the toll, the view of the capital on the way back to Lisbon is something you won’t forget.

14. Lisbon

Lisbon

Despite all the things you can do in Loures and its countryside, the Portuguese capital is still very close to you.

The yellow line of the metro will eventually serve the centre of Loures, but for now you can go to Odivela a few minutes south and get on the train there.

After that, you can choose from any number of famous attractions, atmospheric neighborhoods, and fascinating museums.

In just a few moments, you’ll be at the attractions of the northern suburbs, such as the zoo, the world-class Calouste Gulbenkian Art Museum and home to SL Benfica and Sporting Lisbon.

No visit to Lisbon is complete without exploring the Alfama or Bairro Alto districts, or the magnificent Baroque cityscape around Praça do Comércio.

15. Monteiro Moore

National Railway Museum

The highland suburbs north and west of Lisbon are dotted with pretty estates that once belonged to royalty or aristocracy.

Monteiro-Mor in Lumiar is one of them, commissioned in the 1700s by the Royal High Hunters and the Portuguese National Monument.

There’s a lot to do in this place, with two museums on the property, as well as an 11-hectare botanical garden.

The National Costume Museum and the National Theatre Museum are worth a visit, especially if you’re particularly interested in women’s fashion or set design in the 1700s.

The gardens are magical, dating back to 1793, blending woodlands full of exotic species with more formal terraces, hedges, sculpture gardens and flower beds.

Where to Stay: The Best Hotels in Lores, Portugal
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