Arrábida’s Convent

Franciscan priests chose an isolated slope in the middle of the Natural Park to build this retreat. It is an admirable construction that resembles a small town, composed by a sanctuary, several chapels, shanty-boxes and rock-dug cells.

The most known area is what is generally known as Convento da Arrábida, a part of the ridge composed by the Convento Velho, Convento Novo and many chapels and other cult sites. The Convento Velho was founded in the 16th century and was originally built in the Ermida da Memoria. It had a simple structure, comprising several cells and a canteen for the monks. Unfortunately, few parts of this construction are still standing.

As for the Convento Novo, whose construction began in the 16th century, it had a church, a monastery, a kitchen and many workshops. The several sections of this rustic building were magnificently connected by constructions built-in the slope, using the natural elements of the surrounding landscape.

After the extinction of religious orders in 1833 and the fall of the Casa de Aveiro, the property was seized by the Portuguese royal family. Nowadays it belongs to Fundação Oriente, a charity. Visits must be previously arranged, but they are fully worth it.