Guide to Ribatejo

Heritage and Gastronomy

Good Food, Good Olive Oil and Good Wines
Ribatejo (Portugal) - Region Center of Portugal. It corresponds almost entirely to District of Santarém. The Ribatejo, created in 1936 from lands belonging to Extremadura, is a province (natural region) of Central Portugal. See more about the historical regions.
See also: Counties (Municipalities) of Ribatejo

Ribatejo is just a stone's throw from Lisbon: up to Vila França de Xira (in the south of Ribatejo, but already in Lisbon Metropolitan Area) is only 36 km away, which are covered in about 30 minutes on the A1 motorway. This proximity has always been an asset for Ribatejo.

Guia do Ribatejo
Order of Christ, Tomar , Ribatejo © / Illustration


Ribatejo is limited to the north with the Beira Litoral and the Beira Baixa, east, southeast and south with the Alto Alentejo, southwest with Setúbal and Lisbon Region and to the west with the West Region.

Almeirim, Sintra in Winter

Since the 15th century, the highway was the Tagus River. King D. João I and his court had a predilection for these lands, for several reasons. "Abundant hunting ground, Almeirim attracted kings and nobles from an early age. D. João I founded the Paço Real and, during the Avis Dynasty, this was the desired destination of Portuguese sovereigns and their court. The Tagus was filled with brigs and decorated boats carrying all those who were registered in the court housing books; the village came to life and became the scene of courtly intrigues and affairs of state" [3].

The Paço Real was the scene of many important events in the History of Portugal.
Find out more: Almeirim History

Tomar, Citadel of the Knights Templar

Tomar, the citadel of the Templars in Portugal, is a of the amazing places of Ribatejo. In his undertaking to reconquer the domains south of the Tejo occupied by the Moors, King Afonso Henriques donated Tomar and the lordship of White Castle to Knights of the Order of Christ - the Templars - so that they would help him defeat the Moors. The Castle of Tomar, built by the Templars, was the most advanced of its time (1160). Along with other castles - Almourol, Castelo Branco, Monsanto, Pombal, Abrantes, Torres Novas and Zêzere - they formed the Tejo Line, line where the defense of the domains of D. Afonso Henriques was reinforced.

From the time of the Knights Templar, the main highlights are the Castle of Tomar and the Convento do Cristo.

Guia do Ribatejo
Sardoal, Ribatejo © GEP

Santarém and Distrito

From Azambuja to Ourém, between the Tagus and Zêzere, the main urban agglomeration in this region is Santarém, A Rainha do Ribatejo, the Gothic Capital, whose municipality (municipality) has a population of 58,770 inhabitants (INE, 2021).
See Counties of Ribatejo.

Lusitanian horse and bullfights

Land of great and ancient rural tradition, from Lusitano horse, of Manueline and Gothic treasures, Ribatejo is also a land of good cuisine, good wines, excellent olive oil, monasteries, cities and towns, hunting and pleasant for vacation. The bullfights are also characteristic of Ribatejo.

Sanctuary of Fatima

However, the biggest highlight is the Sanctuary of Fatima, home to one of the most important European destinations for religious tourism.

Olive Oil and Wines

Bathed by the Tejo River, located half an hour from Lisbon, Ribatejo is a traditional wine producer (PDO since 1998) Ribatejo e Vinhos of the Tagus. Another iconic product from Ribatejo: the olive oil, also a classification that attests to its quality - Azeite Ribatejo DOP (Protected Designation of Origin).

Fandango, typical dance

Ribatejo is the land of fandango, a typical song of the region, danced to the challenge for a couple of fields. This dance originates from the Iberian Peninsula and, in Portugal, is typical of Ribatejo. Don't miss a presentation of this typical and folkloric dance from Ribatejo!

Lands of Ribatejo

There are 3 natural sub-regions of Ribatejo:

Top Cities

Greater Lisbon

In addition to the largest urban agglomeration in the country (Lisbon), Sintra, Cascais, Loures, Almada and Oeiras complete the podium of the Top 5 largest cities in Portugal.

Great Port

In the north of the country, in Greater Porto, other important cities are Vila Nova de Gaia, Braga, Matosinhos, Gondomar and Guimarães.

Learn more

Main cities