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The town of Mafra lies 30 kilometres northwest of Lisbon (just 40 minutes by bus) and is a beautiful and relatively ‘off the beaten’ tourist track spot. Mafra is principally known for its baroque palace and the town has grown around it. This impressive edifice is one of Europe’s grandest and most extravagant buildings and the best places to stay in Mafra make a perfect base for exploring these historic sights and the surrounding countryside.
Constructed between 1717 and 1755, it was initially intended as a convent but then became a royal residence. The scale is staggering, with 1200 rooms, a huge monastery, ornate basilica and library of over 36,000 ancient books - which have been preserved by bats (from insects) for 300 years!
Around the palace is the formal ‘jardim do cerco’ and also the Tapada de Mafra national park. Originally a royal hunting ground this is now a lovely venue for observing the wildlife, hiking, biking and also archery.
The town centre itself is pretty and laid back. There are interesting shops and traditional restaurants galore within its charming streets - an ideal stop for a long lunch!
What not to miss
- Spend a day exploring the Palace of Mafra, Portugal's most important Baroque monument. A grand baroque palace and religious complex with ornate church and amazing library, the building covers an enormous area and is simply awe-inspiring.
- Tapada Nacional de Mafra is the former royal hunting grounds around the palace. As well as a wonderful place for spotting local flora and fauna, you can enjoy walks, watch falconry shows or even practise some archery.
This is a busy town especially during the peak summer season. If you want to guarantee a room in one of the best places to stay in Mafra, get organised and book well ahead.
The Best places to stay in Mafra
For a rural family getaway
- Aldeia da Mata Pequena is a collection of pretty whitewashed houses which offer great value self catering in the agrarian outskirts of Mafra. Explore the lovely local countryside or relax and chill. A taste of the real Portugal!
For a holiday villa or apartment
- If you'd like to investigate self-catering options, check out the wide range with our partner Booking.com.
- Fly to Lisbon, about 36km south east of Mafra.
- Mafra enjoys a typically Portuguese climate: lovely hot summers - 25 degrees celsuis is the average high, and mild in winter.
- If you'd like to hire a car to explore further afield, contact our partner, Rentalcars.
Still not sure?
Best Hotels in Mafra
Aldeia da Mata Pequena Mafra (Lisboa) 12 rooms from £61
You can find these beautiful white-washed houses in agricultural Saloia. Offering comfort of a home with a kitchen, backyard and barbecue facilities. There is nothing much to do here except explore the countryside or just relax in the lounge chairs at the property. Good for a couple of days.Back to Nature - In a secluded rural village between Mafra and Lisbon - a great spot to enjoy nature and simply beFamilies - Take over the place - a home away from home for holidaying familiesFull of characterTraditional