Mafra is a pretty little Portuguese town that contains one of Europe’s largest and most extravagant palaces, the Palacio de Mafra. This vast complex includes a huge monastery, an ornate basilica and a library that contains over 36,000 ancient books and its own colony of bats!

Mafra is only 30km to the north west of Lisbon and the town makes for an enjoyable day trip from the capital. This guide will provide an introduction to Mafra and includes details of the sights, traveling information and advice for visiting Mafra as a day trip.

The palace is the main (and only) tourist attraction of Mafra, and the huge building completely dwarfs the rest of the town. The front façade of the palace extends for over 250 meters while the two bell towers, containing 92 bells, stands high above the town at 68 meters.

The place was constructed between 1717 and 1755 and was used as both a convent and royal residence. Inside there are over 1,200 rooms connected by over 150 flights of stairs, but only a small portion of the rooms are open to the public.

The sections which can be visited include the convent’s infirmary, the royal rooms and the stunning library. All of the rooms open for visitors have been lovingly restored and are filled with original furniture, art works and historical objects. The palace is a wonderful building and an excellent tourist attraction.