Are you wondering what to do in Mafra?
Mafra is a city located 20 minutes north of Lisbon and 10 minutes from Ericeira. Although it is a quieter, more relaxed city than Lisbon, there are points of interest to visit which make it an excellent day trip for big and small tourists alike. The interesting historical attractions and many things to do in Mafra will certainly mean a great time for everyone!
In a rush?
In case you don’t have time to read it all, here is our top recommendation for things to do in Mafra.
🏰 The Royal Palace of Mafra – Click here for tickets.
🌊 Tour of the West Coast including Ericeira and Mafra – An incredible day spent along the coast from Lisbon up towards Ericeira and finishing off with a visit of the Royal Palace of Mafra.
🍷 Wine tasting tour – The Ericeira, Mafra Rural Beach and Wine Tour will take you along the coast and countryside to taste some of the regional wine.
Table of Contents
Is Mafra worth visiting?
Yes, Mafra is definitely worth visiting for its historical value, interesting protected areas, and enjoyable activities. The monumental Palace of Mafra is a must-see for any tourist, as it is one of the most impressive palaces in Portugal.
The nature reserves are also a major attraction in Mafra, as they are home to a variety of flora and fauna. Finally, the activities on offer in Mafra are sure to please everyone in the family, from markets and wine tasting to cycling, hiking, and even paintball!
11 Incredible Things to Do in Mafra Portugal 2023
Read on to find out what to do in Mafra.
The Palacio de Mafra, also known as the Royal Palace of Mafra, is a neoclassical palace built in 1717 and took more than 60 years to complete. The palace served as the royal family’s choice of summer residence at the end of the 19th century when hunting game was fashionable.
Today, the palace is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and is noted for its Baroque architecture and immense size. The exterior of the palace is decorated with sculptures and carved marble, while the interior features lavish ornate decorations and furnishings.
The palace was built around a beautiful basilica with 6 organs and a 98-bell carillon and is divided into the King’s South quarters, and the Queen’s North quarters, separated by 232 meters!
The Palacio de Mafra is open to the public from 9:30 am to 5:30 pm. Visitors can explore its vast interior spaces which include a furnished hunting room, music room, game room, and living quarters.
It is one of the most popular palaces in Portugal due to it being furnished, and a must-see for any visitor in the area. Admission is 6 Euros and the visit takes about 1 to 2 hours.
✅ Click here to book Mafra Palace tickets.
Click here for more information on visiting the Palacio de Mafra.
How do you get to Mafra National Palace?
Located right in the center of Mafra, the palace is easily accessible by car or public transportation.
By car: The palace is well signposted from the main highways in the area and there is a large parking lot right next to it.
By public Transportation: Various buses travel from Lisbon to Mafra or Ericeira. The bus stop for the Mafra National palace is located just a few meters from the entrance.
You can also take an excellent private tour from Lisbon to Mafra which includes both the Mafra National Palace and the fortified village of Obidos. It includes all entrance tickets and an excellent guide of both attractions.
✅ Click here to book your tour of Mafra Palace.
2. Monastery Hospital and Library
These two attractions are actually part of the Palacio de Mafra tour but deserve special mention since they are so striking.
The Palacio de Mafra was originally a monastery built by the King for the Franciscan monks. They originally used the main floor as a hospital for the regional population which is fascinating to visit since the furnishings give us a glimpse of the practices at the time.
They also built up a fabulous library, which remains one of the oldest, most valuable, and most beautiful in Europe. The library is home to a collection of more than 36,000 titles, making it an important resource for researchers worldwide.
3. Jardim do Cerco
The Jardim do Cerco is a charming Versaille-inspired garden located just behind the Palacio de Mafra. Its 8 acres were originally planted and transformed in the 18th century as a space for meditation, as well as a vegetable garden for the monks.
It is beautifully maintained and is home to a variety of plants and trees. It has a great children’s park, an aviary, and a picnic area under shady trees, making it an ideal pitstop if your group includes kids.
You’ll also find several fountains and a noria, a hydro-powered scoop wheel, which still waters the whole garden over 100 years later! It is a great place to relax and take in the natural beauty of Mafra. The garden is open from 9:00 am to 7:00 pm, and admission is free.
4. Mafra Handcraft and Regional Products Fair
This monthly fair is a lively open-air market that takes place the first weekend of every month from April to September. Here you can find all sorts of local produce, cured meats, and cheese, as well as delicious freshly baked Mafra bread. There’s also a great variety of artisanal products on offer, including handmade jewelry, soaps, and candles.
The market is a great place to buy souvenirs or just stock up on food for a picnic. It’s open from 9:00 am to 1:00 pm, and is located right in the town center.
5. Wine tasting at Mazwine
Located in the center of Mafra, Mazwine is a small local wine producer with excellent white and rose wines. They offer wine tastings in a charming setting, making it the perfect place to relax and enjoy some delicious Portuguese wines.
The wine tasting needs to be booked ahead of time and is held daily from Monday to Saturday. The experience lasts for about an hour and a half and includes a selection of 6 wines, and can come accompanied by a variety of regional products.
It’s a great way to experience some of the best wines that Portugal has to offer, and the knowledgeable staff is always happy to answer any questions. Tasting options range from 15 to 25 Euros.
6. Visit a Family Wine Estate at Quinta da Sant’Ana
If you’re looking for a wine-tasting experience that is a bit more unique, why not visit Quinta da Sant’Ana, a family wine estate located on the outskirts of Mafra. They produce a range of excellent red, white, and rosé wines, all of which are made from local Portuguese grape varieties.
A visit shows guests around the vineyards, winery, barrel room, as well as the 17th-century chapel. A selection of 5 to 6 wines is paired with regional products, or guests can choose to enjoy a tasting menu with wine pairing through the vineyards. Experiences last from 1.30 to 2.30 hours and prices range from 25 to 150 Euros.
They also offer the incredible experience of a takeaway picnic eaten in their vineyards! What a way to spend an afternoon.
⭐ Contact us to book your wine tasting and get a 10% bottleshop discount!
7. Tapada de Mafra
The Tapada de Mafra is a beautiful nature reserve located just 5 minutes outside of Mafra. It was originally the royal hunting grounds but has recently been declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The reserve is home to a variety of indigenous species of flora and fauna and is a great place for a day out in nature.
There are a number of trails that wind through the forest, making it perfect for a hike or a bike ride. Watch carefully during your time here to see the deer, wild boar, foxes, and birds living in the ecological haven.
Presentations on birds of Prey, and bees make for an interesting experience, and Canopy tours, horse and buggy rides as well as a train ride through the forest allow guests to enjoy the biodiversity in different ways. Most activities here are available as of the age of 7 and make for a perfect family outing.
The reserve is open from 9:00 am to 7:00 pm, and prices range from 9.50 to 17.50 Euros for adults, and 7.50 to 12.50 Euros for kids.
Click here for more information on visiting the Tapada de Mafra.
9. Visit Ericeira
Ericeira is a charming whitewashed fisherman village located 10 minutes drive from Mafra. The beaches and delicious seafood make it a perfect place to plan to have lunch or dinner. Check out our post on the different Ericeira beaches, or this post on where to eat in Ericeira to plan your trip.
Wander through the winding narrow streets and traditional fishermen’s houses in the village, and take in the quaint Portuguese atmosphere. There is lots to do in Ericeira! Make sure to check out our post on the best things to do in Ericeira as well as its great bars for a night out.
What to do in Mafra as a Family
Although many of the above options can be done with or without children, the following activities are particularly enticing if children are part of your group.
8. Iberian Wolf Recovery Center
The Iberian Wolf Recovery Center, located just 5 minutes outside of Mafra, is a center dedicated to the conservation and research of the Iberian Wolf. The center is open to the public and offers educational programs on the importance of this indigenous species.
They also provide a semi-captive environment for wolves that have been injured or orphaned, in order to help them reintegrate back into the wild. The center is a great place for kids to learn about nature and the importance of conservation. They offer interactive exhibits and presentations, as well as guided tours of the grounds.
It’s a great way for families to spend a day together and learn about one of Europe’s most important native animals. Visitors must book in advance, and are welcome daily after 3 pm, and cost 8 Euros for kids and 10 Euros for adults.
Click here for more information on the Iberian Wolf Recovery Center.
10. Adventure Park Cova da Baleia
The Adventure Park Cova da Baleia is one of the best things to do in Mafra, Portugal for a family day out. They offer a range of activities such as paintball, canopy tours, wall climbing, zip-lining, bow and arrow, orientation, bouncy castles, and even scuba diving!
The park is perfect for kids and adults of all ages. The activities are safe, well organized, and provide a great adrenaline rush. The park is open every day from 10:00 am to 7:00 pm. Prices go from 6 Euros to 30 Euros depending on the activity.
Click here for more information on the Cova da Baleia Adventure Park.
11. Aldeia Tipica Jose Franco
Although this place isn’t everyone’s cup of tea, it’s one of our favorite things to see in Mafra, Portugal! The visit only takes about 20 minutes, and it’s free. Located just outside of Mafra on the way to Ericeira, this place is a great stop to get the ants out of the kids’ pants!
It is a unique miniature reproduction of a Portuguese village. Kids love it because everything is pint-sized and mechanically triggered with buttons! You can walk into the blacksmith’s shop and see all the tools used long ago, and see how a windmill or water wheel works.
The village features a traditional schoolhouse, a bakery with amazing chouriço bread, a winery, and more. There is also a small shop where you can buy souvenirs.
Mafra Portugal- Tours departing from Lisbon
If you’re interested in joining an organized tour from Lisbon, check out these 3 tours which include some of the different options discussed above all under 100 Euros.
✅ Mafra and Sintra 3 palaces tour: A day trip which allows you to choose 3 of the most visited castles/palaces between Mafra and Sintra at an excellent price.
✅ Ericeira and Mafra Amazing West Coast tour: A day trip which takes you along the coast between Lisbon and Ericeira before stopping to visit the Mafra Palace. This private tour has an excellent guide.
✅ Obidos Historic Village and Mafra Palace tour: This day trip is a perfect combo of visiting the nearby fortified city of Obidos and the Mafra Palace. This is one of the most popular tours.
Where to stay in Mafra Portugal
Mafra has very few options, but there are some places worth staying in.
This inn is an excellent option since it was recently renovated and very centrally located. It is very clean, has an excellent breakfast which is included in all fares and comes highly recommended in town.
✅ Click here to book your stay at Hotel Mafra.
If you’re looking to step it up a notch, Quinta dos Machados’ rustic chique is sure to please with its newly renovated spa, excellent restaurant, and fabulous accommodation and experiences. Relaxing in style has never felt better- not to be missed!
✅ Click here to book your stay at Quinta dos Machados.
Quinta de Sant’Ana
Quinta de Sant’Ana is another upscale option: their traditional Portuguese villas feel like a real farmhouse among the vines. There are 5 to choose from, and up to 6 people can sleep in one of these homes.
It is one of the most authentic, and enjoyable experiences in the area: one of the homes is actually right in the vineyard! Truly an experience that will make your trip to Portugal all the more special.
Check out other boutique hotels in the area.
Mafra Things to Do in 2023: The Wrap-Up
Mafra is a great city to visit if you’re looking for things to do. With its proximity to Lisbon, as well as the charming village of Ericeira, there’s plenty to keep tourists busy all day long.
From historical attractions and activities for kids to outdoor adventures and unique experiences, Mafra has something for everyone. So what are you waiting for? Start planning your trip now!