Gruta das Alcobertas

Gruta de Alcobertas

Useful Information

Location: 3km from Alcobertas, Rio Maior. In the Parque Natural das Serras D'Aire e Candeeiros.
Open: Only for groups after appointment. [2005]
Classification:  Karst cave.
Light: electric.
Dimension: L=210m.
Guided tours:  
Bibliography: O. da Veiga Ferreira, (1971): A Gruta Pré-Histórica das Alcobertas, Coimbra, 1971
Maria Cristina Santos, Georges Zbyszewski, O. da Veiga Ferreira (1971): A gruta pré-histórica das Alcobertas, Coimbra : Junta Nacional da Educação de Coimbra, 1971
Maria Cristina Santos, Georges Zbyszewski, O. da Veiga Ferreira (1971): A gruta pré-histórica das Alcobertas, in: Actas do II Congresso Nacional de Arqueologia / apres. Jorge de Alarcão. Coimbra: Ministério da Educação, Junta Nacional de Educação, 1971. Vol. I, p. 97-106
Address: Cooperativa Terra Chã, Tel: 243-405-292, Fax: 243-405-321.
Gabinete de Turismo, Casa Senhorial d'El-Rei D.Miguel, Casa da Cultura João Ferreira da Maia, 2040-249 Rio Maior, Tel: 243-999-890, Fax: 243-999-899.
As far as we know this information was accurate when it was published (see years in brackets), but may have changed since then.
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Last update:$Date: 2015/08/30 21:58:04 $


1872first described by B. Soveral in the book Diário Ilustrado n° 127.
1878described in Portugal Antigo e Moderno.


The Gruta de Alcobertas, named after the nearby village Alcobertas, is of high archaeological interest. In the entrance area the skeleton of a man from the Upper Paleolithic was found, already belonging to modern man (Homo spaiens sapiens). They lived as hunters and gatherers and sometimes used the entrance areas of caves as shelter. The cave is located in the Serra dos Candeeiros mountain range, in the Parque Natural das Serras D'Aire e Candeeiros. It is nscribed as a Monumento Nacional (National Monument).

The cave is visited for centuries, the oldest description of such a visit is published in 1872 in the book Diário Ilustrado n° 127, written by B. Soveral. Only a few years later, the book Portugal Antigo e Moderno contained three pages of discription. At this times the cave was described as one of the most beautiful caves of Europe. Unfortunately this changed with the time, while the cave was open as a show cave, the damages continually increased. Finally the cave was closed and is now only open for groups after prior arrangement.

The cave is impressive in size with numerous impressive speleothems, noted for their transparency and the different colours. There are four chambers, named sala dos órgãos (Hall of the Organ), sala das estátuas (Hall of the Statues), sala da catedral (Cathedral Hall) and grande salão (Great Hall). The cave is home to true troglobionts, the crustaceans Proasellus spinipes.

See also

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