Beja: Travel and tourism

Santo Amaro Church
Santo Amaro Church
Rising on top of a hill and dominating vast views of the golden plains, the capital of the Lower Alentejo is a major center for the production of wheat, olives and cork, essential to the county.

Beja is a city of historic and social importance, but it preserves the pleasant and unassuming aspect of an inland town.

The narrow and cobbled streets of the old town stretch from the beautiful castle keep (late 13th century) to the Convent of Saint Francis (now a magnificent pousada), from the same period.

Beyond the castle keep, Beja's oldest church, Santo Amaro, has Visigothic origins and displays a collection of relics from this early period of Portugal's history (415-711).

The former Convent of Our Lady of the Conception, in the heart of the old town and now lodging the regional museum, is a remarkable building of different architectural styles (Gothic church portal, Manueline windows and a Baroque chapel), but it is specially known for the romantic «Mariana's window», where the nun Mariana Alcoforado (supposedly the author of the 17th-century poignant Portuguese Letters) is said to have sighed and waited in vain for her lover.

At about ten kilometres from Beja, the Roman ruins of Pisões are certainly worth visiting.

The county offers the visitor the traditional gastronomy of the Alentejo, with specialities such as gaspacho (a soup served cold and including garlic, tomato, cucumber and olive oil), carne de porco à alentejana (a curious blend of pork and clams), ensopado de borrego (stew of young lamb served with bread) and a variety of cured meats and cheeses.
Hotel Rural Vila Galé Clube de Campo Hotel Rural Vila Galé Clube de Campo
Albernoa, Beja
$$$$ (100 to 150 euros)

Wake up, forget the traffic jams or the crowded beaches and take a walk or go cycling around the property to see the deer, bulls, cows, pigs and horses.

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