Find out why so many different peoples over the centuries decided to call Arraiolos their home. Book your holiday in Pousada Convento de Arraiolos, an ancient convent of the St. John the Evangelist religious order, which was devoted to assisting the poor and the sick of Arraiolos. The foundation stone was laid in August 14th, 1527 - the eve of the holiday consecrated to Nossa Senhora da Assunção, a great time to come here for some rest.
The entrance is long and winding, anticipating the level of tranquillity you will find: the Pousada, whose low building lays hidden in a valley surrounded by apparently endless agricultural fields, is punctuated by trees that will provide shade to your strolls, and by old slabs that echo the sound of your footsteps - often the only sound you will hear.
Go on a pilgrimage to the Fountain of Nossa Senhora da Conceição, as the folk of yore did on August 15th, and imagine the friars throwing traditional sweet rings to pilgrims to celebrate the event. Also be sure to visit the Lovers Fountain (Fonte dos Namorados) and ask about the legend of the bride who was so old that she had to cover her face with the wedding veil so that no one would see her wrinkles.
If your curiosity for this quirky town is piqued, be sure to explore the castle, founded by King Dinis in 1310 and the Igreja do Salvador. Maybe you'll find the lonely shepherds, with their sheep flocks and dogs, which are as much a part of the landscape as the successively reinforced walls.
In a land widely known for its tapestries, prepare to marvel at the numerous Arraiolos carpets you will find on the floor and walls of this historical Pousada, both the ones that are being used and the ones hanging for display.
Most of the rooms are fully modernised former cells, with the original dimensions but with much more comfortable beds. Lose yourself in the numerous lounge rooms and unusual nooks that will give you a feeling of absolute freedom, even though you're within the walls.
Once you have parked, it is likely that someone will drop by to give you a warm welcome and help you with the bags. The reception desk is next to the old Sala do Capítulo (Chapter Room), where the brothers used to receive their daily orders for the maintenance of life in the convent.
The great hall, long and comfortable, the fireplace nook, one of the typical Alentejo ceramic floor burners that will warm your soul and feet in the winter, the terrace in summer, perfect to read under the shadows of the trees and escape the Alentejo heat, the cloisters and stairways that will refresh and shelter you both from the hot sun and the insidious cold weather. This is your refuge for a memorable vacation.
Pestana's tip: The Pousada is famous for its tranquility throughout the year, but in the summer families and children always add some liveliness and agitation to the site.