Staying at the Pousada of Beja, is to stay in a holiday home with plenty more space and a significant historical burden. Do not be impressed by the majestic entrance: your steps will echo in the nave of the old church floor, high ceilings, that leaves guess the silence that occupied the space at the time it was inhabited by the Franciscan. But the next and attentive service at the reception will make you feel at home in this structure dating back to the XIII century. The structure of the convent has undergone renovations over the centuries, but the truth is that the original cloister arches remain, integrated in their reinforcements, in sight of those who come to stay in this beautiful Pousada.
Although the vows of poverty are part of the array that originated the convent, all the aspects surrounding your stay will be rich in detail and history. For example, the cells of those who decided to follow the path of St. Francis of Assisi, on the upper floors have been adapted to be today the space where you can relax in comfort. Here you will also find the living room in the upper choir, which sometimes hosts concerts, to enjoy the extraordinary acoustics of the room.
Going through the Pousada, you discover, at every corner, a testament to the time that has passed. At the restaurant, for example, you are able to dine in the same space as the old Franciscans. The room is impressive with its five spans dome, with naturalist motives and themes based on St. Francis' life. If you explore the cloister, completely rebuilt in the XVI century, you'll find not only the remains of the ancient arches, as luminous arcades that let the light involve the spaces and give them an even more mystical look.
The ancient nave of the church can be transformed into lounge and receive concerts, and exhibitions by local artists, which you can find at any time of year. In the summer, the pool, built in the gardens designed by Gonçalo Ribeiro Telles, is the perfect place to rest, read and enjoy the quiet warmth of Baixo Alentejo.
Do not miss the extraordinary chapel of the tombs, Gothic style, ordered to be built by D. Dinis, following a meeting and almost miraculous victory against a bear, right next to the amazing living room in the old room of the chapter, with its original frescoes and stonework that witnessed years of coups and plot twists. In fact, the convent served as a bastion of resistance for freedom in various struggles, both at the time of the French invasions, as in the civil war against the "miguelistas".
The white walls and the amplitude and plunder of the corridors are interrupted by pictures of the Portuguese school on the XVI and XVII centuries, for pieces of wood and stonework that help limiting the austerity and reviving aspects of life in the past. So, look for either the freshness in summer or heat in the winter, this is where you will find.
Tip from Pestana: It is worth visiting the Pousada of São Francisco in the summer, when the lawns welcome the warm evenings, the starry sky and beautiful barbecues and traditional snacks tastings.