Pousada Sao Francisco in Beja, Portugal

Beja was a surprise after the northern part of the Alentejo! We had been staying in the Pousada at Flor de Rosa and drove down to the south of the Alentejo via Estremoz. It was a rainy day and I was feeling increasingly ill as I couldn’t stop coughing, so the photographs are not worth showing you. A pharmacist in Estremoz was very helpful and a cough syrup and very strong anti-congestants gradually helped, unlike the prescriptions from the GP in the UK…

In Beja we stayed in the Pousada São Francisco – a wonderful base for exploring in the area for a few days.. The first records of the Monastery date from the 13C and it was converted into a luxury hotel in the early 1990s. Don’t be intimidated by ‘luxury’ – the prices at this hotel compare more than favourably with FlyBnB and standard hotels – do consider staying here if you plan to visit the area.

Pousada Sao Francisco, Beja

Pousada of Sao Francisco, Beja

Pousada of Sao Francisco, Beja

As befits a Monastery there is a Cloister, and this one has a well in the centre, linked to an underground cistern. Around the Cloister are covered walkways where one can imagine the monks of the past strolling, or meditating.

Pousada Sao Francisco, the Cloister

Pousada Sao Francisco, the Cloister

Pousada Sao Francisco, the Cloister

In 1834, the monasteries were ‘dissolved’ or secularised and the gold plated altars in the Monastery’s Church were transferred to the Chapel of Nossa Senhora da Piedade elsewhere in the town. There is a second, smaller Chapel in the Pousada, the Gothic Chapel, which is atmospheric and certainly takes one back to Mediaeval times.

The Chapel of the former Monastery of St Francis
The Church of the former Monastery of St Francis

The gold-plated altars taken from the Monastery of St Francis, and now in the Church of Nossa Senhora da Piedade

The gold-plated altars taken from the Monastery of St Francis, and now in the Church of Nossa Senhora da Piedade

The Gothic Chapel in the Pousada St Francis, Beja
The Gothic Chapel in the Pousada St Francis, Beja

The Chapter House is now a quiet room for sitting and reading, writing, or working. There is a wonderfully painted ceiling and the room overlooks the Cloister.

The former Chapter House
The former Chapter House
The ceiling of the former Chapter House
The ceiling of the former Chapter House

The Refectory continues its original function as the contemporary dining room, a long and peaceful room where you can enjoy delicious food – the pork cheek with pears in red wine was wonderful, as was the Bolo Réal.

The Dining Room in the Pousada of St Francis, Beja

The Bar area alongside the Cloister
The Bar area alongside the Cloister

Outside there is a swimming pool, tennis courts, and a garden offering shade in the summer.

Tennis courts at the Pousada Sao Francisco in Beja

The gardens of the Pousada Sao Francisco in Beja

Do consider staying in one of the historic pousadas – these are wonderfully atmospheric and beautiful buildings, very reasonably priced (particularly if you are a ‘mature’ traveller) and with plenty of rooms in which to relax outside the bedrooms.

Further information
Pousada of Beja

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