Beja is a city located in the Alentejo region in Portugal. It’s situated high up on a hill and has great views over the plains of Baixo Alentejo. It is a place where many battles were fought and it took a long time until it recovered and finally became a city. Today, it is famous for its hot climate and for the very important remains of Portuguese history, that are still standing with all their mighty beauty.
Although it is not a big city full of entertainment and noise, Beja has many things you can do, including extraordinary experiences. Here are our best suggestions on things to do in Beja:
1. Beja Castle: See what’s left of history in the region
Beja Castle is an imposing military building, with Roman architecture. It features the tallest tower in the Iberian Peninsula and you can visit it for free – after gathering enough courage to climb a hundred steps to reach the top! Don’t worry, it will be worth it: from the top of the tower, you will get an amazing view, overlooking Beja and the chance to take amazing photographs of the region. Don’t miss it!
Address: Rua Dom Dinis 3, 7800-263 Beja, Portugal
Website: Beja Castle (in Portugese)
2. A museum in a church: Museu Visigótico
After visiting Beja Castle, why not immerse yourself a little bit more in the history of the city? Museu Visigótico is just a few minutes’ walk from the castle, located in the former Igreja de Santo Amaro. The church dates all the way back to the 6th century when it used to be a Visigothic church and is one of the oldest buildings still standing in the whole country.
You’ll get to see mysterious carvings on the original columns and although the museum is very small, it can be very interesting, especially to art and history lovers. The admission fee includes entry to the Museu Regional.
Address: Largo de Santo Amaro 26-27, 7800-274 Beja, Portugal
Website: Museu Visigótico (in Portugese)
Contact: +351 284 321 465
Opening times: Tuesdays 2 pm - 5 pm; Wednesdays to Sundays: 9:45 am - 12:30 p.m; 2 pm - 5 pm
Prices: from 2 USD
3. Visit Queen Eleonor Regional Museum
If you’ve visited Museu Visigótico, your admission fee will include entry to Queen Eleonor Regional Museum (Museu Regional de Beja). It is the oldest museum in Portugal and is located in Convento de Nossa Senhora da Conceição. The museum will charm you, with its tiled walls, beautifully painted ceilings and stunning engraved altars. It will give you a glimpse of the layers of culture and history that remain in different artistic forms around the country and it will certainly surprise you with its aesthetic beauty.
Queen Eleonor Regional Museum
Address: Largo da Conceicao, 7800 Beja, Portugal
Opening times: Tuesdays - Sundays: 9:30 am - 12:30 pm and 2 pm - 5:15 pm
Prices: from 2 USD
4. Enter a forbidden love story at Convento de Nossa Senhora da Conceição
When visiting Queen Eleonor Regional Museum, you’ll have the chance to explore Convento de Nossa Senhora da Conceição further. It dates back to the 15th century and it was here that a nun and a soldier fell in love. This forbidden love story inspired the novel ‘Letters of a Portuguese Nun’ by Mariana Alcoforado, so you’ve got homework to do before visiting the place where the story happened! The interior will fascinate you, with its romantic look and don’t forget to see the beautiful rococo chapel, too.
Convento de Nossa Senhora da Conceição
Address: Largo da Conceicao 3, 7800-295 Beja, Portugal
5. Gago Coutinho and Sacadura Cabral Garden: A refreshing place
Images of the Gago Coutinho and Sacadura Cabral Garden are currently unavailable.
Beja can get extremely hot during the summer, to the point that you won’t know where to go to get away from the sun for a while. This garden is a great option for those scorching days. It is very pleasant with its trees and flowers, and children will especially love it because it even has hamsters, birds, and fowl, housed in cages. It is a very calm place and you can choose to play a basketball or football game for free, in the specific area designed for sports.
Gago Coutinho and Sacadura Cabral Garden
Address: Travessa do Salvador, 7800-080 Beja, Portugal
6. Museum Jorge Vieira: A hidden little gem
This small museum is the right place to visit for contemporary art lovers. It has very interesting and original pieces, with great artistic and cultural value. The entry is free and you’ll get to know the work of one of the most famous Portuguese sculptors, Jorge Vieira. There are also temporary exhibitions by other artists, that you can enjoy.
Museum Jorge Vieira
Address: Rua do Touro 33, 7800-489 Beja, Portugal
Website: Museum Jorge Vieira (in Portugese)
Opening times: Tuesdays - Sundays: 9:30 am - 12:30 pm and 2 pm - 6 pm
7. Dip into history at the Hospital da Misericórdia
Now, even if you hate hospitals, you will still be able to enjoy the beautiful architecture of this one. Besides, there is no chance of you getting sick here, as this hospital is just a historical place now. This 15th-century hospital serves as a witness of the change of artistic styles that happened in Portugal at the time – from Gothic style to Manueline.
Here you’ll be able to appreciate the stunning architecture, from the windows to the rooms with vaulted ceilings. The 19th-century tiles that fill the walls of the corridors and the old cemetery, only add to its unique charm. This is a place of great importance to the region and is somewhere you should explore without hesitating. After all, how many chances have you had to tour a 15th-century hospital in your life?
Hospital da Misericórdia
Address: 7800-285 Beja, Portugal
8. Hot air balloon flight: An unforgettable experience
If you love heights and are adventurous, you probably have ‘flying in a hot air balloon’ scribbled on your bucket list. Why not scratch it off during your visit to Beja? “Emotion – Life on Adventure” is an outdoor activity company, that offers numerous activities where you’ll get the chance to discover the nature, culture, gastronomy, history and traditions of the Alentejo region. They offer hot air balloon rides and guarantee you an unforgettable experience. What are you waiting for?
Emotion – Life on Adventure
Address: Hotel Rural Vila Galé Clube de Campo, Herdade da Figueirinha, 7801-905 Santa Vitória, Portugal
Website: Emotion – Life on Adventure
Contact: [email protected]
Prices: from 172 USD
Beja: A place for a relaxing holiday
Beja is probably one of the best cities in the world for a quiet holiday away from the hustle and bustle of life in a big city. Here, you’ll have the chance to sit down and enjoy the amazing Portuguese cuisine and it will feel like you have all the time in the world in your hands. You’ll feel like your body has been released of all the stress that reality imposes on you and you will remember it for that special reason. It is the kind of place that will force you to feel grateful for having visited it. Go and have a great time in this beautiful Portuguese city.
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