Found in southern Portugal’s inland plains area is the town of Beja, one of the primary cities in the Alentejo region.  Lovers of architectural history and warm weather flock to Beja for reasons like these:

Seen from a distance, perched high atop a hill, the Castle dominates the city landscape.  The castle was built in the 13th century by King Diniz, on the site of ancient Roman and later Moor forts.  The most noticeable feature of the Castle is the high towers that accent each of the four corners.  The towers provide a breathtaking view of the surrounding area, and provided means to warn early residents of invaders. Defence of the Castle was done from the keep (tower fortified with weapons and other tools for defence) which sits in the centre of the castle.  The castle is the highest of its kind in Portugal.  Today, the Castle now serves as a military museum.

Located next to the Castle is the Church of Santo Amaro, the Catholic patron saint of the disabled.  The church is one of the only four remaining pre-Roman churches still standing in Portugal, in fact, parts of the church date as far back as the sixth century.  Ornate carvings and geometric designs are found throughout the church.  A small museum is found inside the church.  The museum is also home to unique art from the Visigoth era.

A former home of Our Lady of the Conception, now houses the Museu da Rainha D. Leonor.  The museum opened in 1927, and contains an impressive collection of 15th to 18th century Flemish, Spanish and Portuguese paintings.  The convent that houses the museum is equally of historical and architectural significance.  The convent was built starting in 1459 and construction continued for another 50 years.  The convent has many Manueline style influences in its construction.

Summers in Beja run hot and dry.  Daytime high temperatures frequently top over 33 degrees Celsius in July and August.  Night-time lows reach roughly 16 degrees.  In winter, the weather is decent, ranging from high temperatures of 14 degrees Celsius in January to lows of 5 degrees.  Snowfall is rare, but Beja receives 57 centimetres of rain annually, with the summer experiencing less rain than other seasons.

The nearest airport to Beja is Faro Airport, 112 kilometres from the city centre of Beja.  To get to and around Beja, consider car hire at Faro Airport.

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