Beja is bursting with life

“The city is extremely charming with lots to show and offer its visitors”. By Inês Manuel.

The 2,500-year-old city of Beja is historical heritage set against a background of stunning landscapes. It is now an extremely charming town with a lot to show and to offer visitors. The maze of streets that surround the castle tell a tale of times gone by, of love and heart-breaks of wars and victories. Visitors just have to pop in to the castle and climb up the 40-metre high that offers a breath-taking view, where the sun seems closer and the winds blow stronger. There are also churches, convents and various museums with exhibitions that range from archaeological remains from Roman times to contemporary art. The town is filled with tiny details, historical details and artwork on every corner on the 'Manueline' windows on the arcades and the gates in the old walls. 

Beja is full of life and even the frontages of the houses cheer up the people who pass them as the glazed tile panels are a symbol of the town. The panels begin as soon as you step off the train in Beja station where you can find a huge glazed panel and then in the town centre there are many cheerful colours and patterns. Handicrafts are very important in this part of the country: leather, basketwork, wooden objects, cork and wickerwork, footwear, ceramicist and pottery are all produced and handed down from generation to generation in the town.

Although the town is calm and peaceful, there is a wide range of cultural activities, markets, festivals and fairs that show off the best the town has to offer. More adventurous types can even go for a hot-air balloon trip over the rolling green plains, try canoeing on the river Guadiana or even cartcross. 

After so much activity, it will feel great to try the local flavours. Beja is filled with the aroma of aromatic herbs, and pork sausages, sheep's cheese and local bread dipped in the delicious golden olive oil and washed down with local wines. Get a glimpse of the past knowledge of traditional sweets, desserts with almonds and eggs and cheese cakes all hide the secrets of ancient recipes.

One thing that is no secret here is the Alentejo chant, well represented in the town by various choirs. These involve generations and entire families and are UNESCO intangible cultural heritage, depicting Alentejo, the life of its people, farm work, love and faith. The music has no boundaries and sound beautiful to all ears, fills everyone's heart and anyone visiting the town has to take time out to hear it. Beja is a beautiful city with so much to offer in terms of unique experiences. Come and visit the town that always has a window seat.  

See the photos that accompany the text here.