Pousada Convento de Belmonte
An austere yet elegant thirteenth century property in a town with rich Jewish history
On the slopes of the Esperança Mountains, just one kilometer from the town of Belmonte, sits the Pousada Convento de Belmonte in the renovated remains of the thirteenth century Nossa Senhora da Esperança Convent.
The hotel has preserved the convent’s heritage by seamlessly incorporating elegant but austere décor with the original architecture, and takes advantage of the property’s privileged perch with stunning views of the Cova da Beira region and Estrela Mountains.
The Pousada Convento de Belmonte is situated in a relatively remote, mountainous area of Portugal, two hours east of Coimbra on the border with Spain. The trek to Belmonte is worth it to explore the area’s rich Jewish heritage and the birthplace of Brazil’s discoverer, Pedro Álvares Cabral.
Belmonte is one of the few places where the Jewish community survived during the Inquisition, and the religion is still largely observed. It is fascinating to walk the streets on Saturdays and see that half the stores are closed, only to find on Sunday that the other half are closed, a visible sign of the presence of two religions.
Don’t leave Pousada Convento de Belmonte without: blankets and textiles. The nearby Serra da Estrela is known for producing extraordinary textiles in vibrant colors.