Baixo Alentejo’s principal town is easy-going, welcoming and untouristed, with a walled centre and some beguiling sights, all of which are within an easy walk of each other; these often follow old Roman routes. Often dismissed as Évora’s ‘plainer cousin’, Beja has an inferiority complex, but it shouldn’t. Its inexpensive guesthouses, quaint plazas and excellent eateries make for a relaxing stop and a very genuine Portuguese experience.
Beja is at the heart of the regional tourist area called Planície Dourada (Golden Plain) – meaning it’s surrounded by a sea of wheat fields. On Saturday there’s the bonus of a traditional market, spread around the castle.