The Espinheiro Convent is located just 2km from the historic city of Évora in the province of Alentejo, Portugal. Despite being classified as a UNESCO World Heritage Site, the convent today serves as a hotel.
Legend says that on the land where the Espinheiro Monastery now stands, the Virgin Mary appeared in a burning bush. The site has since become a destination for numerous pilgrimages. To honour this place, the Order of Saint Jerónimo built a church here in the 15th century, and later a convent. The convent gained its splendour from the visits of several Portuguese kings. For their needs, special rooms were built where the royal family could stay overnight.
In the first half of the 19th century, the Espinheiro Convent was abandoned by the monks and it passed into the hands of the Portuguese state. The uninhabited building fell into ruins for decades until it was bought by Manuel Gabriel Lopes. This investor restored the monastery and added more modern hotel wings.
Today, Convento do Espinheiro is a five-star hotel. The royal family’s rooms are rented out to travellers (those are the windows you see in the photo). The former cellar of the monks was turned into a restaurant and the Gothic cistern was adapted as a place for tasting wines and regional products. Are you curious what it is like to spend the night where the royal family used to stay?