As the porter led us to our hotel room, we passed through a hall covered in intricate tiles depicting life in Portugal in the 1700s. Above us was a magnificent wooden ceiling that had survived for 850 years. We continued down a majestic hall that once housed the monks' cells in this 12th century monastery and which is now home to the guest rooms.
Scurrying behind the porter, we arrived at our room awestruck, having just been transported through eight centuries of history - far too much to absorb in just one passing. This is a feeling we experienced over and over again as we toured the pousadas of Portugal this fall, staying in hotels housed in monasteries, castles and palaces.
While the mention of Portugal often brings to mind the beaches of the Algarve, the country is also home to some of Europe's oldest civilizations. Lisbon, for example, dates to 1200 BC, making it one of the oldest cities in the world, predating London, Paris and Rome by hundreds of years. The pousadas marry this rich history with luxury to create a hotel experience like no other.
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