Santa Clara Convent in Vila do Conde reopens as a hotel unit

14 de March, 2024

The Soares dos Reis National Museum has its origins in the Museum of Paintings and Prints and other Fine Arts objects, created in 1833 by Pedro IV of Portugal, the first Emperor of Brazil, to safeguard the assets sequestered from the absolutists and convents abandoned during the civil war (1832-34).


With the extinction of the religious orders, works were collected, among others, from the monasteries of Tibães and Santa Cruz de Coimbra. Known as the Museu Portuense, it was housed in the extinct Convent of Santo António da Cidade, in the square of S. Lázaro, and was formalised by decree in 1836 by King Maria II.


Among the objects in the Soares dos Reis National Museum’s collection are three pieces from the Santa Clara Convent in Vila do Conde: a Lectern, a bier and a sculpture of the Virgin and Child.

Located on a small hill on the outskirts of Vila do Conde, with views over the Ave river valley and the city itself, the Santa Clara Convent was included in a support program by Turismo de Portugal, and in 2018 the public tender was launched for its concession, rehabilitation works and operation as a hotel establishment.


With no date yet for the official opening ceremony, the hotel group that won the tender has already announced that the new five-star hotel, The Lince Santa Clara, will open on 22 March.


The convent was founded in 1318 by D. Afonso Sanches, the illegitimate son of King Dinis and his wife D. Teresa Martins, to house noblewomen with few resources. It was donated the following year to the Order of St Clare and functioned as a women’s convent until its extinction in the 19th century. The convent building was partially rebuilt in 1777 and underwent successive alterations until the end of the 20th century.


As part of a vast monumental ensemble, which also includes the Gothic Church of Santa Clara, its cloister and the aqueduct, its volumetry is a neoclassical image of the town and the valley of the River Ave.