One of the best destinations in Portugal and very underrated is Evora. In this guide, you will discover all the Best Things to do in Evora, where to stay, and how to get there.
Evora is located a bit further from Oceanside. Named by the Celtic tribes who inhabited the territory during ancient times, Evora was severely influenced by the Romans and the Moors at various stages before being held by the Portuguese in the 12th century. Such an evolution counting different impacts made it part of the most ancient European towns.
How to get to Evora from Lisbon
As Evora does not have an airport, the best option for its proximity is the Lisbon airport. From there you have three options:
Our recommendation, because renting a car in Lisbon can be cheap, and there are so many great things to do in Evora, and some are far away from the city center. Also, the trip to Evora, if you don’t take the highway, is very enjoyable. This option will take you an hour and an hour and a half to two hours, to get from Lisbon to Evora.
Another option is by train. From the Lisbon airport, you will need to take the subway or a taxi to Oriente Train Station.
From here there are hourly trains to Evora and it will take you about two hours. The train station in Evora is a bit outside of the city center, so the best option then is to take a taxi or a bus from the bus station outside.
A bit closer to the city center, that the train station, by bus it will take the same two hours and from the bus station in Evora you can walk to the city center, but it is complicated, especially if you have a trolley luggage.
Best places to stay in Evora:
Evora has amazing choices for accommodation. From little rooms in the most traditional small houses in the city center to real oasis, lost in the middle of nature.
Inside the city center:
If you don’t have a car, this is the best option, because public transportation in Evora can be a little difficult. So look for hotels and homes, in the Historic City Center and you will be close to everything. The majority of the accommodation available inside the Historic City Center are small rooms, but full of charm.
Outside the city center:
But if you do have a car, then your choices increase by a lot. In this case try to be on the outskirts of the city, or even within a 10 minutes ride. You will find great hotels, homes, and little resorts, that will make you feel that you have all the time in the world.
Best things to do in Evora
Evora has a lot of things to do. From exploring its streets to uncover lost Roman treasures, food and wine tasting, road trips, and absolute relaxation, you will always have something to do.
Historic City Centre
A large number of landmarks scattered over the entire urban area is worthily recognized by UNESCO since 1986 and worldwide travelers alike. Spending a couple of days in Evora will enable you to soak up the calm ambiance and replenish your trip with unique monuments, flavors, and sights.
When you are in Evora, we recommend our Free Evora Walking Tour on our blog.
Being, perhaps, the oldest construction within the town, the Roman Temple mistakenly called sometimes the temple of Diana occupies a small surface in Evora center. It dates back to the 1st century and reveals the architectonic peculiarities of its times with its survived base and marble columns. Having served as a fortification post and butcher store, the temple was classified in the 19th century among the preserved sights of Evora attracting millions of tourists each year.
Tribunal of Inquisition
Although the main building has been through many renovations since the Inquisition was abolished in 1821, little of the original building remains. But if you step inside, you can still see the original and preserved Courtroom on the ground floor, with six granite framed windows and closed with black wrought iron railings, where people were judged.
Right next to the Roman Temple you will see the Museum of Evora. If you were wondering if the Roman Temple was the center of the old Roman City, where is the rest of it? Right inside this museum. Built on top of Romans ruins, the origins of this museum goes back to 1840
This museum has an eclectic collection with over 20,000 pieces of art and historic interest, it is one of the most important museums in Portugal.
The major spiritual center aka the Cathedral of Evora enjoys the highest position within the town borders. Upon liberating the historic town from Arab rule, the Portuguese rulers committed to the construction of the Se Cathedral in the 12-13th centuries. The original modest building was enlarged in the following period thus acquiring Gothic characteristics dominating in Portugal at the time. Resonating with the Lisbon Cathedral both outside and inside, the Se of Evora offers eye-catching Baroque decorations in its central and lateral spaces.
Praça do Giraldo
Praca do Giraldo is the hanging spot for the locals. A rectangular space with a decorative fountain in the middle surrounded by white Romanesque and Gothic houses offers various drinks or savoring some delicious local food. The peaceful area today was once the spot of great rebellions and protests preceding the formation of present-day Portugal.
Igreja de São Francisco
St. Francis Church comprising the Bone Chapel. The sacred building is located in the downtown area and displays a large construction in Gothic and Manueline styles. The central nave of the church boasts the longest size in Portugal. Some appealing gilding, woodwork, and tile paintings are of interest inside it along with several Renaissance and Baroque features.
Capela dos Ossos
Evora has something for every taste. Thus, if you don’t fear extreme emotions don’t mind paying a visit to the town-based Bone Chapel. The walls here are filled with skulls forming the main decoration of the space. Leaving the graveyards for other burials, the chapel stands for the perfect combination of functionality and creativeness in Portugal. Since there seems to be no similar place throughout the country and the entire continent, it is among the must-visit spots in Evora.
Palácio de Dom Manuel
One of the most beautiful buildings in Evora. Order by King, Alfonso V in 1468, to build a royal palace, it occupied most of the Saint Francis Convent. The monks were not happy about this, but they were not allowed to have a say.
Free Evora walking tour
When you are in Evora, we recommend our Free Evora Walking Tour on our blog.
Evora is also famous for its engineering marvels presented by the town walls and the aqueduct. Dating back to the 3rd century with several alterations made in the course of the Visigoth, Moorish, and the Portuguese dominion, the extensive city walls exemplify one of the best models of defensive architecture. Various towers in different shapes simply add up to the whole military image.
Agua de Prata Aqueduct
Being situated in the core of central Portugal, the Agua de Prata or the Silver Water Aqueduct has always played a crucial role in the town’s daily life. Designed by Fernando de Arruda who was also responsible for the worldly famous Belem Tower construction this wonder of the 16th-century architecture linked the town with the Ribeira do Divor as its main source of water. Covered in houses, shops, and other buildings, the 26m high arches of the aqueduct still are in the spotlight of onlookers.
Universidade de Évora
The Evora University is the second oldest university in Portugal. Built-in 1559 for the wealthy residents of Evora and the Royal Court of Portugal, because Evora was the temporary residence of the King, this University was built with no care for expenses. But after two hundred years of Jusist administration, in 1759 it closed when the Jesuits were expelled from Portugal.
Reopened in 1973, this university is still completely preserved as it opened originally and seems to be an authentic time capsule.
Igreja da Misericórdia
One of the most hidden treasures in Evora is the Igreja da Misericordia. With a modest outside, the inside presents a majestic set of Baroque art from the 17th and 18th centuries, being one of the most beautiful churches in the city of Évora. The side walls are covered with beautiful blue and white tiles, representing the works of spiritual and the material. The back wall is completely filled by a notable gold carving altar, topped by the oil representation of the Virgin of Mercy.
Rota dos Vinhos do Alentejo WIne Tasting Center
Right in one of the most interesting streets of Evora, there is a little oasis for wine lovers. The Rota dos Vinhos do Alentejo Wine Tasting Center is a great choice for tasting some of the best regional wines.
Cromeleque dos Almendres
Traveling back in time the Neolithic Almendres Cromlech nearby Evora wins the contest. The circular and oval rings of 95 stones following the traditions of the then prevailing celestial religion form an attractive site that you can visit for free at any time. The specific carvings on various stones requiring further identification add up to the mystic character of this unique spot throughout the southwestern European territory.
Located 20km away from Evora, Arraiolos offers an attractive historical town characterized by the likeness to the typical architecture of Portugal. The main landmarks are presented by several churches and the castle. The latter overlooks the entire space and boasts a rather rare circular shape. The traditional image of the town is enriched with its tapestry industry borrowed from the Arabs. Dating back to the 8-15th centuries the woven fabrics with colorful motives including the floral ones are definitely going to appeal to your visual senses.
Herdade do Esporao
Herdade do Esporao promises a genuine delight for those seeking a memorable enogastronomic adventure. Although the history of this renowned wine-making post counts over 700 years, the present-day wine-making traditions are associated with the names of Joaquim Bandeira and Dr. Jose Alfredo Parreira Haltermann. Their input on wine-making in the Alentejo region in the mid-1930s was great. Having replenished their estate with an appropriate infrastructure comprising the medieval tower, chapel and wine cellars the Herdade do Esporao escape will leave no place for worries.