Evora is one of the most underrated places of Portugal and probably one of the best. Evora was the favorite destination of Portuguese Kings to take refuge from the city living, to simply relax and unwind.
Built during the Roman times and once the Capital of Portugal, Evora hides history in every corner of it’s historic center that seems to look the same for centuries.
For this reason and many others, the Historic Center of Evora is recognized as a World Heritage Center by UNESCO, since 1986.
So when walking this tour you will discover and experience why Evora is called the City-Museum.
Free Evora Walking Tour map:
Free Evora Walking Tour starting point:
This tour will start in Jardim Diana. There is no better place to start, than in the place that is in every Evora picture. Navigating inside Evora’s walls can be quite challenging due to its maze like streets. It’s wonderful to explore Evora, and sometimes it may seem that you find a hidden treasure on every corner you take. But getting around with a destination in mind can be difficult. So we recommend using Google maps or some kind of navigation app. If you click on the names of these tour steps, it will open the location on your Google maps.
And don’t be worried about getting lost in Evora. The city is extremely safe and the locals are more than friendly.
Free Evora walking tour stops:
Miradouro do Jardim Diana viewpoint
To begin your tour, go to the edge of the Jardim de Diana to enjoy the views of Evora countryside.
Hopefully you are here during spring, because all of these fields are covered with colorful wildflowers, giving you the impressions of staring at a live size fresco.
So while here, enjoy the view, gather all of your energy, because you will need it.
When you are ready, head to the Roman Temple in front of the garden.
The construction of this temple is considered to have been started in the first century AD, a time when the whole of the Iberian Peninsula was in control by the Roman Empire.
This temple is one of the most significant and important traces of the Roman Empire in Portugal.
This temple is located on the highest top of the old acropolis of the Roman city, that was here. And due to its construction and location, scholars believe that this was the center of the Roman City.
Of the original temple, it only remains the podium, parts of the columns and fragments of the roof. No other traces of the original temple survived because of the reuses given to this temple.
In 716 the Moors conquered the city and converted the Roman Temple as a Mosk. After the conquest of the Portuguese army in 1165, it was then converted to a Catholic Church. After the construction of the main church in Evora, it was then converted to a watch tower to protect the city. After that it was even used as an animal slaughterhouse.
Museum of Evora
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 importants museums in Portugal.
So go inside and you will not be disappointed, especially to see the Roman Ruins. And be carefull, time in this museum goes by very fast.
Tribunal of the Inquisition
When you leave the museum, On the other side of the Roman Temple, you can see the Fundação Eugénio de Almeida. This is where the first Tribunal of the Inquisition in Portugal, used to be.
Although the main building has been through many remodelations 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.
A bit down of the Roman Temple you will see the medieval Catedral de Evora, one of the most important Cathedrals in Portugal.
Constructions began in 1186 and were finished in 1250, with a transactional style from the Romanesque to the Gothic, and built almost entirely of granite. Inside you can visit the Cathedral, the cloisters, the Museum, and specially the viewpoint on the Cathedral rooftop.
There are several ticket prices, depending on what you visit, but our recommendation is to buy the one that includes everything. It is a great experience and it will make you feel that you were transported to medieval times.
Rua Cinco de Outubro
When you are done visiting the Cathedral, go down the Rua Cinco de Outubro. This street has many small shops of local products, like leather, tile, cork, rugs, wine, and many others.
Take your time on this street and you will probably find something that you like a lot. And even if the thing you like is too big to take home, Evora has several points of the Portuguese Post Service.
Before going to the Praça do Giraldo, make a little detour and go to the City Hall of Evora. Inside you will discover an almost intact Roman bath. This perfect example of Romans baths construction, was discovered when doing some renovations on the City Hall building. This is something that happens a lot in the Historic Center of Evora, when a house owner has to make renovations on the house, it is quite possible to uncover some sort of ancient ruins.
The entrance is completely free but it is closed on the weekends.
Caixa de Água da Rua Nova
On your way back to Praça do Giraldo to continue the normal route of this tour, you will see a tower like construction, built inside a corner of a building, It will seem very odd, because it looks like the top of a tower but on street level and the sidewalk seems to be very raised up.
Well this is the end of that big aqueduct that you see when arriving to Evora.
Praça do Giraldo
Praça do Giraldo is the hanging spot for the locals. Named after the Knight Giraldo Geraldes that freed Evora from the several centuries Moorish occupation, in 1167.
The huge church that you see here, Igreja de Santo Antão, to be built, an Roman Arch of Triumph had to be demolished in 1557.
While you are here, step inside this church to see a perfect example of the Late Renaissance period. The gold carving decorated altars, the huge columns supporting the ceiling, and beautiful frescos.
Do you remember the Tribunal of the Inquisition, at the beginning of this tour? Well, it was on this square that the public penitence or burnings of condemned people happened.
And don’t forget to look down to your feet while walking on this square. This is the most original and one of the oldest cobblestones in Portugal.
Igreja de São Francisco
A short walk from the Praça do Giraldo is the Igreja de São Francisco. There are little remains from the original church, built by the Franciscan Order in 1224. It was an extremely simple building, with no decoration or rich materials.
Remodeled in high glamour and riches in the end of the XV Century, when Portugal was a world trading power, this church now represents the economical power Portugal had back in the day. Take a look inside, it is free.
Capela dos Ossos
After the Roman Temple, this is the second most famous attraction In Evora. A little macabre chapel made from the skulls of 5,000 monks.
Right next to the main entrance of the Igreja de São Francisco, is where the entrance of this chapel is.
This chapel was built when three Franciscan Monks started to get worried about the souls of the society that lived in extreme wealth in Evora. They built it to make people ponder on their way of living and reflect about their choices. That’s why on the entrance of the chapel you can read: “Nós ossos que aqui estamos pelos vossos esperamos” – rough translation: We (bones) that are here, for yours we wait”.
The bones used in this chapel were from forty two cemeteries in Evora, which had to be removed for other constructions.
When you are inside this macabre chappel you will see a white coffin. Inside of it are the bones of the three monks that built this chapel.
In front of the Church and Chapel, you can find the Public Market of Evora. If you are staying here for a few days, in a home, buying your supplies here is an excellent choice for fresh and local ingredients.
If you are looking for some traditional pottery, on the corner of the first building, you can find a little shop selling beautiful traditional and handmade pottery, in all sizes.
And right between the two buildings of the market, you can see a small glass construction leading to a stair, going underground. Down there you will find one of the largest wine stores in Evora, protected by the sunlight and with a tremendous variety of local wines.
Palácio de Dom Manuel and public garden
Downhill of the Public Market, is the public garden. The last stop of this walking tour.
At the entrance you will see a Vasco da Gama statue, an important person for locals, due to a legend that the flags of his armada were blessed in the Cathedral of Evora, before departing in the discovery of the maritime route to India.
Enjoy this last stop and take a break, on the kiosk for a drink and simply take in all the tranquility that the locals enjoy. For most of them, money is not the most important, but the time you have and enjoy while you are living.
While in this garden, locate a huge palace. This is the Palácio de Dom Manuel, one of the most beautiful buildings in Evora. Order by the King, Alfonso V in 1468, to build a royal palace, it occupied most of the Saint Francis Convent. The monks were not happy for this, but they were not allowed to have a say.
So take a look inside and around it. It is free and it is a great way to end your tour.
Guided Walking Tour:
This historic center has so much history looking around every corner and that is so true, that when the residents are remodeling the houses, ancient traces of Roman, Moors and more are discovered.
So we highly recommend a guided walking tour with a local. So you don’t miss anything and visit all the most updates locations.
If you want to know more about Evora and what to do, click here