Are you looking to visit one of Portugal’s most beautifully preserved medieval cities? Then you must go to Évora. This beautifully historic city is an UNESCO World Heritage site due to its well-preserved old town center and having so many significant monuments. So much so, it makes it difficult to see this city in just one day.
Évora is the capital of the Alentejo region. Only a 90-minute car or train ride away from Lisbon, Évora could easily be done as a day trip. But think this town is better experienced with an overnight stay. There is so much to explore and features some amazing dining options that merit more time here.
Let’s explore a bit more about Évora, shall we?
Évora has been shaped by more than 20 centuries of history. Extending as far back as Celtic times. It fell under Roman rule in 57 BC and expanded into a walled town. The city walls and ruins of Roman baths still remain today. During the Visigoth period in 584, the town was elevated to a cathedral city. Under Moorish rule (715 to 1165), further improvements were made to include a fortified gate and a 13th century Cathedral. But it was in the 15th century, when the Portuguese kings began living in Évora on an regular basis. That is when Évora began to grow as a city. At that time, convents and royal palaces sprung up everywhere: St Claire Convent, the royal church and convent of São Francisco, and Os Lóios Convent with the São João Evangelista Church.
Around the walled historic city center runs a ring road built in the 20th century. You enter the city on one of the several spoke roads. What you will immediately notice is the stunning architecture of the low whitewash houses, decorated with painted tiles, mustard-yellow trim, wrought-iron balconies and red tile rooftops. All of these features make Évora the best example of a historic city. Especially as it remained undamaged by the great earthquake of 1755 which destroyed many towns in Portugal, including Lisbon.
The Historical Momuments
Aqueduct of Silver Water (Adqueduto da Agua de Prata)
Chapel of Bones (Capela dos Ossos)
Church of Our Lady of Grace (Igreja da Nossa Senhora da Graca)
Diana Temple (Templo de Diana)
Fountain of Portas de Moura
Palace of the Counts of Basto
Praca do Giraldo
Church of St. Andrew (Santo Antao)
São João Evangelista Church
There is nothing I like better than just let me feet take me around a new destination. So, it’s time to wander. There are endless narrow winding streets and alleyways just waiting to be discovered. If you do, this is what you will find…
The views you have of the city and beyond…
Where to eat
Where to stay
We stayed at Villa Extramuros, which is situated in the countryside on the outskirts of a small village called Arraiolos, only 15 minutes north of Évora. If you are a lover of modern architectural design and want a quiet escape in the countryside then this is the place to stay.
As a holidaymaker…
So, hopefully I have inspired you to make Évora one of your must-see destinations when in Portugal. It truly has enough charm and things to see to capture your interest for a 1-2 night stay. Not to mention the fantastic dining options.
My advice when you get there, put away the map and simply wander and discover every hidden corner of this beautiful city. Nothing is better than getting lost inside the walls of this old city.