Things to do in Evora
1. The Roman Temple (Diana’s Temple)
Evora was founded by the Romans but is thought to be even older! Because of this, there are many ancient buildings to see within the old city walls. (Also read: Best places to visit in Portugal).
One of the most famous is the Roman temple ruins, also known as Diana’s Temple. The 14 columns that remain stand at the highest point in the city. For preservation reasons, you can’t enter the temple.
2. Cathedral of Evora
Just across from the temple is the Cathedral of Evora. The Gothic cathedral looks more like a castle, with its turrets and towers. Most impressive for visitors is the breathtaking interior, home to beautiful art, cloisters, and orange trees.
Also read: Complete 3-week Portugal Travel Guide
One of the best surprises is the spiral staircase that leads up to the cathedral roof terrace. Climb the stairs for beautiful views over Evora!
Entrance Fee: Tickets for the cathedral are 1.50 EUR. For additional access to the cloisters and roof terrace, it’s 3.50 EUR.
3. The University of Evora
This is a really unique place to visit in Evora, especially as it is the second oldest university in Portugal. Wander among the amazing archways and courtyards, and admire the colorful Azulejos tiles that decorate the classrooms. An absolute must-see is the university library; its ceiling looks like a work of art!
Tip: The university is open to the public, despite students continuing to study here. Because of this, be respectful of students who are working. Better still, choose lunchtime to visit as the rooms will be quieter.
Entrance Fee: 3 EUR
4. Wander the Pretty Streets
Evora is so beautiful that it would be easy to spend several days here wandering its streets and soaking up the atmosphere. The slow pace of life, and the endless sunshine and flowers, make it feel like summer every day.
Start at the main square (Praca do Giraldo), where you’ll find the fountain. It has 8 spouts that represent each of the streets that lead away from the square. Wander up one of the streets and discover white houses with yellow painted trim, terracotta roofs, pink flowers, and Azulejo tiles.
5. The Chapel of Bones (Church of St Francis)
The Church of St Francis is famous for the Capela dos Ossos (The Chapel of Bones). The ossuary displays the bones of over 5,000 bodies discovered in the graveyards of the city. It was created by Franciscan monks who wanted to show people that we all meet the same fate, regardless of status. Don’t forget to look out for the inscription carved above the entrance that reads ‘we bones that are here, await yours’.
Entrance Fee: Entrance to the church is free. To visit The Chapel of Bones it’s 2 EUR
Tip: Interested to discover more history in Evora? Next to the church are some beautiful public gardens, where you can find the ruins of the old palace.
6. Aqueduct of Silver Water
This huge aqueduct has become a symbol of Evora. The 18km of water channel that leads into the city was designed by Francisco de Arruda (designer of the Tower of Belem in Lisbon). Although it was finished in 1530, it was built on top of an existing Roman aqueduct, so you’re looking at thousands of years of history!
What’s really unique is that as the aqueduct gets closer to the city, houses are built to fit perfectly within the arches. The people of Evora were incredibly inventive, using all the space they had available.
Tip: If you want to hike through the countryside, there is an 8km long footpath that runs alongside the aqueduct.
7. Take a Day Trip to Elvas
Elvas is another incredible town that is just one hour’s drive from Evora. See its huge city walls, as well as forts, moats, ruins, and another beautiful aqueduct. One of the best things to see is the unique star-shaped fort that sits on the hill nearby; the perfect place to get some aerial photos and watch the sun go down.
Portugal road trip
How to visit Evora
Most people visit Evora on a day trip from Lisbon (a 1.5-hour train). However, we’d definitely recommend visiting for a couple of days to enjoy all the things the beautiful city has to offer.
We recommend to rent a car in Portugal through Sunny Cars with free cancellation and insurance included. Book your rental car here.
If you do want to visit Evora for the day, consider an organized tour from Lisbon. This is really good value to see all the sights and learn some history. Sometimes they also include other experiences, for example, a wine tour.
Evora is tiny, and the best way to enjoy the city is by walking. If you have a car, this is the easiest way to visit the aqueduct and other places like Elvas. It’s also handy to see the surrounding countryside of Alentejo.
Best Cafes & Restaurants in Evora
The region is very well known for its delicious food and wine. You could easily spend a few days moving between wineries and restaurant terraces, enjoying the locally sourced produce. There’s something for every kind of budget and traveler, from cute cafes serving custard tarts to gourmet restaurants. Some of our favorites were:
- The Bakery Lounge
Where to Stay in Evora
Evora has lots of beautiful accommodation options, from cute boutique guesthouses to luxury spa hotels. It’s even possible to stay in one of the unique aqueduct houses!
Best Time to Visit Evora
For a floral extravaganza, visit in the spring when the fields are full of flowers and the smell of blossom is in the air. It’s also the perfect time for sightseeing because of the mild temperatures and blue skies.
The summer, although beautiful, is sweltering (especially in this central region), and the streets will be full of tourists.
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Beautifully described, thank you for sharing!