So you’re planning a trip to Portugal, and wondering if the medieval town of Evora is worth visiting?
The charming town of Evora is one of the oldest cities in Portugal; in fact, it is one of the oldest in Europe. Over the years, many different cultural groups have called Evora their home including the Moors and the Romans. This has led to the town hosting a myriad of different architectural styles. It is a bit of a melting pot of different styles and influences. Its unique, mixed-up appearance has led to the whole area being declared a UNESCO world heritage site.
Where is Evora?
Evora does not have the most convenient location if you are planning to spend your time hitting the more popular tourist areas such as Porto, Lisbon and the Algarve. You can find Evora in the middle of Portugal, 1.5 hours drive inland from Lisbon. Evora is the capital of the Alentejo region in the centre of the country. If you plan of exploring Alentejo’s other cities and wineries, Evora is a pretty good base.
How To Get To Evora?
Undeniably, the best way to travel around Portugal is by car or campervan. This gives you so much freedom to check out the lesser-known places without the hassle of navigating the different public transport options. Evora is pretty well connected to all the main cities which makes it so easy to visit. Generally speaking, If you are heading from Lisbon or Porto to the Algarve, you may as well make a stop in Evora.
That being said, Evora isn’t difficult to reach by public transport, especially if you travelling from Lisbon. It is possible to catch a train from Lisbon to Evora which takes roughly 1 hour and 15 minutes. To reach Evora from all other Portuguese cities, you will need to catch a bus.
What To See In Evora?
The rich history and culture of Evora make it an incredibly interesting place. There is no shortage of unique things to see here. Below are a few suggestions, however there are many more things to see in the surrounding south-central Alentejo region.
Roman Temple Ruins
At the highest point of Evora, you will find the ruins of a Roman Temple. The remains of this temple, constructed in the first or second century, are a sight to behold. This is one of the most impressive roman remains in the country. Today you will see the 14 surviving columns which are beautifully illuminated at night. This structure is a real reminder of Evora’s remarkable history and importance.
Igreja de São Francisco
From to outside, This church looks very unassuming and nondescript. The inside however is absolutely insane. The walls are lined with the skulls and bones of thousands of monks from centuries past. The whole concept of the chapel is creepy and the Latin writing at the entrance is perhaps even more sinister. it translates to “We bones, that are here, for yours await”. Although this is a strange landmark in Evora, it is definitely worth a visit for the experience.
You will find Evora Cathedral right in the heart of the city. As far as cathedrals go, from the exterior, this one looks a little mismatched. This stern-looking cathedral was constructed over many centuries, beginning in the 13th and hosts a number of different architectural styles.
The main reason to visit the cathedral is for its rooftop terrace. Climb the winding stairway to reach the grand rooftop for the best views in Evora.
Agua de Prata Aqueduct
When arriving in Evora, you are greeted by the imposing aqueduct which stands proudly above the city. You get a fantastic view of the 16th-century aqueduct out with the city walls at the large car park. There is a through toad here which lets you drive right under the aqueduct.
The name of this landmark translates to ‘Aqueduct of Silver Water’, which sounds very pleasant. Our favourite way to see the aqueduct was by walking along ‘Rua do Cano’. Along this street, you will find little houses and shops which have nestled into the arches of the aqueduct.
How Long Should You Spend In Evora?
Although there is plenty to see and do in Evora, it is also a small town which you can cover quite quickly. It is possible to see everything in a day, however, 2 to 3 days would be more advisable. Spending an extra few days in Evora truly lets you immerse yourself in its rich history and culture. Luckily most of the attractions in the Unesco World Heritage site of Evora are located right in the heart of the historic centre. You don’t have to worry about transport to the sights because they are right on your doorstep if you choose to stay in the centre of the town.
Another reason to stay in Evora for a few days is that it is a great base for exploring attractions a short drive away. For example, when you are in the area, you simply must visit Almendres Cromlech Megalith Complex. This is a 30-minute drive from the centre of Evora.
Is Evora Worth Visiting?
Evora truly is one of a kind. Its rich history and fascinating Roman architecture are reason enough to visit this sweet little city. So the short answer is yes. Yes, Evora is worth visiting. We were pleasantly surprised when we visited, our only regret is not staying longer! Often overlooked because it is not one of the main cities in Portugal, many people miss out on the real charm of this place. When exploring Evora you will discover all of its quirks and you will not want to leave!
If this post has inspired you to visit Portugal, make sure you check out our Portugal Page. This is where you will find all of our posts letting you know what to see and where to stay in this fantastic country.
If you want to find out more information about Evorea, We recommend visiting their official tourism website here.