So you want to spend one day in Evora? I can tell you that it is totally worth it! This is a fantastic day trip from Lisbon especially if you are interested in religion and history. It’s also great to get out of the big cities and travel through the Alentejo region. I did a day trip to Evora from Lisbon and I’m here to give you the run down on what to see and do.
Introduction to Evora
Evora is located inland and as a result is a lot warmer than the costal cities such as Lisbon and Porto in the summer. Evora is the capital of the Alentejo region. It is famous for its Roman temple (often referred to as the Diana temple) and itis massive Gothic Cathedral.
Evora is also a popular student town. Culturally, Evora is one of the parts of Portugal that still has bull fighting – you may want to time your visit depending on whether you want to see (or avoid!) the bull fighting season.
How to get there
It is possible to get to Evora by bus and by train from Lisbon. It takes just under an hour and a half by public transport and so it is very doable as a day trip. If you are interested in finding out about the history and religion of Evora then it may be worth you doing what I did and booking a private guide. You can book a driver and a guide for a small group or one to one private tour.
Train – Book on cp.pt for Lisboa Oriente to Evora. Journey time = 1hr 20mins. Price approx €15
Bus – Book with Rede Expressos from Sete Rios to Evora. Journey time 1 hour 30 mins. Price approx €12,50.
Tour from Lisbon – You can book a one day tour of Evora from Lisbon with wine tasting via Get Your Guide.
What to Pack for Evora
It can be very hot in the summer, so pack lots of water or a refillable water bottle and a sun hat or sun umbrella.
Wear comfortable shorts or walking trousers. You will need comfortable walking boots or trainers as you should expect a fair bit of walking. Wear shoes comfortable for going up many steps for example in the Cathedral. Weather can be changeable so bring a rain jacket or walking jacket in your day pack.
If you are travelling by train then you should pack your passport because they ask for your passport number on booking a train ticket and then check it against your passport on board. Also, depending on current restrictions you may need to take proof of a negative Covid-19 test or proof of vaccination status. Many hotels in portugal are currently asking for this on check in.
You should also pack cash money (EUROS) as some attractions including the Capela dos Ossos do not accept credit/debit card or Multibanco.
In summary, you should take…
- Comfortable clothes
- Walking boots or trainers
- Sun hat or sun umbrella
- Waterproof jacket
- Water bottle
- Cash money
- Passport ID
Where to stay in Evora
It’s not necessary to stay overnight in Evora as you will be able to see the main sites of the city in just one day. However, staying overnight can give you more of an insight into the nightlife and student vibe of the city.
If you are looking for a decent hotel, the Evora Olive is a great choice with a swimming pool and not too far from the centre of the city. If you want a spot of luxury and don’t mind staying a little outside of the city centre then opt for the Convento do Espinheiro, Historic Hotel & Spa.
On a budget and don’t mind sharing a drom room? Go for the Heaven Inn Évora Hostel.
Itinerary – One Day in Evora
It’s surprising how much you can see in just one day in Evora. The city is small enough for you to take in the main sites in around 3-4 hours. Start off entering through the impressive medieval city walls!
City Walls – Evora Ramparts
When you drive into Evora, stop and take some pictures of the historic city walls, which were ordered to be constructed in the 15th Century by King Afonso IV. However, the oldest part of the Evora walls dates back to the 3rd Century! If you have time, it is a pleasure to walk around or even cycle the city walls.
Capela dos Ossos and the Church of St Francis
One of the most famous and impressive sites in Evora is the Capela dos Ossos or chapel of bones. It is so called because the walls are lined with the bones and skulls of monks who used to be buried in a nearby graveyard – they were exhumed in the 16th Century due to building and expansion of the city. Lining the chapel was a way to preserve them. The chapel also contains two mummified corpses.
Spend around 15 minutes inside the chapel itself and then explore the museum exhibits on the floors above. make sure that you go right to the top for a decent view of the city. You can then visit the neighbouring Church of St Francis – your ticket to the chapel includes entrance to St Francis Church.
Evora Old Town
Next walk through the Old Town of Evora’s historical centre as you make your way towards the Cathedral. It’s a great place to buy souvenirs and stop for the odd ginjinha.
Your next stop will be at one of the most beautiful sites of Evora – the Cathedral. It is one of the largest Gothic structures in Portugal. Se de Evora was completed in 1746. When you buy your ticket, get the ticket that allows you access to the tower for a phenomenal view of the towers and the whole of the city.
Roman Ruins – Diana Temple
The Roman ruins of Evora led to the historic centre being declared as a UNESCO World Heritage site. Amazingly there are 12 Roman columns (constructed in the 1st Century) that remain completely intact. The Roman structure in the middle of the historical centre of Evora is often referred to by locals as the ‘Diana temple’. However, it was falsely attributed to the Goddess of the Hunt. However, most historians now confirm that it was dedicated to the Roman Emperor Augustus.
While you are in this area of Evora explore the beautiful and tranquil gardens ‘Jardim Diana’. They are peaceful and offer beautiful views of the Roman temple, the library and the palace.
Eating out in Evora
After all that history and culture, no doubt that you will be hungry from all of the walking! Head to my favourite eatery in Evora – Vinho do Noz just outside the city walls. As you are in Alentejo, you should try something local to the area such as the Plumes with Migas. Top it off with a nice Alentejo red wine (Vinho Tinto!)
Migas à Alentejana is made with pork on the side and then an interesting ‘mash alternative’ which is a combination of leftover wheat bread which uses garlic and olive oil for the main flavour. Delicious!
Other things to do in Evora
If you are lucky enough to spend more time in Evora then you will be able to enjoy some of the nightlife including Capitulo bar and the Praxis Club, in Valdevinos Street. You may like to take a day trip to some of the surrounding monasteries and convents, or head out into the Alentejo countryside to discover how cork is made.
Whatever you decide to do, I’m sure that you will have an absolutely fantastic time in Evora. If you have any extra tips that I haven’t mentioned in this blog, please do drop a comment below.