10 Best things to do in Evora

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Évora is the capital of the province of Alentejo and historically the most beautiful city in Portugal to visit. This is because there are many Roman influences, plus the king of Portugal lived here in the 16th century, leaving a lot of wealth left. The historic center which is formed by several squares, palaces, temples, and churches makes Evora one of the nicest places to visit when you are in Portugal.

In this article, we share our 10 best things to do in Évora to help you plan your trip to Évora. You can also read about the best places to stay, nice places to eat, how much time you need, and what the best way is to visit Evora when you traveling through Portugal or visit it as a day trip from Lisbon.

1 day in Évora
Cloister Évora

Things to do in Évora?

Évora is an ancient city surrounded by walls. Within these walls, you find almost all the sights. Below you can read our 10 recommended activities to do in Évora.

Tip: use the map below to see where the best things in Évora can be found. Click on the top right corner to enlarge the map. If you click on the star symbol next to the title you can save this map in your Google Maps account. In the folder, you can show or hide different categories. You can then use this map to navigate when you are at your destination.

#1 Behold the ancient Roman temple

Evora was an important city in the province of Lusitania during the time of the Romans. The most impressive thing to see in Évora dating back to Roman times is the Roman Temple. This temple was built in the 1st century BC and is still in fairly good condition. You can see 14 marble columns built in honor of Emperor Caesar Augustus. You can visit the Roman temple for free.

The Roman temple was built in the old main square of Lusitania and you can see that it has been preserved all these years by not building too close to it. The best thing is when you stand in front of the temple you see several interesting buildings in the background. The cathedral La Sé de Évora is one of these, you can read more about this in activity #4.

Roman temple Evora

#2 Praça do Giraldo

The main square of Évora is called Praça do Giraldo and is one of those typical Portuguese squares that you encounter inland. It is surrounded by old buildings, there is a church with a fountain and you will find a cafe with a terrace. During your visit to Évora, you are guaranteed to pass this square a few times, because the main sights are located around it.

When you arrive at Praça do Giraldo you will notice the Santo Antão church with its fountain. If you’ve traveled in Latin America before, it feels like you are back again in Latin America because you see these kinds of churches there more often. Built-in 1557, this church is an iconic Portuguese church with its two small bell towers. You can view the church from the inside, but this is not very special. The fountain is quite special in architectural style because it has 8 spouts that point to the 8 main streets on the square. A fun fact: if you look on top of the fountain you see a crown. The king of Spain Philip III thought that a fountain should be crowned.

In addition to the many terraces, it is also useful to know that the tourist office is located on Praça do Giraldo. Also try to visit Fábrica dos Pastéis. Here you can get traditional pastéis de nata, which is a custard tart filled with chocolate or pudding.

Praça do Giraldo

#3 Visit the skulls chapel

Things to do in Évora what is really special is visiting the church Capela dos Ossos. The special thing about this church is that there is a chapel where everything inside is covered with skeletons. When you enter you are greeted with the text: we, the skeletons that are here are waiting for you. Inside the chapel are 5000 skeletons that can be seen on the wall, pillars, floor, and basically everywhere you look. This arose because in the 16th century there was no room left in the cemetery, so the deceased was put in this chapel. The chapel is worth visiting as it is so unique to see. It takes 15 minutes so you can visit this quickly. A ticket costs €5 /$10 per person. You do not need to book tickets, you can easily purchase these.

Capela dos Ossos

Where to stay in Évora

Option 1 price & swimming pool: Selina Evora
Selina Evora is located just outside the city walls and within a 10-minute walk from the center is still very well located. The big advantage of Selina Evora is, in addition to the luxurious rooms, that you can swim and that for a reasonable price. In the historic center, you can easily pay 2 to 3 times as much for comparable accommodations.
Check actual prices and availability for Selina Evora here.

Option 2 Location & good breakfast: Lavradores Boutique Guesthouse
Lavradores Boutique Guesthouse
is located in the historic center and is a small-scale Guesthouse with 5 rooms. You get what you expect from a local entrepreneur, the rooms are neat, the staff is very friendly and the breakfast is excellent. In addition, it is a 10-minute walk from the highlights, making it quiet.
Check actual prices and availability for Lavradores Boutique Guesthouse here.

#4 The Cathedral La Sé de Évora

In our opinion, the most beautiful building you can visit is usually the central church or cathedral in a village or city. This is also the case in Évora, the cathedral is worth a visit, because from the terrace you have the best view over the city, as this is the highest point of the city. In addition to the view, you can walk on the terrace of the cathedral and admire the various towers. The monastery located next to the cathedral is also nice to walk through because the architecture with the arches is special to see. The inside of the cathedral is okay to visit but not spectacular, these are the terrace and cloister. A ticket costs €3.50 / $3.50 per person.

Another church worth visiting is San Juan Evangelista, an interior full of typical Portuguese tiles. You can visit this church together with Palacio Cadaval, here you can see remarkable architectural styles. A combination ticket costs €12.50 / $12.50. We did not do this because we found a visit to the cathedral sufficient.

La Sé de Évora

#5 Stroll through the old streets

Whether you are going to visit the various buildings inside or not, just walking around in Évora alone is a great activity to do. There are so many nice streets where the buildings are painted in different colors, where you can see nice shops where handmade products are sold or a local shows his green fingers by having beautiful plants in pots in front of the house. The best thing is not to walk on the main roads for a while, but to walk into a few side streets and let yourself be surprised because there is something beautiful to see on every corner of the street. The streets that are definitely worth visiting are R. Cinco de Outubro and R. da Misericórdia.

Streets of Evora

#6 Museum of Évora

If you like to learn more about the local community and its history, visit the Museum of Évora. The museum can be found in the cathedral, where you can see various religious treasures. Besides religious items, you can find jewelry and sculptures.

If you visit the cathedral La Sé de Évora you pay €3.50 / $3.50 per person for the cathedral, monastery, and roof terrace. If you pay €4.50 / $4.50 per person you can see all these things including the Museum of Évora.

#7 Have a nice meal at Piparoza boutique bar

A nice place to eat is at Piparoza boutique bar, this is a local eatery where they mainly serve tapas. The nice thing about this is that you can taste many different flavors. They serve Portuguese tapas here, so don’t expect anything Spanish. The menu is extensive, you can taste good wine and importantly the people who work there are very friendly. We liked the fact that you could sit outside in the shade, which is pleasant when the weather is warm. Keep in mind that they serve water and bread as standard here at the table, if you take this you have to pay this, if you do not want to use this you can indicate this. This is standard service in Portugal. A must to order anyway is the fuet and shrimps, these are delicious. A tapas costs between €5 / $5 and €7 / $7, a glass of wine is €4 / $4 and a soft drink is €2.5 / $2.5.

Piparoza boutique bar
This photo was taken in Elvas, at Piparoza boutique bar the food is similar

#8 Aqueduct

Just outside the city walls of Évora is an aqueduct dating from the Renaissance. It was built in 1531 to supply the city with water. The entire building is 18 kilometers long, the aqueduct brings the water from the sources located in the interior. It is best to walk from the historic center to Agua de Prata and follow it. As you follow this you can see how the houses have become one with the aqueduct.

#9 University

An interesting building to see is the city’s university. This is due to the architecture, which was built in 1559 and shows the best-preserved architecture from the Renaissance and Baroque in Évora. As a visitor, you can visit the library, where you will see a ceiling that is beautifully decorated. A ticket costs €3 / $3 per person, we did not visit it, because we visited the University of Coimbra and this is the most beautiful university in Portugal, so this visit was not necessary for us. If you are not going to visit Coimbra, you should definitely consider visiting it.

#10 More historical remains

Besides all these highlights in Évora, you can see even more fun things. You can read the most important points that you can visit in the first 9 activities. Of course, you will come across many more interesting buildings as you walk. So when you arrive in Évora you are guaranteed to see the old city walls with the city gate. There are also several churches that you can still visit. To be fair, we think with the cathedral La Sé de Évora and the church San Juan Evangelista are enough to visit but travelers who want to see more religious buildings can in Évora.

Things to do in Évora
Viewpoint of Évora

How many days do you need for Évora?

We recommend that you stay at least 1 full day in Évora. We also stayed 1 day and found it perfect, because you can explore the city at a pleasant pace. If you are making a tour through Portugal, you can choose to do it faster by driving further in the afternoon, but we do not recommend this because you simply don’t have enough time to see the best things in Évora.

Where to stay in Évora?

It is best to arrive in Évora in the morning so that you have enough time to discover the historic center. We recommend staying 1 night in Évora and continuing your journey the next morning. It is best to stay in or around the historic center because then you are within walking distance of all sights and most accommodations can be found here.

Because Évora is one of the most beautiful cities in Portugal, the better accommodations are often fully booked. Please note that you must book the accommodation 3 to 6 months before your departure. This also applies to the two accommodations that we recommend, both are good, but there are a few small differences.

Price & swimming pool
Selina Evora

Selina Evora

Selina Evora is located just outside the city walls and within a 10-minute walk from the center is still very well located. The big advantage of Selina Evora is, in addition to the luxurious rooms, that you can swim and that for a reasonable price. In the historic center, you can easily pay 2 to 3 times as much for comparable accommodations.

Location & good breakfast
Lavradores Boutique Guesthouse

Lavradores Boutique Guesthouse

Lavradores Boutique Guesthouse is located in the historic center and is a small-scale Guesthouse with 5 rooms. You get what you expect from a local entrepreneur, the rooms are neat, the staff is very friendly and the breakfast is excellent. In addition, it is a 10-minute walk from the highlights, making it quiet.

Where to eat in Évora?

Since Évora is visited by travelers, there are several restaurants to be found. You can sit on a terrace in Évora and take your time or quickly get a sandwich somewhere. Below are our recommended places to eat.

For breakfast, you can go to Do Largo Évora. This is a small bakery where you can order yogurt filled with granola with a croissant and a good coffee. This will cost you €7.80 / $7.80 per person. It’s a nice place because you can enjoy your breakfast on the terrace in the sun. In the afternoon you can order good salads here.

In addition to our tip at #7 eating at Piparoza boutique bar, Taberna Típica Quarta-Feira is another nice place to have lunch. The decor is still old-fashioned, which makes it more appealing. The surprising thing about this place is that the menu is different every day. When you come they tell you what you can eat so it is always fresh. When we walked by, the menu had a mushroom salad as a starter and a salad with grilled meat as the main course. For dessert, you got a strawberry mousse.

It is best to eat something small for dinner, which makes tapas the most suitable. A nice place is EvoraTaste, here they serve good tapas for a reasonable price.

Transportation in Évora

To visit the main sights of Évora, it is best to do everything on foot. The sights are almost all located in the historic center within the walls. Évora is not big, you can walk from one side to the other in 13 minutes. In addition, only 1 bus runs through Évora because the other streets are too narrow. This makes walking the best option.

How to get to Évora?

Many travelers visit Évora as a day trip from Lisbon or when touring Portugal. In most cases when you make a tour through Portugal you come from Lisbon or you visit it after your visit to Évora.

It is best to travel to Évora by car or bus. If you travel to Évora from Lisbon or other places, you can easily take the bus. Check here the current routes and prices for the bus.

If you travel through Portugal by car, you can easily reach Évora. The roads are well signposted. The most common places travelers come from are:

  • Lisbon to Évora: 1 hour and 30 minutes | 133 km / 82 miles
  • Elvas to Évora: 1 hour | 84 km / 52 miles
  • Óbidos to Évora: 2 hours | 195 km / 121 miles

If you travel to Portugal by plane and you are looking for a car to rent, you can rent it through Rentalcars. We use Rentalcars when we want to travel by car to discover new destinations. They’re easy to use and book with.

When is the best time to visit Évora?

Évora is located in the interior of Portugal, which means less rain and it is a lot warmer than along the coast. Because of its location, you can visit Évora all year round, but you have to take into account that during the summer months (July to August) it can get very hot. The best period to visit Évora is during the spring period, which is the months of March, April, and May. The disadvantage of this is that it is the busiest in Portugal.

Please note that the spring period is busier due to the pleasant temperatures and during the European school holidays July and August, which means that prices for accommodations are higher than in other periods. In terms of temperature, it is an average of 30°C / 86°F  in the summer, an average of 20°C / 68°F in the spring and autumn, and 13°C / 55.4°F in winter

We were in Évora in June and we liked it, the weather was awesome, lots of sunshine, it wasn’t crowded and it doesn’t get cold in the evening. Our advice is to visit Évora during the months of March to November.

Évora things to do FAQ

#1 Book a day trip from Lisbon to Évora do you need more time?

If you are doing a city trip in Lisbon and you do not have access to a car, booking a tour from Lisbon is the best option for you. In this case, we recommend booking this tour. The advantage of this tour is that you spend most of the time in Évora itself. Other tours often combine it with a wine tour. In our opinion, it is better to do a wine tour in Douro, Porto, or Lisbon.

However, if you have access to a car and you plan to make a road trip in Portugal, it is better to visit Évora independently.

#2 If you are traveling through Portugal can you visit Évora en Elvas together in 1 day?

Yes, this is possible but we do not recommend this. You can use our Portugal itinerary for inspiration for more information, but in short: from Lisbon, you travel to Évora and it is best to stay for 1 day. After your stay in Évora, you can visit Elvas. We recommend visiting Elvas in the morning and leaving in the afternoon to arrive in Monsanto in the evening.

Want to see more of Portugal?

After reading our article, we hope you have a clear idea of ​​things to do in Évora. Besides Évora you can discover many more beautiful places in Portugal. We have traveled around Portugal and recommend that you read our article about a 3-week Portugal itinerary for inspiration. If you follow our itinerary, your next destination is Elvas. Elvas is a small settlement that is nice to visit if you want to discover more about the interior of Portugal.

Besides Elvas you can also travel north towards Monsanto, this is a rock village on a mountain where everything dates back to the Middle Ages. Another option is to head west to Óbidos or Lisbon. You can also go south in the Lagos area. Lisbon is the capital of Portugal where impressive buildings can be seen. Óbidos is a beautiful old village where inside the walls you have the feeling that you are going back to the Middle Ages. In the south, you will find the most gorgeous coastline of Portugal where we have discovered everything from Lagos.

What do you think of Évora? Share your thoughts in the comments below!

Disclaimer: the prices mentioned in this article may differ from the current situation. We regularly update our articles. Would you like to help us to provide to best possible insights to help other travelers leave a comment with the latest information. Thanks!

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