Welcome to Évora, the UNESCO world heritage city in Portugal. Évora is the capital of Portugal’s most undiscovered (and arguably most authentic) region – Alentejo. I have just returned from my second trip to this charming, historical city and now that I have my bearings it feels like the perfect time to share this quick travel guide. My favourite travel pass time is wandering and Évora is made for wandering. The city is surprisingly compact but with a maze of cobbled streets to navigate it is the best location to truly ‘get lost’.
WHERE IS ÉVORA?
The city of Évora is nestled neatly in the middle of Alentejo in the southern central part of Portugal. Being in the centre of the quietest region you might expect that it is difficult to get to but, Évora is less than a 90 minute drive from Lisbon. This short distance makes it an ideal day trip or get-away.
HOW TO GET TO ÉVORA
Évora is one of the more accessible parts of Alentejo and is easy to reach from Lisbon. Although there are trains and buses between the capital and Évora I would recommend hiring a car, especially if you have more than a few days in Portugal. The drive from Lisbon to Évora is an experience in itself. Once you leave the cityscape of Lisbon behind you’ll drive past acres and acres of cork forests before reaching the castle walls of Évora.
WHERE TO STAY IN ÉVORA
So now you know how to get to Évora you might want to ask ‘Where should I stay in Évora?’. Luckily for you there is no shortage of accommodation options in Évora. I want to share two places I have personally stayed and can recommend.
If you want to stay in the heart of Évora then Casa Vitória Guest House is your place. You’ll find a collection of basic but comfortable apartments surrounding a traditional patio. At just a 5 minute walk from the roman temple and Praça do Giraldo you couldn’t be more central.
If you are looking for a more relaxing stay away from the bustle then book up at Quinta da Espada. Located a short drive (or Uber) out of the city Quinta da Espada features traditional rooms and a pool – essential for hot summer days!
Another great option just out of the centre (this would be best if you had a car) is Octant which has several pools, a farm and a fantastic restaurant and bar. The breakfast is also the best i’ve had in Portugal! This would be a good choice for kids as there are lots of activities on site.
As I mentioned before Évora is brimming with places to stay. I usually book with BookingCom as I find the platform offers the largest selection of accommodation and best value but always check if you can book direct with smaller businesses.
5 REASONS TO VISIT ÉVORA
- GASTRONOMY. Évora is a foodie paradise. If you want a taste of Portugal Alentejo can offer some of the very best produce. We’re talking black pork, freshly baked bread and hearty soups. Not forgetting the convent sweets and pastries.
- MIND BLOWING HISTORY. I’m the first to admit not being a history buff but even with little interest in past eras it is hard not to be impressed by the 1st century AD (!!) Roman Temple.
- THE CREEPY MUSEUM. A museum of human bones? Oh go on then.
- AFTERNOON DRINKS AT PRAÇA DO GIRALDO. Get caught up in the bustle at the main square in Évora. The best place for an afternoon drink.
- WINE ANYONE? Évora is surrounded by vineyards and is the perfect base for enotourism in Alentejo. Don’t forget to drop into Rota dos Vinhos do Alentejo to plan your wine trip around the region.
WHERE TO EAT IN ÉVORA
If you want to do nothing other than eat and drink in Évora you will not be disappointed. A few foodie delights you should try whilst in the capital of Alentejo include ‘porco preto’, ‘açorda à Alentejana’ and ‘queijinho do ceu’. Here is a selection of restaurants and cafes you need to add to your itinerary right now.
USEFUL TIPS FOR ÉVORA
WHERE TO PARK IN ÉVORA
There is a large dirt car-park available with free parking just outside the city walls. Providing it is not during a holiday/market day you should be able to find a spot easy enough.
MONEY IN ÉVORA
Most restaurants will take cash and card but some of the smaller ones will only accept Portuguese bank cards. There are plenty of ATM’s available. Use bank ATM’s rather than ‘Euro’ cash points to avoid crazy fees. I always recommend traveling with a WISE card for the best exchange rates.
TIMINGS IN ÉVORA
Restaurants typically open between 12-3 pm for lunch and 6 pm-late for dinner. Some establishments close completely between lunch and evening service. Some restaurants, bars and museums close on Monday, Tuesday or both but stay open on weekends. Make sure to check before arrival.
LANGUAGE IN ÉVORA
You can get by with English in most towns and cities with tourist infrastructure in Portugal. However, learning a few basic phrases in Português before you arrive will go a long way. The locals will greatly appreciate your effort and I promise you a more authentic experience when you converse in this way. Let’s all do what we can to keep the language and culture of Portugal alive.
So there you go, a quick guide to Évora. Hopefully this travel guide inspires you to include this UNESCO city to your Portugal itinerary.