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Take a trip from Lisbon to Évora and discover the sights!
A quick overview
What to see? Roman sights, skull chapel, cathedral, quaint streets, and more.
Costs? From € 3.95 (one-way) by bus, from € 50,00 for tours from Lisbon to Évora.
Where? Évora, in the region Alentejo in Portugal (133 km from Lisbon, 226 km from Faro).
Worth it? It’s a favourite day trip from Lisbon and the perfect place to stop when driving to the Algarve. The surrounding area is also famous for its wine!
A day trip from Lisbon to Évora
Évora is a much-loved city in Portugal. It’s the historic capital of the Alentejo region and is surrounded by vineyards! The old town centre is very well preserved and boasts many ancient sights. That makes it the perfect day trip from Lisbon! Évora is, however, also often visited when travelling to the Algarve. Your journey will take a little longer, but it’s very much worth it! So let’s have a look at the things to do in Évora and why you should put this city on your bucket list!
Best things to do in Évora
Évora has a vibrant history which dates back more than five millennia ago! But not only history buffs love the city. The atmosphere is very relaxing, and although it’s often visited just for a day, it’s a great place to stay overnight. It’s even ranked one of the most liveable cities in Portugal! So come visit and enjoy the ancient and medieval charm of Évora.
One of the most famous sights in Évora is the Cathedral. The construction of Sé de Évora started in 1280, and the Roman Catholic cathedral was finished in 1350. The church is built in the shape of a Latin cross, but the highlight of the Cathedral is on the roof! The Cathedral is located in the historic centre of Évora and is classified as UNESCO World Heritage.
The terrace of the Cathedral is the highest point in Évora. Mesmerising views are guaranteed! You’ll be able to see the whole city and nearby places such as Arraiolos and Évoramonte. And after climbing to the top, you can continue visiting the cloister. You’ll discover the Tomb of the Founder, the Chapel of the Founder, and a stunning courtyard.
Tickets cost € 3,50 for the cloister and panoramic view from the roof. Or € 4,00 for the cloister, panoramic view, and museum. Children under seven can visit for free. You can discover the Cathedral daily between 9 AM and 6 PM, but it is closed on the 1st of January, the 24th of December, and the 25th of December.
The Roman Temple
Right next to the cathedral is the Roman Temple of Évora. Templo de Diana dates back to the 1st century A.D., and it’s another UNESCO World Heritage Site. The monument is one of the most important and oldest ones in Portugal. It was once pretty much destroyed but rebuilt multiple times in the following centuries. During this time, the temper had several uses, such as a slaughterhouse and a safe house. The temple is built with Corinthian pillars and is one of the most important landmarks of Évora.
Igreja de São João Evangelista / Igreja dos Lóios
Right next to the Roman Temple, you can take a look inside Igreja dos Lóios, one of Portugal’s most beautiful churches! It was once a convent, but now you can stay overnight in the next-door pousada (there is a pool!). The church is richly decorated with azulejo tiles and golden elements. During your visit, you can also visit the Palácio Cadaval next door. It was once the home of the Dukes of the Cadaval family, and it was built on the ruins of a Moorish Castle.
Miradouro do Jardim Diana
If it’s time for a relaxing moment, you can enjoy the view from Miradouro do Jardim Diana. The viewpoint is located in the small park of Jardim Diana. There are some benches and sculptures, and the view is simply beautiful!
Capela dos Ossos
A skull chapel, you say? Oh yes, Portugal actually has more of them, like the one in Faro! And although maybe eerie, Capela dos Ossos is one of the most visited sights in Évora. It was built in the 17th century, and the walls and pillars are covered with a few thousand bones and skulls. They decorated the chapel with bones to provoke reflection on the transience of human life and the consequent commitment to a permanent Christian experience. Do you think it worked? The frescos on the vaulted ceiling dated from 1810. These include biblical passages.
From the chapel, you can visit more rooms with several exhibitions. These are primarily religious artefacts from the next-door Church of São Francisco. You’ll also discover an enormous collection of nativity scenes from the extensive private collection of Major-General Fernando Canha da Silva and his wife, Fernanda Canha da Silva.
The entrance to Capela dos Ossos is € 6,00 for adults and € 4,00 for visitors under 25. Children under 12 can visit for free, and special family tickets are available for € 15,00. The chapel is open daily from 9 AM until 6.30 PM (5 PM in winter) but is closed on the 1st of January, Easter Sunday, the 24th of December, and the 25th of December.
Church of São Francisco
The Church of São Francisco is located right next to Capela dos Ossos, and it’s free to visit. The church has been a National monument since 1910 and is richly decorated with gold. Construction took place between 1475 and the 1550s. You’ll discover gothic styles as well as Moorish elements. The church has become even more famous than the cathedral, surely thanks to the Chapel of Bones.
Souvenir shopping at Rua Cinco de Outubro
One of the most important shopping streets is Rua Cinco de Outubro. It’s the perfect spot to buy some souvenirs! You can purchase ceramics from Alentejo, handmade cork items, azulejo tiles and much more. For more information about Portuguese souvenirs, click here.
Praça do Giraldo
Close to Rua Cinco de Outubro is Praça do Giraldo, a cosy and bustling square in Évora. It’s a lovely spot to have a drink or enjoy a traditional meal. Praça do Giraldo is considered the heart of the city, and it´s named after Giraldo Sem Pavor (Gerald the Fearless), a Portuguese warrior who played a significant role in the Reconquista and the conquest of Évora in the 12th century. Praça do Giraldo has always been an important centre of commerce, and you´ll see many historic buildings surrounding the square. You’ll also spot the fountain Fonte da Praça do Giraldo, with the 16th-century church Igreja de Santo Antão behind it. And next to the church, you can visit a really cool clock museum, Museu do Relógio.
If you like architecture, it is worth stopping at Évora University. It’s a working university, but it’s open to visitors. The Évora University opened after it became apparent that a university south of Coimbra was much needed. After the University of Coimbra, Évora University was the second university to be established in Portugal. The university has a rich history, and you’ll listen to incredible stories during a guided tour. Admission is € 3.00, and audio tours are available for € 1.50.
Discover the cobbled streets and castle walls
Évora is a great city to wander around in. The centre is small, and although the many tiny streets are a labyrinth, it’s hard to get lost. That is actually the beauty of Évora; to walk around and discover what’s around the next corner. When you entered the city, you may have noticed an old city wall still surrounds Évora. There are beautiful walks along the wall, and the National Monument will bring you back to medieval times. The most aged walls date from the 3rd century, but you´ll discover many styles, including Roman and Moorish. You’ll even spot historical gates such as Porta Velha da Lagoa and Porta do Raimundo.
Palácio de Dom Manuel I
Another stunning building in the city is Palácio de Dom Manuel I. It’s located in Jardim Público de Évora, the city’s public garden. It’s a tranquil area with plenty of benches to take a break. The 16th-century pavilion, also known as Galeria das Damas, has many Moorish influences and is now used for cultural events and exhibitions. King Manuel Palace is open from Tuesday to Saturday from 09:30 AM until 6 PM and is free to visit.
Jardim Público de Évora
When you visit Palácio de Dom Manuel I, you’ll also locate Jardim Público de Évora. Take a well-deserved break and enjoy a cold beverage at the kiosk. Or discover the Ruínas Fingidas (Fake Ruins), where a few peacocks are roaming around. Do you travel with children? Then they’ll enjoy some time in the playground!
Church of Nossa Senhora da Graça
Hidden in a small street, you’ll find the Church of Nossa Senhora da Graça. The church is sadly not often open to the public. The convent was built in the 16th century, and the Baroque-style church was built in the 18th century on the remains of the convent. Just viewing the facade will be worth your while! You can see the Palladian influence and stunning figures and carvings on all corners.
Água de Prata Aquaduct
Just outside the city centre is one more site worth visiting! The Água de Prata Aquaduct was built in 1532 and was started by King João III. Aqueduto da Água de Prata is now a stunning monument but was once used to provide the people in Évora with water. The best way to enjoy the aqueduct is by following the eco trail Ramal da Mora. It’s a 24.6-kilometre-long loop trail, which is great for cycling! The Percurso da Água de Prata is a shorter 8.3-kilometre trail through cork oak forests!
Enjoy a local meal
After all these activities, a local meal is well deserved! There are plenty of restaurants for every budget. If you enjoy a healthy vegan meal, Salsa Verde and Momentos Évora are the places to go. Enoteca Cartuxa is one of the best wineries in Évora, and if you’re looking for a gastronomic experience, Fialho is the place to be. Or enjoy a traditional meal at Restaurante O Moinho do Cu Torto or Bistro Barão.
Things to try are the pastry Queijada de Évora, porco preto (black pig), Pão Alentejano (Alentejo bread), and açorda (a traditional soup from the Alentejo region).
Enjoy a € 20,00 discount on your next meal! Reserve your table with the code 8362E39E on TheFork.
Things to do around Évora
Not only does Évora have many sights to visit, but there is even more to see in the surrounding area! When you stay overnight in Évora, you can easily venture out to explore other sights in Alentejo. A lot of tours also combine Évora with some nearby sights.
Visit a vineyard
Évora is located in the heart of Alentejo, a region famous for its wine! It then comes as no surprise that vineyards surround the city. Some of the most important grapes for white wines are the Roupeiro, Antão Vaz and Arinto. Trincadeira, Aragonez, Castelão and Alicante Bouschet are often used to make red wine. You’ll recognise the Alentejo wines with the DOC (Denominacao de Origem Controlada) label, Alentejo DOC. There are plenty of wineries to visit around Évora. Recommended wineries are, for example, Herdade das Servas and Ravasqueira. You can make a reservation or join one of many wine tours in the region.
Discover ancient megaliths
There are also numerous ancient stones to discover around Évora. One of the most famous ones is Cromeleque dos Almendres. The megalithic complex is reached by a dirt road close to the village of Guadalupe, in Herdade dos Almendres (the Almendres Estate). Cromeleque dos Almendres is the largest existing group of structured menhirs in the whole Iberian Peninsula and even one of the largest in Europe! You’ll discover several megalithic structures dating back to the 6th millennium B.C. In 1966 they were found by Henrique Leonor Pina. The megalithic and neolithic construction dates from the Early Neolithic to the Late Neolithic times, containing nearly 100 granite monoliths. On some stones, even decorations are still visible!
Another site to visit is Anta Grande do Zambujeiro. This dolmen is located near Valverde. The structure dates back to between 4000 and 3000 B.C. and is linked to the Anta Grande da Comenda da Igreja. You can visit many more, such as Anta do Paço da Vinha, Menir dos Almendres and Antas da Herdade do Barrocal. A must-see place when you’re in the area! Or if you’re a big fan of Asterix and Obelix!
Gruta do Escoural
More history can be found underground. Gruta do Escoural is a unique cave due to its Paleolithic-era rock art! It was also used as a funerary burial site, and a tour guide will be happy to tell you about this special place. The cave was discovered in 1963, and you can now visit the site by appointment only! You can arrange a visit between Tuesday and Saturday at 10.30 AM or 2.30 PM. The entrance is € 3,00 per person. Please mail [email protected] to schedule your guided tour.
Visit a cork forest
Alentejo is also known for its many cork trees, and as you might know, over 50% of cork worldwide comes from Portugal! Next time you open that bottle of wine, chances are, the cork comes from Alentejo! As one of the biggest cork producers in the world, it is fascinating to see how cork grows. From Évora, you can walk in a traditional cork forest in the area! Your experienced guide will, of course, tell you all the ins and outs of this natural product!
Centro Interpretativo do Tapete de Arraiolos
If you like handwork, visiting Centro Interpretativo do Tapete de Arraiolos is the last recommendation in this long list of things to do! The Arraiolos Carpet Interpretive Center is a small museum where you learn everything about the Arraiolos Carpets. This ethnographic museum is for anyone wanting to learn more about traditional Portuguese decorative arts. There are regular exhibitions and guided tours.
Best way to travel from Lisbon to Évora
Most people will travel from Lisbon to Évora, and by car, you’ll reach the city in about 1,5 hours. Follow the A2 and A6, and you’ll be there before you know it. Please note: there are toll roads along the way. You can avoid the toll roads and enjoy a scenic route to Évora. It will take a little longer to arrive, about 1 hour and 50 minutes. Renting a car is an excellent way to discover Portugal; you can read all the tips here. Check the below offers to rent a car to visit Évora!
Lisbon to Évora by bus
There is also a fabulous bus service between Lisbon and Évora. The journey takes around 90 minutes, and buses regularly leave Lisbon. Rede Expressos and Flixbus are the bus company that drives between the two cities. With Flixbus, you can book many weeks or even months in advance to get the cheapest bus ticket. Flixbus is usually cheaper than Rede Expressos or the train.
Lisbon to Évora train tickets
Do you prefer travelling by train? That is also possible. There are fewer train journeys to Évora than bus trips, and booking in advance is recommended. The earlier you book, the cheaper your ticket will be. The journey from Lisbon to Évora by train takes between 1 hour and 50 minutes to 2 hours and 45 minutes.
Day trips from Lisbon to Évora
A hassle-free way to visit Évora is with a guided tour from Lisbon. There are many options, and most tours to Évora last 8 to 10 hours. There are usually multiple stops along the way. You can, for example, visit the megaliths, a vineyard or a cork forest. A day tour from Lisbon is perfect for an introduction to Évora and Alentejo!
From Faro to Évora
You may also travel from the Algarve to Lisbon (or the other way around), with a stopover in Évora. The drive from Faro to Évora takes around 2,5 hours. By train, the journey will take 3,5 to 4,5 hours. Flixbus does not have a direct bus service to Évora (it will drive to Lisbon first), but Rede Expressos does.
Hotels in Évora
Most people come to Évora for a day or even a few hours. But to really appreciate the city, you can stay a night or 2. This way you have time to visit all the sights, but also a vineyard, the megaliths and other lovely towns in Alentejo. The atmosphere is fantastic in Évora, especially if you like to be in peaceful surroundings. Besides, the landscape is very inviting for long hikes! Évora has many hotels, guesthouses, and farm stays available. Select your dates on the below map, and find a suitable place for your trip to Évora.
Porto, Lisbon and Faro are all cities many people visit. But Portugal has many other charming towns to discover. Évora is a place with many sights, and many have historical importance. And although most visitors come to Évora for one day, with so many activities, staying here for one or two nights is really lovely. The city is a lot quieter, especially in the high season, and you can easily venture out in nature to enjoy the stunning Alentejo landscape.