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Evora: History on Foot

Evora: History on Foot

by Tony Coelho

Diana Roman Temple - Evora - Portugal

This UNESCO World Heritage City has a rich history and unique cultural roots that date from Roman times. During the 1400s it was the residence of the King of Portugal, and the city thus benefited from the royal court’s influence. Evora’s character was cemented during the 17th and 18th centuries. The preservation of its history has made Evora a must-visit town on any trip to Portugal.

How to Best See Evora

The best way to see Evora is on foot. Whitewashed houses and shops line its narrow streets, along with delicious outdoor cafes and spectacular historic sites. Walking through the city is the best way to see everything, because you’ll want to have the freedom to visit sites at your own pace. We’ve compiled a list of some of our favorite must-see sites in Evora that you can easily visit on a walking tour of the city.

Praça do Giraldo

Make this your starting point. Located in the heart of the city, Giraldo Plaza is lined with sidewalk cafes, restaurants and shops. It is also where the tourism information office is located, thus giving you a chance to get maps and other information. While you’re there, you’ll want to note the marble fountain with eight spouts, representing the eight streets leading to the plaza.

Roman Temple

From Giraldo Plaza, head toward the Roman Temple of Diana, located in the Conde Vila Flor square. 14 of the original columns that made up the temple survive to this day. Additionally, the granite base and a portion of the roof still survive. Next, check out the Roman baths, a selfie-taking landmark.

Evora Cathedral (Sé) - Evora Portugal

Evora Cathedral (Sé) – Wikipedia

Museum

While you’re at the Conde Vila Flor, take time for the Evora Museum, which stands on top of the town’s old Roman forum. The museum has about 20,000 outstanding pieces of painting, sculpture and archaeology. It’s free the first Sunday of every month.

Cathedral (Se de Evora)

After the museum and Roman ruins, head to the biggest cathedral in Portugal. Evora Cathedral, also known as Se de Evora, was initially built in the 13th century with a façade of rose granite. The two massive towers were completed in the 16th century and feature conical spires surrounded by six turrets.

Other Places of Interest

From the cathedral, visit the Graça and Sao Francisco Church. Sao Francisco Church is particularly interesting due to its peculiar Chapel of Bones. A Franciscan monk built the Chapel of Bones in the 16th century, with the hope that it would encourage visitors to reflect on the transitory nature of life. Human skeletons cover the interior walls of this chapel, giving it both its name and status as one of Evora’s most haunting landmarks. 

Tourism Office

Located at Praça do Giraldo
Tel 266702671
Business Hours: 9 a.m. – 7 p.m. (summer) | 9 a.m. – 6 p.m. (winter)

Where to Stay

Accommodations in Evora are easily found (see Hotels in Evora.) Portugal.com recommends these properties:

Hotel M’Ar de Ar Muralhas – This 4-star hotel in historic central Évora is just a 5-minute walk from Giraldo Square.
Hotel M’Ar de Ar Aqueduto – Housed in a 16th-century palace, this 5-star boutique hotel features a beautiful chapel and dome ceilings. It has an extensive spa and outdoor pool overlooking the aqueducts of Évora.
Evora Pousada – Convento dos Loios – This luxurious Pousada is located in the historical center of the city, between the Gothic Cathedral and the Temple of Diana.

Portugal.com Overnight Tour Packages Visiting Evora

Many of our escorted overnight packages and self-drive tours stop in Evora. Some feature overnight stays, while others just stop for a visit. For more information, visit our packages page.

Portugal.com Daily Tours of Evora

Private and group tours depart from Lisbon to visit Evora daily. For more information, visit our tours page.

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