The best independent guide to Central Portugal
The best independent guide to Central Portugal
Evora is a historic Portuguese city that lies in the heart of the Alentejo region. The city boasts a charming centre, numerous interesting sights and an unhurried, relaxed ambience. There are regular and inexpensive train and bus services between the two cities, which makes Evora an interesting day trip option from Lisbon.
Please note: Due to the journey time (1.5 hours each way), a trip to Evora can be a long day and some tourists, wishing to travel at a more relaxed pace, may want to stay overnight in the city. This guide will provide an overview of a day trip to Evora from Lisbon.
Related articles: Introduction to Evora
The majestic Se Cathedral and the wonderful rooftop view over the city.
The pretty cobbled streets and white-washed houses that have been converted into family-run shops, cafes and restaurants.
The macabre Chapel of Bones, built from bones exhumed from the city’s graveyards.
The finely preserved Roman structure of the Iberian Peninsular.
Evora and Obidos are both delightful and historic cities that are popular day trips from Lisbon. Obidos is so popular it can feel over run with coach loads of day trippers, especially on summer weekends and it is advised to visit in the working week (Mon-Fri), where possible.
Aqueduct of Evora, to the north of the city walls
Evora is much larger than Obidos and there are many more tourist sites, although it is also much further away than Obidos. This long journey can rule out Evora as a day trip for tourists who prefer shorter excursions. For visitors who have time, they can spend a night in Evora, while Obidos can easily be seen within a few hours.
However, for those who can tolerate a longer journey, and high temperatures (see next section), it is highly recommended to visit Evora on a day trip to make the most of time spent in Portugal. The recommended day trips from Lisbon are; Sintra, Cascais, Evora or Obidos and Mafra.
Heat: Evora is situated in the centre of Portugal and this region can get very hot in the summer. Some visitors may find the midday heat too much for sightseeing and may wish to spend a night in Evora to explore the city in the cooler morning and evening periods.
Accessibility: The historic centre of Evora has cobbled streets and some steep slopes, which may make it difficult to explore for less mobile visitors.
The train and bus services between Lisbon and Evora take approximately the same time and are similar prices. The main advantage of the bus is that it runs a much more frequent, almost, hourly service, whilst there are only four trains per day (three at weekends).
We personally prefer train travel as the carriages as very spacious and the buses can experience the erratic driving (hard braking and fast cornering) of the Portuguese. Bus tickets should be booked in advance, especially during the summer, whereas, train tickets can be bought on the day – leaving much more flexibility. For a guide to traveling to Evora from Lisbon please click here.
Evora train station is modern but very quiet
Buses depart from Lisbon’s Sete Rios Bus Station, which is next to the Jardim Zoológico Metro Station (Blue Metro Line). Trains depart from Lisbon’s Orient Station, which is on the Red Metro Line (close to the airport). The approximate fares for both modes of transport are €12 for a single adult or €20 for a day return.
Both the bus and the train station are within easy walking distance of the Evora’s historic centre.
The bus station is to the west of the city. Upon arrival turn right out of the bus station and follow the road that runs alongside the city cemetery. The road enters Evora through the city gate. Pass through the city gate, continue on this road and up the cobbled hill to reach the main square, the Praça do Giraldo.
The Praça do Giraldo is the heart of the city
The walk from the train station, which located to the south of the city, is slightly longer. The walk from the station passes the police stables and the main car park of Evora, this route enters the city via the southern gate and the Praça do Giraldo can be found by walking up the hill. The Praça do Giraldo is the heart of Evora and is also the location of the main tourist office; make sure to pop in and get a free map. For a guide to the major sight of Evora please click here.
The Praça do Giraldo and the surrounding streets have many open-air cafes and restaurants. It is advised to do a little sightseeing first and then use this as a break when the temperatures are peaking. Also, the Alentejo region has a reputation for extended lunches, whereby, the whole city closes down for a minimum of 1.5 hours. This extended shutdown includes all of the major tourist sites (Se cathedral, Chapel of bones, Evora Museum) and can be extremely frustrating when there is limited time to explore the city.
The university of Evora
For an inexpensive lunch option, look for the sign “Prate de Dia” in the cafes. This means the meal will include a soup, light main dish and a coffee, all for less than €7. There are many small restaurants hidden throughout the city and it is recommended to look around rather than going for the first central option.
Best city view: The roof of the Se Cathedral provides great views of Evora. This is accessed is via a narrow spiral staircase, which may make it difficult for less mobile visitors.
Need a break from sightseeing: An enjoyable place for a relaxing coffee break is the Jardim Publico. This pleasant park has cooling shade, duck ponds and roaming peacocks.
Unexplored Evora: To the north of the city there are houses and shops that have been built into the arches of the aqueduct and these novel dwellings make for an enjoyable short walk.
Top unique sight: The Chapel of Bones is the most popular sight of Evora. However, this may not be suitable for some visitors who would prefer not to see human bones on display.
If ever get lost in Evora, which is very possible as there are so many small streets, always head up the hill as this will take visitors directly back to the Roman Temple.