How to Spend One Day in Évora, Portugal: An Efficient, Fun-Filled Itinerary!

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The following one day in Évora itinerary is brought to you by Sydney from Alone and Abroad, an American living abroad! Read on for some of her top tips for making the most of one day in Evora.

Évora may not be as well known as Sintra or Cascais as a Lisbon day trip destination, but it deserves to be, especially for history lovers.

This quaint town, less than two hours from Lisbon, provides a nice change of pace from the city’s hustle and bustle while providing plenty of things to do. 

Évora is one of the oldest cities in Portugal – second only to Braga. The city center is so culturally significant that UNESCO declared it a World Heritage Site.

The first time I visited Évora I completely fell in love with its charm. So much so that I compiled a list of things to do in Évora in one day, and turned them into a complete guide to this magical city!

This Évora in One Day Guide is going to attempt to take you through all of the most unique places in this enchanting city… so read on for the full itinerary!

Save this Évora in One Day Itinerary for Later!

You’ll be very glad you did.

Getting to Évora

There are several ways to reach Évora from Lisbon. The fastest is to get a rental car and make the hour-long journey into a mini road trip.

Another option is to take a bus. There is a direct bus that goes between Lisbon’s Oriente station and Évora. Tickets are less than €5 and you can get there in under two hours.

But of course, the most stress-free option is to hire a tour guide to take you directly to Évora (and in many cases, go wine tasting in the countryside as well).

A stone temple with no roof and several columns
Photo by Ryan Miller on Unsplash

Breakfast: Queijada de Évora

Many cities in Portugal have their own “signature” pastry; Lisbon has pasteis de nata, Sintra has travesseiros, and Évora has queijadas de Évora.

A queijada de Évora is a sweet, cheesy bite-sized pastry, a bit similar to a cheesecake. Most bakeries in Évora will have them, but here are some personal favorites:

  • Conventual Pastry Pão de Rala: One of the best bakeries in Évora. They have fantastic convent sweets and the bakery walls are covered in classic Portuguese azulejos (hand-painted tiles).
  • Nata Lisboa Évora Plaza: Specializes in flavored queijadas. Orange, mango, and passionfruit are some of the options. This bakery is a bit outside of the city center, but it’s worth grabbing an Uber if you’re in search of some seriously good pastries.
  • Pasteleria Violeta: The perfect place to try the queijada AND the famed pastel de nata. This is a classic Portuguese bakery that offers a large number of local pastries, many of which were created in Évora.

Morning: Chapel of Bones

We’re starting our day early in an attempt to beat some crowds at the most famous spot in Évora – the Chapel of Bones. 

Yes, it is exactly what it sounds like. 

Similar to the Catacombs of Paris or Rome’s Capuchin Crypt, this chapel has been – for lack of a better word – decorated with the bones of over 5,000 corpses.

In the 17th century, monks in the São Francisco Church wanted to create a chapel that would act as an allegory for the inevitability of death. A sign above the entrance cautions those who enter, “We bones are here, waiting for yours.”

The chapel can be found inside the São Francisco Church, which also has an art museum and rooftop terrace with sweeping views of the city and Alentejo countryside.

A chapel with human bones lined on the wall and decorated into patterns

Unwind in the Public Gardens

After being forced to confront your mortality, the Évora Public Gardens are a nice spot to rejoin the living. 

I mean, in how many parks can you find 14th-century ruins, peacocks, and a 400-year-old palace?

Want to know a little not-so-secret secret? Some of the “ruins” aren’t nearly as old as they look.

While some of the ruins are real, there are imposters to be found in this park as well. The ‘fake ruins’, as they’re called, were actually built in the 19th century with materials taken from other monuments throughout the city.

Stone ruins of an "ancient" palace
They may be fake, but they sure are beautiful

Early Afternoon: Souvenir Shopping

What would any day trip be without some souvenirs to commemorate the trip? 

Take a casual stroll down 5 de outubro street, which is lined with souvenir shops, ice cream parlors, wine cellars, and outdoor cafes.

A pedestrian street with souvenir stores and people shopping.
Photo by ensaio da cegueira

Did you know Portugal is the world’s biggest producer of cork? Or that the Alentejo region of Portugal is famous for its wine, pork, and ceramics? This is the place to stock up on little mementos to bring a little bit of Évora back home with you.  

A ceramics shop
Photo by Samuel Isaacs on Unsplash

Lunch: Bite into the Iconic Bifana

A bifana is one of Portugal’s most beloved dishes. A hearty sandwich made with strips of pork sauteed with garlic, white wine, and spices, a bifana is nothing short of delicious. 

While they can be found and enjoyed throughout the country, they originate from this region of Portugal.

One of the best places to try this Portuguese staple is at the restaurant that started it all – Bifanas de Vendas Novas. You can get just the basic sandwich, or add extras like bacon, cheese, tomatoes, or a fried egg.

Afternoon: Catch Sight of the Cathedral

The largest cathedral in Portugal sits on the highest hill in Évora. In my opinion, the real marvel of this cathedral is the view from the terrace. Since it’s built at the highest point of the city, you can gaze out at the pristine, seemingly endless countryside. 

The Cathedral of Évora hosts the Museum of Religious Art and an adorable cafe to relax with a coffee and get an energy boost to complete this Évora itinerary.

The Evora cathedral and courtyard
Photo by Petra Nesti

Travel Towards the Temple

Lucky for us, you don’t have to travel very far. Just across the plaza from the Cathedral lies the Temple to Diana. Why is it called that? Honestly, I am not sure. There’s no evidence that it was ever actually dedicated to the Roman goddess Diana. But still, the name persists. 

What I can say for certain is that it is one of Évora’s most emblematic sights. This is the view that’s on all of the city’s postcards. 

You can’t enter the temple, but you can admire the outside and take photos of a structure that’s been standing since the 2nd century.

Temple in ruins with dozens of roman columns, some of which are only half complete.

Admire the Aqueduct

Like nearly all formerly Roman towns, Évora has a well-preserved aqueduct that was built in the early 1500s to bring clean drinking water into the city. 

Let me tell you, it is incredibly easy to romanticize your life when you can frolic around a medieval city, and be surrounded by these grand stone archways. Why did we ever stop building things like this that are functional and beautiful? But anyways, back to the itinerary. 

Most of the aqueduct lies outside the medieval wall containing the city center, but a small stretch runs alongside Rua do Cano, where houses are built in between the grand arches.

A town from above. There are trees turning red, white houses, and orange roofs
Photo by Lan Yao

Dinner: Try Alentejo’s Famous Black Pork

If there was one dish to characterize Alentejo, it would likely be porco preto.

Porco preto, or black pork, comes from the same type of pig as Spain’s jamon iberico. They’re fed a strict diet of acorns, giving the meat a slightly nutty taste. 

Porco preto can be served in dozens of ways – as charcuterie, a stew, in rice – and truth be told there is no bad way to serve it. 

 So, where can you find porco preto in Évora?

  • Restaurante O Templo: This cozy, family-owned restaurant cannot be recommended highly enough. They serve traditional Alentejano feasts with locally produced food and wine. The restaurant itself is quite small, so be sure to get a reservation at least a few days in advance.
  • Botequim da Mouraria: It’s nearly impossible to please everyone, especially on the internet. When a restaurant has over 1400 reviews and a 5-star rating on TripAdvisor, you know you’re in for something special.
  • Taberna Típica Quarta-Feira: What better way to introduce yourself to Portuguese cuisine than a constantly evolving, multi-course menu? The only constant is their authentic, delicious, and locally sourced Portuguese meals.
A charcuterie board with cheese, crackers, and ham.
Photo by Dan Dennis on Unsplash

Evening: Roam ‘Round Roman Baths

It’s tiiiiiiimmmeeeeeeee!

We’re finishing our Évora itinerary in a Roman bath house that has been converted into a luxury spa!

 In Acqua Veritas is an ultra-exclusive spa where ancient meets modern. They renovated historic Roman baths and created an oasis where you can enjoy the baths, tea, and a hot stone massage. Only one booking is allowed at a time so you have the entire place to yourself. 

If you want to visit the Roman Baths without booking a spa treatment, there are ruins from the 2nd century on display inside City Hall that can be visited for free. 

If you take this route you’d have to go much earlier in the day. They are only open Monday – Friday, 9:00 am – 5:30 pm. While it may not be a luxury spa, it is ancient Roman architecture and accessible for every budget! 

The roof of the cathedral of Evora. The picture shows a wall with stone spikes, a round medieval tower, and a sky full of clouds.
Photo by Petra Nesti

I Hope You Enjoyed This Guide on How to Spend a Day in Évora!

Let us know in the comments if you have any more questions about this Évora One Day Itinerary!

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