With a population of over 60,000, Evora is one of the fastest-growing cities in Portugal. It is also one of the oldest cities in the country, with the earliest document mentioning the city dating back to 712. During the prehistoric times, Evora was known as a thriving center of arts and learning and was frequented, various Portuguese kings.
Today, the city’s historical center is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and it draws plenty of visitors daily.
15 Best Things to Do and See in Evora, Portugal
Visit the haunting Chapel of Bones
Perhaps the most haunting experience you can have in the city of Evora is visiting the Chapel of Bones. Located near Igreja de Sao Francisco, the site contains more than 5,000 skeletons gathered from the city’s cemetery and will make you contemplate your mortality.
The thousands of skeletons were collected by the Franciscan monks who wanted to provoke visitors into envisaging the ephemeral nature of life.
Check out the Cathedral
It may have a rather grim complexion, but Se (Cathedral) has a lot going on. Its fading sandstone façade is understandable since the church has been around since 1204.
The church is noticeable from a distance for its two giant lopsided bell towers and the Romanesque style with traces of Gothic.
It is eerily quiet on the inside but the elegant granite chancel and the high altar will suddenly change the mood.
The centerpiece of the church is perhaps the museum of sacred art, which features some rare treasures.
Check into the Carriage Museum
Located behind the cathedral is one of the well-kept secrets in the city – the Carriage Museum. It is run by the Eugenio de Almeida Foundation and exhibits a wide range of carriage collection and other related items.
Admire the ancient Roman Temple
Also known as the Temple to Diana, this ancient structure is one of the most visited sites in the city of Evora and the most important Roman landmarks in Portugal.
Dating back to the 2nd century AD, the temple still has 14 original columns standing strong on top of the brickwork base.
The temple is illuminated at night to add to its aura and splendor.
Explore Evora’s historic central square
The city’s stunning central square is one of the most favorite meeting spots for city dwellers. Here you will find many tourists and locals sitting, chatting, or admiring the architecture of the surrounding buildings.
Named after a desperado that ousted the Moors, Geraldo Sem-Pavor, the square surrounded by restaurants and cafés
The square is rather livelier and jovial, which is a far cry from its darker past when it held inquisition burnings and beheadings.
See the murals at Casas Pintadas
If you are a fan of murals, then Casas Pintadas (Painted Houses) is the place to visit in Evora. The frescos including paintings of mythological creatures as well as other animals presented n moral virtues, characteristics, and vices. These murals are believed to be more than 5 centuries old, despite the exhibitions being ultra-modern.
While there, don’t forget to check out the top floor to find the Inquisitor’s room.
Check out the Evora Museum
Located near the cathedral is the Evora Museum. It is modern and family-friendly with a wide range of art collections. The museum used to be a palace from the 16th century but today it is home to some of the most interesting pieces of history about Evora.
The gallery features incredible exhibits such as a Flemish polyptych, which is a detailed painting of thirteen sheets implemented in bright Technicolor. But the focus of the museum is archaeology and a certain Roman sculpture.
Stroll through the corridors of the University of Evora
As one of the oldest universities in Portugal, the University of Evora is worth visiting if you love ancient architecture. Its beautiful courtyard is fringed with lecture rooms adorned with white and blue panels, which still gleam despite being 2 centuries old.
The university is still in use today so before you visit, be sure to contact the receptionist for more information.
If you get permission to explore the school, make sure to check out Sala dos Actos, a Baroque oratory from the 18th century.
Walk along Aqueduto da Agua de Prata
Locally known as the Aqueduct of Silver Water, this striking 16th-century watercourse is one of the main attractions of Evora. It stands at 26 meters tall, making it one of the tallest structures in the city and can be seen from just about any corner of the town.
Today the arches are surrounded by warehouses and shops as well as other stalls.
To fully enjoy the views of the aqueduct, you should walk along the path that starts outside the town walls.
Take a tour of the Megaliths
Located some 15 kilometers away from the city, Cromlech of Almendres is an enigmatic oval comprising 95 granite boulders from between 4000 BC and 2000 BC.
Legend has it that this site use to be a temple devoted to a solar cult.
Sample local wine
There are plenty of wineries in Evora, and with a small fee, you can sample up to 7 types of wines. One of the popular wine tasting spots is the Rota dos Vinhos do Alentejo.
Get lost in Evora
Apart from the popular landmarks and ancient buildings, Evora itself is quite charming and the best way to experience it is by just strolling around and getting completely lost. Its old quarter features a labyrinth if well-kept cobblestone streets and white-walled houses.
You will find a lot of hidden gems in Evora if you let yourself get lost.
Chill at Jardim Publico
This pleasant public space is a favorite relaxing spot for many locals in Evora. Once served as grounds for Palacio Manuel, today the only section that useful is the Women’s Wing.
Visit Loios Church and Cadaval Palace
The church of Loios is located next to the Cadaval Ducal Palace and it stands out for the stunning azulejo panels that cover it from floor to ceiling.
Take Arraiolos-Estremoz tour
The fortified village of Arraiolos is located 23 kilometers from Evora and is the best day trip from the city.
For inspiring views of the nearby landscape, climb up the hilltop, where you will also find an ancient castle from the 14th century.
This village is also known for its needlecraft, so make sure you shop for some carpets and vivid wool rugs before leaving.
To help you plan out your visit to Evora, we listed places to visit and other amazing activities to do in Evora, Portugal. We also listed some of the best travel and tour packages, as well as excellent flight deals and accommodation.
Searching for the best hotels, resorts, and affordable flights in the nearby Cities? Check out our list of affordable Evora hotels and resorts via Agoda, or you may also see available Airbnb properties in the city.