I just got back from a weekend trip to Évora, and I can’t believe I didn’t visit sooner! Évora is the capital city of Alentejo, a tranquil wine region in central Portugal, and it’s one of those destinations that gets better with every turn.
Évora, Portugal is best known for its ancient city walls, vibrant yellow streets, and long history. The historic district of Évora is protected as a UNESCO World Heritage site and the city has been a significant player in Portugal’s story for thousands of years.
Considering it’s all just an hour and a half train ride from Lisbon, it’s no wonder Évora is a popular day trip destination.
In this guide, we’ll cover exactly how to plan a Lisbon to Évora day trip, including how to get there, what to see, and highlights you can’t miss.
- Evora with Love walking tour: This is a great way to see the city with a knowledgeable guide.
- Almendres Cromlech tour: Travel into the Alentejo countryside to visit “Portuguese Stonehenge.”
- In Aqua Veritas: Relax and indulge at the Roman baths.
- Hotel recommendation: Valeriana Exclusive GuestHouse is centrally located with free parking and a panoramic rooftop terrace.
Is an Évora day trip worth it?
First things first, is Évora worth visiting as a day trip from Lisbon?
For me, it’s a yes!
Évora is a fascinating city with a different feeling from anywhere else I’ve been in Portugal. The yellow streets, mysterious bone chapel, and ancient ruins are unique to Évora, and you’ll also get to experience the Alentejo wine region which is known for impeccable food and weather.
Because it’s only a one-and-a-half-hour journey from Lisbon, it’s not too far to tackle as a day trip. But honestly, I’d recommend spending at least one night in Évora if you have the time. You’ll be able to see more sites, venture out into the wine country, and sample more amazing restaurants without worrying about missing your ride home.
When I visited, I stayed for a whole weekend and didn’t run out of things to do. This guide will condense Évora down into a day, but particularly if you’re a history person, I’d recommend an overnight.
How to get to Évora from Lisbon
You can get to Évora from Lisbon by train, bus, or car.
By train: This is how I got from Lisbon to Évora and it was super simple. Book a direct train ticket to Évora from Sete Rios, Entrecampos, or Oriente station in Lisbon. You don’t need to transfer trains and you’ll arrive in about an hour and a half. You can buy Lisbon to Évora train tickets on the CP website and prices range from €10 to €20 each way.
Once you arrive, the Évora train station is about a 15-minute walk from the center of town. You’ll turn right outside the station and take Av. Dr. Francisco Barahona straight into the city.
By bus: There’s a direct bus operated by FlixBus that runs from Lisbon Oriente to Évora several times per day. The bus takes an hour and a half and tickets start at around €5 each way. Grab tickets in advance on the FlixBus website.
By car: From Lisbon, you’ll take Highway A2 to A6, then hop on N114. The drive to Évora takes about an hour and a half.
Just outside of Évora’s medieval walls, there are large parking lots that are walking distance to the historic district. Parking Descampado had plenty of space even over the weekend. If you’re spending the night, the Valeriana Exclusive GuestHouse where I stayed had free parking for guests.
By guided tour: You can also book an organized group tour or private day tour to Évora from Lisbon. These options work well if you don’t want to arrange your own transportation, but because Évora is so easy to get to, you won’t have any issues doing it independently.
How to spend a day in Évora
There are so many fun things to do in Évora, but for this article, we’ll cover some highlights you can comfortably see in one day.
Kick off your day in Évora with a historical walking tour. You can either book a guided tour experience or follow the self-guided route outlined below. I took a guided tour with Évora with Love walking tours and it was a great way to see the sights.
The guide was extremely knowledgeable with a deep passion for the cultures and people that shaped the city. The tour lasted about 2.5 hours and we hit several main attractions while learning about the city’s history. Our guide did a great job answering questions and explaining details like the meaning behind different paint colors and architectural shapes. Book your Evora with Love tour here.
If you’d prefer to go on your own, here’s an itinerary you can follow that should take you about half a day.
Start by visiting the Igreja de São Francisco (Church of St. Francis) and the Capela dos Ossos (Chapel of Bones). The main sanctuary of the Igreja de Sao Francisco is free to enter and it’s one of the most elaborate, ornate churches I’ve seen. Our tour guide explained that it was recently renovated and restored with archaeologists painstakingly recovering soaring frescos paint chip by paint chip.
Next door, you can purchase a ticket to the Évora Bone Chapel for €5. The Bone Chapel is a small room constructed from, you guessed it, human bones. Reading the plaques around the room gives helpful context, and it’s one of the more unique spaces I’ve visited.
Your ticket also includes access to the galleries upstairs where you can see religious art, a video about how they restored the church a few years ago, and a large collection of nativity scenes. If you like miniatures and models, the nativity scene exhibition is truly delightful.
Next, make your way up Rua da Republica toward Praca do Giraldo and the Giraldo Square Fountain. This is the heart of town with shops and restaurants lining the streets. Turn up Rua Cinco de Octoubro and walk uphill, passing gift shops, cork stores, restaurants, and bars along the way.
If you’re a wine fan, swing by Rota dos Vinhos do Alentejo for a wine tasting. They offer tastings throughout the day where you can sample four local Alentejo wines for €5.
At the top of the hill, you’ll see the impressive Roman Temple of Évora, also known as the Temple of Diana. The Roman ruins are one of Évora’s most famous sites and a great place to grab a photo.
You’ll also see the Cathedral of Évora, which is situated at the highest point in the city. This is one of the biggest cathedrals in all of Portugal and I recommend buying a ticket to see the inside.
Your ticket gives you access to the roof via a set of tightly-wound spiral stairs, and from there, you’ll get an amazing view of the town and surrounding countryside. Walking around the Évora cathedral roof was one of the most memorable parts of the trip, so don’t skip this one!
By now you’re probably ready to relax for a bit and grab some lunch. I’ve got some restaurant recommendations below, and don’t forget to try a local Queijada de Évora sweet pastry.
For the afternoon, I recommend one of two options.
Option 1: Relax at the In Aqua Veritas Spa
In Aqua Veritas is a replica of a Roman bathhouse located in a historic building. You can book spa treatments, sample a local tasting menu, and swim in warm, hot, and cold pools with massage jets.
If you reserve a visit, you and your group will have the whole space to yourselves. Since all bookings are private, so this is a good activity to do with a partner or group of friends. I went solo and while it was restful and relaxing, it felt pretty funny to paddle around the Roman baths solo for an hour.
Option 2: Take an excursion to Cromeleque dos Almendres
Almendres Cromlech is a neolithic stone circle and ceremonial site located about 13 km away from Évora in the Alentejo countryside. If you’re a history and archaeology nerd like me, this is a pretty special place to visit. It’s easy to get to if you’re traveling with a car, but if not you can book a guided tour.
I went with a guide named Pedro who I found through Airbnb experiences. It turned out that I was the only guest the day I went, and Pedro customized the private tour experience as we drove through the countryside. His deep love for Évora is obvious in his tour and he knows so much about the city and the region as a whole.
Pedro also offers a winery tour, and if it’s anything like his Cromeleque dos Almendres tour, I’m sure it’s wonderful.
If you have more time after your afternoon activity, take a walk down Rua do Cano to see the 16th-century aqueducts that make up the spine of Évora. You can type in Aqueduto da Agua de Prata into Google Maps to get directions from the center of town, and it was amazing to see houses and businesses built right into the ancient aqueduct.
You can also spend time exploring the Royal Gardens of Évora. There’s a little quiosque with good croissant sandwiches and an alarming number of peacocks, and you can also see the Royal Palace and Ruinas Fingidas all within the park grounds.
Where to eat on your Évora day trip
The food and wine in Alentejo are amazing! Here are a few of my favorite places for a meal in Évora.
The Bakery Lounge: A perfect spot for breakfast or lunch, The Bakery Lounge serves breakfast all day and other tasty dishes like tostas, bagels, bowls, and salads. They even have flavored iced coffees (hard to come by in Portugal) and a large outdoor patio space to enjoy the warm weather.
Fábrica dos Pastéis: Fábrica dos Pastéis is an adorable little bakery tucked away on a side street with an exquisite, buttery, pastel de nata. This pastel is one of the best I’ve had in Portugal and they have great savory empanadas too. Perfect for a little snack on your Évora day trip from Lisbon.
Tua Madre: This popular lunch and dinner restaurant is located on one of the main foodie streets in Évora and they serve a fusion of Italian and Portuguese flavors. Dishes are smaller and designed to be shared, and I highly recommend their sourdough focaccia starter.
Cartouxa: Cartouxa is memorable because it’s one of the only places in town where you can try premium wines by the glass. On top of that, the food is marvelous. I went for dinner and had the tomato soup with poached egg and local cheese as well as a vegetable mille-feuille, both accompanied by a curated wine selection. A must if you’re in town for dinner, but don’t forget to make a reservation.
Taberna Tipica Quarta-Feira: A highly recommended restaurant that’s on my list for next time. Here, you make a reservation and you’re severed whatever the chef is cooking. It’s family style and there’s no menu, and the reviews are glowing with many people saying it’s the best meal they’ve ever had.
Something to note: A lot of restaurants in Évora close between lunch and dinner. If you’re hungry during off hours, Cafe Arcada on the main square and PipaRoza Boutique Bar both serve snacks and tapas all day.
When is the best time to visit Évora?
According to my two local guides, the best months to visit are October and November or April and May. “Anything else is too cold or too hot,” one guide shared. I visited in November and was completely comfortable in jeans, a tee shirt, and a light pullover sweatshirt, even after dark. If you do come in the peak summer or winter months, make sure to dress accordingly.
What’s a good hotel in Évora?
I stayed at the Valeriana Exclusive GuestHouse and it was perfect for my overnight stay. It was just steps from the city center, reasonably priced compared to other hotels in the area, and there was a beautiful rooftop terrace with a city view. (One thing to note, it’s in an older building with lots of stairs, so it wouldn’t be the best fit for travelers who need elevator access.)
Final thoughts: Planning a Lisbon to Évora Day Trip
Évora is the capital of the Alentejo region and one of the best places to visit if you love history, wine, and simply wandering the cobblestone streets of a beautiful little city. It’s easy to take a Lisbon to Évora day trip, and I’m already looking forward to my next visit.
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