Evora in Portugal is a UNESCO world heritage site. This walled city is a couple of hours driving distance from Lisbon making a day trip to Evora possible.

Why We Don’t Recommend A Day Trip to Evora Portugal

Evora Portugal is picturesque. The classic buildings, old-world charm, Roman ruins and more make it a breathtaking destination for many people who travel to Portugal. So why don’t we recommend a day trip to Evora Portugal? Read on and discover.

Our Day Trip to Evora Portugal

The end of our Portugal trip was near. We were completely relaxed having just spent a couple of days in the Algarve. But, with one more day left we chose to explore the medieval city of Evora. Evora is in the Alentejo, Portugal region, less than 2 hours drive from Cascais and nearby Lisbon, where we had been staying. We had rented a car for our family travel in Portugal, so it was easy to get around. Evora, Portugal has been consistently touted as one of the best places to visit in Portugal. Most of the city’s attractions are conveniently located within the city walls. So, we figured from Cascais a day trip from Lisbon to Evora is doable.

The town of Evora, Portugal seen through a grassy field

Pro-Tip: If you do not have your own car, from Lisbon you can use the bus or train to get to Evora.

We headed out bright and early and took the toll road to avoid traffic. We didn’t need the help of the GPS, as it was a straight shot on the highway from our family-friendly accommodation in Cascais. Soon, we could see the walled city in the distance. Hoping to avoid the parking chaos we experienced in Sintra, we picked one of the many parking lots just outside the city walls and walked to the town.

Roman Temple (Temple of Diana)

As we approached the city we instantly knew we were in the right place when we spotted the ancient Roman Temple. Interestingly, it is also known as the Temple of Diana even though there is no proof that the temple was ever dedicated to the ancient goddess of the hunt. The Roman ruins in Evora are 14 surviving columns topped by Corinthian capitals on a granite base. Even though it was built in the 2nd or 3rd century, the Temple is in remarkably good shape. Apparently, the Temple was walled up in the middle ages and used as a slaughterhouse which is why when it was excavated it was in remarkably good condition. The ruins stand out against the more classic Portuguese architecture in Evora, making it one of the best places to visit in Portugal

View of Roman Temple taken from the base looking up.

Se (Cathedral)

Our next stop, Evora’s Cathedral, was across from the Roman Temple. It is known for having asymmetrical towers (one tower is turreted and the other is topped by a blue cone). The Se took 50 years to complete and looks more like a fortress with its weathered granite than a cathedral. We took some time to admire the portal between the towers which contains wonderfully sculpted Apostles.

Front facade of Evora's Cathedral, a stop in our day trip to Evora.

The interior was just as impressive with an 18th-century high altar and polished marble chancel. A visit to the treasury is a must. The treasury is also a museum of sacred artifacts and contains rare and priceless pieces made out of gold, silver, and other precious metals. We finished our tour of the Cathedral by wandering around the cloisters. The visit was made more incredible by exploring the incredible Monasteries of Portugal.

Praca do Giraldo

After a leisurely lunch, we strolled along Rua 5 de Outubro where we saw many stores selling various handicrafts and even furniture. There were a lot of items featuring cork, for which the region is known. We paused to take in the scenery around Praca do Giraldo, admiring the fountain at Evora’s main square.

Praca do Giraldo with fountain was a great stop on our day trip to Evora, Portugal.

To escape the afternoon sun, we headed to our next indoor stop on our day trip to Evora.

Igreja Real de São Francisco (Church of St. Francis)

Between 1475 – 1550, the Church of St. Francis was built in Gothic style. On entry, you will immediately notice that the church is immense and has a single vaulted naive. The largest of its kind in all of Portugal. The main draw, however, is the small room behind the altar. It’s sites like this that make Evora one of the most special cities in Portugal.

Front altar of the Church of St. Francis in Evora, Portugal.
Gilded altar at the Church of St. Francis, a stop in our day trip to Evora, Portugal.

Capela dos Ossos (Bone Chapel)

We headed to the back room in anticipation. As macabre as it sounds, ever since we missed out on visiting the Paris Catacombs, we had been on the lookout for another bone chapel to visit. According to our readings, a monk built the 16th-century church to encourage people to reflect on the transitory nature of life. We paused at the entrance where there was a sign that read “Nós ossos que aqui estamos, pelos vossos esperamos”. Translated it meant “We bones that are here await yours”.

Inside the Bone Chapel in Evora, Portugal.

Built from bones of approximately 5000 bodies exhumed from the city’s graveyards, it was striking to see walls and all 8 columns made of human bones. There were only 3 small windows that allowed minimal light into the chapel contributing to the eerie atmosphere. There were also two corpses hanging by a chain, one adult and one child on one of the walls. Instantly, I was relieved C was not old enough to understand what he was seeing.

Click Here To Discover The Incredible Palaces of Sintra Portugal

Igreja da Nossa Senhora da Graca (Church of Our Lady of Grace)

We spent the rest of the day walking the cobblestone streets admiring the mixture of Roman, Gothic, and Baroque architecture. Next, we then headed down Rua da Republic on our way back to the parking lot. But first, we paused to take a look at the intriguing Church of Our Lady of Grace. What caught our attention were the four stone statues atop the baroque facade. The figures seem to be supporting massive globes.

Church of Our Lady of Grace in Evora, Portugal.

Aqueduto da Agua de Prata (Aqueduct of Silver Water)

Just outside of the city walls was another attraction on our list of places to visit on our day trip to Evora. The aqueduct, completed in 1530, was designed by Francisco de Arruda, famously known as the designer of the Tower of Belem. Although we saw several aqueducts in Portugal already, the Evora aqueduct was unique. At the end of the aqueduct shops, houses, and cafes have been built to fit perfectly into the arches.

Aqueduct of Silver Water in Evora, Portugal.

Don’t Do a Day Trip to Evora!

Visiting the walled city of Evora was definitely one of the highlights of our trip to Portugal. It was an easy day trip to Evora from Cascais. If you are looking for one of the best day trips from Lisbon, the drive would be even shorter at only 1.5 hours. However, for a longer trip, like 10 days in Portugal, we would definitely turn our day trip to Evora into an overnight stay. This way we could have explored the city even more. There are also many interesting sites just outside of Evora that we would have loved to visit if we had more time.

Best Hotels in Evora, Portugal

We would have loved to stay longer in Evora. It’s a beautiful city full of amazing sites, stories, and amazing food. So we researched the best hotels in Evora for our next trip to the city. When looking up where to stay in Evora, Portugal we checked out everything from luxury hotels in Evora to budget hostels. Here are some of our favorites:

Sunlit cliffs and a beach in Portugal's Algarve

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Luxury Hotels in Evora

  • Pousada Convento de Evora, Evora, Portugal – Pousada Convento de Evora provides chic 5-star accommodation in Evora. It offers complimentary wireless internet and is moments from the Roman Temple of Evora and tourist attractions. Click here to find their prices and availability.
  • Convento do Espinheiro – Located amongst a variety of popular attractions, shops, and eateries, Convento do Espinheiro A Luxury Collection Hotel & Spa is ideal for those wishing to discover Evora and its surroundings. Some of the premium facilities at this peaceful 5-star hotel include a Turkish steam bath and free Wi-Fi. Click here to find their prices and availability.
  • M’Ar De Ar Aqueduto – M’Ar De Ar Aqueduto provides charming 5-star accommodation in Evora. It has a fitness center, as well as a kids pool, a laundry service, and free Wi-Fi. Click here to find their prices and availability.

Budget Hostels in Evora

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Christina Wagar
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Christina Wagar

Christina Wagar grew up in a travel loving family. She strives to instil her love of learning about different cultures and seeing new and old places to her husband Kevin and their two young boys.
Having experienced over 20 countries across 4 continents Christina is well versed at travel planning and thrives on sharing that information with others with the hopes of encouraging more families to experience this incredible world that we live in.
Christina Wagar
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50 Comments

  1. You guys had me worried for a minute i should have guessed it was one these reverse stories. We are headed out to Evora on the 6th of December from Lisbon. We will have 8 hours to explore, hoping to see lots of good stuff

  2. Hi Christina. We’re going to Portugal in spring and will have one night in Evora. Just out of curiosity, what other sights do you have in mind that you wish you could have stayed longer to explore?Just looking for ideas for our trip ;). Thanks!

    1. Jurga, I am jealous! Wish we could be heading back to Evora again. One of the activities I really wanted to do was to walk/bike the length of the aqueduct. I had read that the scenery was nice. Also, would have liked to have visited Arraiolos or Estremoz which are both just outside of Evora. Enjoy your trip!

  3. I was reading the article and thinking the entire time, “how can’t they like this place? this place is amazing!” And then I got to the end and saw that you guys loved it! I’ll have to check it out if I’m ever in Portugal!

  4. Rightly said! Many of our day trips are worth more than that. So many places I’ve visited for a day and so wished it to be a 2-3 days. 🙂 One day is just not enough.

  5. Haha I guessed correctly … I was trying to figure out as I read why your title says that you don’t recommend a day trip, because as I was reading there seemed to be so many fascinating and amazing things to do. I figured it had to be a case of because a day trip wasn’t enough time 😀

  6. The whole time I was reading this I was getting really worried something bad had happened and why we shouldn’t go to Evora at all! All of the photos you’ve captured make this place look incredible, so I was getting really nervous why! Haha! I am glad you guys came through in the end and told the readers to stay overnight! Great advice, and way to keep us hooked until the end!

  7. Wow that is a lot to do in a day, I hate rushing around so I would probably stay a couple of days if I could! I might give that bone chapel a miss though, it would creep me out too much!! Everything else looks lovely though!

  8. Evora sounds like a historically rich city and I can understand why you think it merits more than one day. Between the cathedrals, the bone chapel and the ruins, it seems like there is a lot to do! I always love visiting Roman ruins in different countries around the Mediterranean, because they always illustrate just how expansive the empire really was.

  9. Bone Chapel looks to be a favorite for me. I’m all about cobblestone streets, so it looks like I would enjoy a lot of what Evora has to offer. In fact, everything you have suggested looks like I would need more than one day to visit!

  10. Ha! You guys are tricky! The bone chapel actually looks quite beautiful, despite those hanging corpses…It sounds like you guys had a pack a ton into one day, so I can definitely see the suggestion to visit Evora at a more leisurely pace. You must have been exhausted by the end of the day!

  11. Evora seems to be an amazing destination for a photo tour. With such grand Gothics and monuments, I wouldn’t mind spending a couple of days to explore this location. Btw, I loved the beautiful composition of the pictures.

  12. On my recent layover in Lisbon , my guide suggested my to come more leisurely to enjoy Evora. I can see now why he said ” Its more than you can imagine” 🙂 . That bone chapel looks awesome 🙂 . Is this place very touristy?

  13. Sounds like you managed to see quite a bit in one day though! Good effort. I love the perspective of the Roman Temple, looking up at the pillars. The Evora cathedral structure looks quite similar to a Cathedral in Suva, Fiji, with the two ‘towers’ on either side. Very pretty.

  14. Haha good to know! At first, I was prepared for disappointment. Glad to hear it was well-worth the trip. Thanks for outlining all the sites with tips, so I’ll know just where to go if I visit 🙂

  15. Day trips are often too short. Especially if the city has as much to see as Evora does. I’m learning about all these beautiful places in Portugal and I guess I’ll have to add one more to my list.

  16. So rightly said..there seems to be so much to cover here. A day trip wont do justice. I am glad you realized that and honestly put up your opinion here

  17. I’ve had the same issue several times with not having enough time during day trips. I Always wish that I have more time. If I were you I probably also regret only spending one day in Evora, seeing all your pictures!

  18. Always lovely to hear you could have stayed longer although I am one of those wimpy people who can’t handle all the bones so I may have to skip that one. The corpses would have totally creeped me out!

  19. I’ve been reading so many great things about Portugal and I am adding this to the list of places to visit! I’d love to see the bone church. The clever saying as you enter is priceless!

  20. Evora is indeed a revelation. Had a sense of deja vu looking at your pictures. The place reminds me of Rome. I never knew about Evora as it is generally overshadowed by the other places in Portugal.

  21. Oh I was worried that you had a bad experience in Evora! Yes I agree that you need overnight in this beautiful city in order to see everything. We stayed at the Residencial Os Manueis a nice little centrally located hotel with the parking space in the back which was very useful.

  22. I love how you manage your time to see all those places for a day trip… As a slow wanderer, for sure I couldn’t make it unless I’m in a group tour with guides to control my time 🙂 Traveling has also made me familiarize with Roman, Baroque and Gothic designs… this post reminds me of my trip to Romania.

  23. You reminded me of my trip there. 🙂 Did you see the statue of pregnant Mary in the cathedral. This is the only cathedral may be in world to depict her that way. And the church of bones was eerie!

  24. It’s definitely worth the visit cause it’s truly stunning. I like how you captured your photos that really speaks and rhyme with your words. I really enjoy everything about this blog post. Continue to explore the world and share your story with us.

  25. This is noted! I can see that this place has a lot of good things to offer and really nice places with rich history. I understand the feeling of frustration for not having enough time to feel and enjoy the wonders of a terrific place. So overnight must be the choice to visit every corner.

  26. You crammed a lot into one day. I suspect I would need like three days to explore all the ancient roman sites and the bone church. I love the concept of those and really want to see one of them in person.

  27. Thanks for the tip! We will be going to Evora in May or June and I was trying to figure out whether or not to stay overnight… now we will! Sounds like you are having an amazing time, can’t wait for our trip.

  28. haha you got me with this title! I was a bit worried… Indeed this is a remarkable city. I was born and raised in Lisbon but was lucky to have spent 6 years at Évora university studying fine arts. Great place to have spent part of my life. Well done! Welcome to Portugal!

  29. Hi Christina! I am born in Portugal ‘& I love Evora! i I live an hour from Lisbon! Next time you are in Portugal go visit Obidos (beautiful village surrender by a castle) & Nazare!! These are my favorite places! i got back to them every year!!

    1. Thanks for the tips Catia. We loved Portugal and can’t wait to go back. We visited Obidos on our first trip and loved it! What a beautiful town. We especially enjoyed walking along the walls. We didn’t get a chance to get to Nazare, though. I have read that the fish is incredible. We will definitely add it to our follow-up trip.

  30. Hello Christina! I was laughing out loud when I got to the end… Reading every line twice to see if I am missing something…
    I was hoping you can give me an advice…
    We are driving from Lisbon to Porto for a couple of days and than all the way down to the Algarve stopping for one night in… Evora!
    We would like to stretch the drive and stop for a few hours in some places between Lisbon to Porto and than the 2nd part that is from Evora to Algarve. Do you have any suggestions?
    There is so much to see.. how do you choose…
    I will read your Algarve article next to find what you recommend!
    Thanks so much!
    Tal

    1. Hello Tal!
      It sounds like you have an incredible adventure ahead of you! LOL so funny that you are stopping at Evora for one night! You’ll want to stay! There are many amazing places to stop along the drive. Along that route, I would suggest checking out our Alcobaca, Tomar and Batalha post. Those three stops are a great way to break up that journey. You could also check out the shrine of Fatima. It’s a beautiful and serene place with a fascinating history. Ourem has Pereira do Galinha, or Dinosaur Monument, which is a fascinating walk for both parents and children. And of course, the walled city of Obidos is a great stop. Or you could extend the trip and stay in the castle within the city.

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