Capital of the wine and cork region of Alentejo, Évora gained importance since the Celts and the Romans because of the commercial routes and the vast fertile plains. The city center is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
What to Expect
Gerald the Fearless is waiting for you, but don’t be afraid, he is usually one of the ‘good guys’. How did a butcher house save the Roman Temple of Évora? And where can you see 5.000 monks together? Find out in the city that is ‘always noble and loyal’.
Starting from the past – after a 130 km ride through the plains where cork trees wait silent as bulls and sheep rest in their shade – visit the Roman Temple of Évora, dating back 2.000 years in the time of emperor Augustus. Following the medieval paths to the center, the Romanic-Gothic Cathedral has a terrace overlooking the entire city. It is believed that the first European ships that sailed to India had their flags blessed here before departure.
Going down, the next destination is the square dedicated to Geraldo Geraldes, the Portuguese noble warrior that conquered Évora back from the muslims, and then led other campaigns in the area in the former kingdoms of Spain and even Morocco.
The final visit inside Évora is the Bones Chapel at Saint Francis Church. Needless to say what you will find there… it is really impressive. The skeletons of the monks are supposed to let one meditate over the human existence. “Nós ossos que aqui estamos pelos vossos esperamos”. Ask us what this written expression means.
Depending on time left and your interests, it is possible to visit the famous Cartuxa Winery, named after the Carthusian monastery that still exists in the estate, home to a few contemplative and very secluded monks. The foundation that manages the properties and vineyards produces some of the best wines in Portugal and even in the World.
Nearby are also a few places to choose from that are worth a visit. Monsaraz, to the South, is an impressive fortified village that served as guard against Spanish invasions. You can have a 360 degree view of more than 100 kms. Estremoz, to the North, is a city famous for its marble stone quarries since before the Romans, and also known for serving as target or military base during several wars against the Arabs and the Spanish. Finally, Arraiolos, a very short drive from Évora, is a small town recognized for its handmade tapestry, with a technique dating back to the Middle Ages, and for the castle on top, one of the few in the World with a circular wall.
Having passed the Vasco da Gama bridge in the morning, we may return to Lisbon following the 25 de Abril bridge, which offers a stunning look to the city and the Tagus River.
- Private compact minivan with panoramic car ceiling
- WiFi and water
What's Not Included
- Tickets for monuments
- Guidance inside the monuments
Know Before You Go
• Wear comfortable shoes and clothes and be prepared for sunny days most of the year