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Évora is obscenely rich in historic architecture. This 'museum city's' golden age was the 15th Century - when it was the seat of the kings of Portugal - but there are in fact much older treasures, dating from Roman times, and before. As you negotiate the narrow lanes within 14th Century walls ,(where you'll find some of the the best places to stay in Évora), you'll be frequently surprised and rewarded with striking architecture.
Évora's position, on the Alto Alentejo plains, has appealed to numerous settlers. The Celts, Romans, Visigoths and Moors all built on this spot before the Portuguese eventually took control. The Romans left the most obvious traces with their grand temple, baths, and walls, all of which now sit impressively incongruously amongst glorious Gothic cathedrals and gorgeous Portuguese palaces. The excavated 2,000-year-old Roman baths are actually inside today's Town Hall.
Évora's aqueduct is one of its highlights. Completed in the 1530s, it seems far more trouble was taken in its construction than it could be worth - for a municipal building job, this is beautiful. You can walk about 8kms along its route to the neighbourhood of Rua do Cano: a charming, village-y place, with its houses, shops and cafes built right into the aqueduct's arches.
In Évora even the public spaces are steeped in history. The picturesque main square, the Praca do Giraldo, has seen some pretty bloody action its time, especially during the Inquisition.
Évora isn't just a museum city though, it's very much a living city, and the presence of the university means it's also a youthful place. Cafes bustle at all hours, and there's plenty of hearty Alentejan cooking on the menus.
What Not To Miss
- Évora's Bone Chapel, built in the 17th Century, is an weirdly unmissable sight - made from the skeletons of over five thousand people. Either head off on a tour to learn about its rich history or go there with a small group to truly take in the eerie atmosphere.
- Stroll around the historic Templo Romano de Évora to marvel at its large marble column bases and granite structures. A breathtaking spot.
- Make sure you find the time to visit the Almendres Megalithic Complex, located about nine kilometres outside of town. Hire a guide if you want to make the most out of the site and be sure to remember your camera!
- Spend a few hours wandering around the Museu de Évora, home to a fascinating collection of artwork spanning many centuries and a diverse range of styles.
Don't forget that peak season is busy here, so if you want to guarantee a room in one of the best places to stay in Evora in July or August, don't leave it till the last minute. You may well be disappointed!
The best places to stay in Evora
For designer chic
- M'Ar de AR Aqueduto is a five star design hotel and spa right in the centre of Évora. As well as all the mod. cons., here you'll find modern elegance throughout, care of Phillipe Starke, as well as an excellent restaurant and spa. With prices starting from less than £100 per night, it's easily one of the best places to stay in Évora if you're looking for value for money.
- Pousada de Loios is a luxurious spot right in the centre of town. Featuring elegant, traditional accommodation with opulent furnishings and creamy bedding, there's also a wonderful restaurant and lovely gardens in which to unwind with a good book.
Just out of town
- For something more rustic, consider Imani Country House, a comfortably converted farmhouse set within hectares of beautiful gardens about half an hour west of Evora. Seven ecologically friendly, and totally sumptuous room offer plenty of privacy and room for relaxation.
- Convento Do Espinheiro is a lovely 5*, boasting contemporary classic accommodation with private balconies offering splendid views of the area. What's more, there are all the mod. cons. necessary to make sure you have a truly wonderful stay! And you're just 4km from the centre of town.
- Villa Extramuros is an uber-designer spot offering whitewashed accommodation brimming with modern art. This minimalist property boasts lovely views of the area as well as serving up splendid Mediterranean cuisine. A lovely spot about 20km north of Evora.
For An Apartment or Villa
- If you'd prefer the privacy of a self-catering option then browse through the wide variety available online with our partner, Booking.com.
- The weather is nicest during the summer months, with the average temperature climbing to 23°C in July and August. Be warned though that this is peak season, so if you want to avoid the crowds then perhaps visiting in May, September or October is your best bet.
- International guests can fly into Lisbon Airport, located 132 km away from Évora and served by direct flights from most London airports as well as from Edinburgh and Dublin.
- From here, either take the bus or hop on the train - with four running daily to to Évora.
- For car hire prices, we recommend you visit our online partner Holiday Autos.
Still not sure?
Best Hotels in Evora
M'Ar de AR Aqueduto 64 rooms from $130Evora
A Five Star design hotel and spa in the centre of Evora. Phillipe Starke elements, dome ceilings, chrome bedrooms and suites, lots of natural light, and huge bathrooms. Extensive meeting rooms and conference facilities. A luxurious spa spot suited to any city or business traveller.5* Luxury - Very high service standards.City StyleSights nearby - Situated in the centre of UNESCO heritage city EvoraSpa
Pousada de Loios 39 rooms from $165Evora
A wonderfully luxurious old mansion in the town centre. Romantic opulent rooms and suites have high ceilings, golden decorations, stone floors, creamy bedding and big bath tubs. Excellent restaurant serving traditional thoroughfare, gardens and swimming pool. A great choice for couples.Romantic BreakLuxuryRomantic - Good for couples.Sights nearby - Gothic Cathedral of Évora and the Temple of Diana.
Convento do Espinheiro 92 rooms from $203Evora
A beautiful Five Star hotel with state of the art facilities. Contemporary classic rooms and suites with private balconies and all the mod cons. Lovely terraces with views, top of the range spa, kids club, and excellent restaurant. A holiday spot for the luxury traveller.Spa breaks5* Luxury - Very high service standards.Romantic BreakFoodies
Villa Extramuros 3 rooms from $143Arraiolos, Alentejo
Brimming with style and modernity, Villa Extramuros is a delightful retreat in rural Portugal. Its whitewashed rooms are spacious and tastefully decorated with modern art. In the evening enjoy Mediterranean cuisine in the villa's restaurant. Perfect for a romantic escape.Country Escape - A minimalist B&B set in rugged countryside, and filled with a contrasting selection of designer features and locally woven rugs.Great walks - There are plenty of lovely walking trails in the surrounding olive groves.Sights nearby - Visit the amazing, unspoilt UNESCO World Heritage Site city of Evora.Romantic - Good for couples.Recommended by - Tablet
Imani Country House 7 rooms from $154Guadalupe, Alentejo
A renovated Portuguese farmhouse replete with every downy comfort. Set in hectares of beautiful gardens, two swimming pools, and sumptuous suites. Total rural relaxation with access to wine tasting, sailing, and biking.Garden - Set in two hectares of gardens.Eco - Everything is green.Swimming Pool - 2 swimming pools.Country EscapeRecommended by - Mr & Mrs Smith