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Excursions

Évora

Évora has been on our ToDo List for several years. Although we have been visiting Portugal since 1987, it is difficult to believe that there are so many little uncovered jems that we have still to discover and to add to our rich and rewarding Portuguese experiences.

Évora makes for an enjoyable day trip from Lagos. You will leave Évora with a reflective sense of time gone by as you take this walk into it's rich past. We embarked on our little excursion to Évora on our May visit.

Évora is located in the Alentejo province, north of the Algarve province, between Lisboa and the Spanish border. The drive to Évora takes you through the renouned Alentejo wine region with it its endless vineyards and rolling hills. You will note the signs for Rota dos Vinhos (Wine Route) as you reach the N114 highway. The Alentejo wines have long since been our very favourite Portuguese wines for their full body with a smooth finish.

Évora - History Snapshot

Read up to get a little snapshot of the immense history of Évora before you go. This will give you more of an appreciation of the the town and its heritage.

History: As we are not history experts, we found an informative site providing a nicely summarized History of Évora.

Évora - Within the Town

The best way to take in Évora is to walk around and soak in everything in sight, from the architecture to cobblestone streets to the shops to the restaurant patios to the people.

As you enter the town walls, walk to the Tourist Office at Praça do Giraldo, to get a map. The maps are of a large size and easily readable. The historic sites are well marked to assist you with your adventure.

Map Within Évora Walls: This map gives you a sense of the many monuments and sights within the town wall and also provides a view of Praça do Giraldo to get to the Tourist Office, where you can pick up a more detailed map.

From the Tourist Office, simply chart your course to cover the town based on your preferred sights and monuments.

Sights & Monuments: Although I prefer to use the Évora Tourist Office Map as my guide, this summary gives a little something extra and is helpful.

Chapel of Bones: This is by far the most remarkable and mysterious site in Évora. It is also the most popular, so head to see it first. The chapel is located in São Francisco church.

Roman Temple

Cathedral

Lunch: We enjoyed some wholesome meaty dishes in Evora at a lovely restaurant, with a tiny patio, just across from São Francisco church. The menu offered a variety of dishes that were typical to the Alentejo region. After our busy morning of navigating the hilly roads in this walled town, we took in a leisurely lunch and entertained ourselveswith some interesting people watching.

People watching: We walked by a church where some locals were very well dressed and were sadly waiting to attend a funeral. But as we people watched in another part of town from our restaurant patio over lunch, we were impressed at how the people of Évora take pride in there appearance. All the men wore suits and ties on this very warm May weekday and the women were elegantly dressed. We also discovered several boutiques offering local designer clothing with very unique styles and what seemed to be an infinite number of shoe shops.

Tips:

1) : Start early as all sights close at 12:30 for lunch and then re-open in the afternoon. You can visit most sites in the morning if you arrive early. We left Lagos at 07:30 a.m., arriving in Évora at 10:00 a.m. We managed to see all the sights of interest to us by 12:30. We then enjoyed a leisurely lunch and left Évora at 14:00.

2) : Wear comfortable walking shoes or even running shoes to navigate this very hilly town. Leave the pretty sandals for dinners out in Lagos.

A Taste of Évora!!


Évora - Leaving the City

Go-Kart Track - Kartódromo de Évora: As you leave Évora and if you are up for some fun you must stop at the Go-Kart track. The elaborate track has the feel of a mini Formula 1 circuit. Ken and our friend Tim enjoyed being very competitive boys again while a father and his young son went at a snails pace as the little one looked on in awe! This 15 minutes of being a kid again runs you a reasonable €12.

: From Lagos, drive east on the A22 4-lane motorway; look for the Blue signs A2 Lisboa; the exit ramp takes you right, up a high ramp and then left over the A22 highway as you begin heading north towards Lisboa; stay on the A2 for approx two hours towards Lisboa until you reach a split; take the A6 East on the right side of the split to Évora; (do not take the left side A12 to Lisboa); drive approx 40 km; take Exit 5 / N114; drive approx 10 km to Évora; when you reach Évora, follow the signs for Centro; these lead you through several roundabouts before arriving close to the Évora town walls on your left.

Driving time from Lagos: 2.5-3.0 hrs.

: There is plenty of parking outside the walls. Note there are parking metres for roadside parking; the large expanse of dirt parking lot appeared to provide free parking; avoid driving through the town walls as streets are narrow and difficult to navigate.


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