What to do in Évora

Actually so much to see in Evora. Living History. Evora is a unique World Heritage Site. A pleasant three hour drive from the Algarve, through the beautiful Alentejo region. Until the end of the 19 Century there were 40 Palaces of Royal families in Evora within the city walls. Today with a population of 8000 within the old walls there are still 30 Palaces. The total population of the entire city is 50,000. Many Palaces can be visited by private tours that you book in advance over the Internet. The best thing to do on your first day is to to show up in front of the tourist office at 10am and take the 2 hour walking tour. For 15€ this is a real bargain. Our guide Marie Perreira could answer all our questions and had a vast knowledge of history and social life of Evora.

The most fascinating place we saw was the chapel of bones build by 3 Franciscan monks using bones of 6000 bodies. There are several stories of where the bones and skulls came from but the most credible is that they ordered them removed from gravesites of commoners and priests. Another spectacular site, the Roman Temple was hidden for many hundreds of years as a slaughter house had been build around the temple. Only in 1974 did an architect identify the columns as being part of the Temple and the preservation work was done. An interesting facet of history is that every GENUINE legitimate relative of the Royal family could place their family coat of arms directly above the main entrance to their palace. However those that were not legitimate had to place their coat of arms to the side of the door or on a slant! If they later married into the royal family the coat of arms could be moved to directly above the entrance.

Beyond Evora’s amazing history is the marvellous food and wine. Dozens of restaurants, actually well over two hundred, await you. For an extremely reasonable lunch try Restaurante Martinho Just a little down from the town square on the main walking street. The menu consists of many succulent black pork dishes and cod specialities. When we are there it filled up quickly with Portuguese at lunch time. Martino is the owner and chef and is the only one in the kitchen. We were delighted with our lunch that cost 23€ including beer and water, bread and olives black pork, salad and chips. For a splurge worthy of every penny, find Moments Restaurant and book! The chef George is so eager to explain the dishes he appears at your table and describes the tantalising menu. Do not skip the appetisers as they are as good as the mains. Relax. You’re in for a treat, George will take care of you! We liked it so much we went back two meals in a row! Of course all llounches and dinners have to be accompanied by Alentejo wines. It was only 20 years ago that the wines of the Alentejo began to be developed and became known for their superior quality. Experiment with various wines and you will find a huge variety of new favourites!