Y’all! Come with me to Portugal. I’ve legit been stalking Portugal’s Golden Visa program which offers the opportunity to become a citizen after 5 years once you make a modest economic investment into the country. I’m ready, but am having a more difficult time convincing Mr. Corkscrew. We’ll see. In the meantime, I guess I’ll have to be happy with short visits whenever I get the chance. And why not Évora, Portugal? The next time you fly into Lisbon and are trying to decide whether to go north to Porto or head south for the road less traveled, definitely head south because you want to experience the fabulous wines of Alentejo for all the reasons I previously shared. And it all starts with Évora.

Historic Évora, surrounded by medieval walls, is known for its architectural beauty and gastronomy. Designated as a UNESCO World Heritage site (the whole city), Évora truly provides visitors a rich cultural experience with its charming cobblestone streets, ancient landmarks, and all around vibrant atmosphere. I absolutely loved it. And when you tire of city life, know that Évora is also surrounded by a picturesque countryside, giving you the best of both worlds.

Enjoying Évora Portugal.

Whether charting its timeline back to its period as a Roman settlement, when it was under the rule of the Moors in the 8th century, during its time of cultural and economic prosperity during the Middle Ages, its maritime expansion during the Age of Discoveries, or becoming a center of learning and culture with the establishment of the University of Évora in the 16th century, Évora has always played an important role. But through it all, Évora has managed to retain its charm with history and culture alike.

Things to See & Do

Wander the Historic City Center

Évora’s well-preserved medieval and Renaissance architecture, including medieval walls, cobblestone streets, and charming squares, is what reeled me in. I so enjoyed just wandering and seeing what was around the next corner. One of the things I learned is that the buildings are all white washed to deal with the region’s hot temperatures. And the yellow trim that I kept seeing on the buildings was a nod to prosperity. Yellow is the color of gold and people used the color as a good luck charm of sorts in the hopes of bringing fortune to their homes.

Hang Out in Giraldo Square

Where all streets lead, Évora’s Giraldo Square, aka Praça do Giraldo, is a great place to people watch and soak up all things Évora. When you see the massive marble baroque style fountain, you’ll know you’re there. The square is a neat place to grab a bite or a glass of vino at one of the many open air cafes and restaurants as well as browse the shops. I couldn’t help it – I had to buy a cork purse!

Roman Temple of Diana

Photo Credit: Kat René

This iconic Roman temple dating back to the 1st century, is dedicated to the goddess Diana. It stands as one of the best-preserved Roman structures on the Iberian Peninsula.

Évora Cathedral

The Évora Cathedral, also known as the Cathedral of Évora, is a Roman Catholic cathedral and sits on the highest point in Évora. Dating back to the 12th century, it is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and is known for its Gothic and Romanesque architecture. A climb up the tower rewards visitors with great views of Évora.

Chapel of Bones (Capela dos Ossos)

The Church of St. Francis in Évora, Portugal, includes a significant Gothic monument known for its elaborate Manueline and Mudéjar architecture. Within, you’ll find the Chapel of Bones, a macabre chapel that is adorned with human bones and skulls (over 5,000 of them!). Built in the 16th century by Franciscan monks, its purpose was to serve as a reflection of the transience of human life and the inevitability of death. The bones and skulls used in its construction were exhumed from local cemeteries. I’d never seen anything like it. It certainly made you contemplate life, particularly when you saw the bones of little babies.

Where to Eat

If you want to eat well (one of my fave vacay activities) Évora is your place. Known as the gastronomic soul of Portugal, Évora is full of local restaurants that take pride in showcasing the best of the delicious regional cuisine featuring featuring Alentejo specialties like migas, açorda, and hearty stews. And yes, this fabulous Alentejo wines are also prominently featured.

Sabores do Alentejo Restaurant

With a light-filled interior and a great terrace with views of the pool and gardens, Chef António Nobre of Sabores do Alentejo provides diners with innovative Alentejo cuisine featuring local products and sometimes unconventional combinations. For a taste of the sea, it’s hard to go wrong with local octopus or sea bream. For something heartier, the pork cheeks in red wine sauce with potato gratin and creamed spinach are unbelievably melt-in-your-mouth, fall-apart tender.

Alkimia Madeirense Évora

So I was initially in love with the vinyl on the ceiling – but you can’t live on cool applications of vinyl alone. But what a deliciously decadent dining experience. Featuring contemporary Madeiran cuisine, Alkimia Madeirense was a great opportunity to experience the cuisine of Portugal’s most populous island – Madeira. Outside of the city wall, but still easy to get to, it charms with its moody green walls and laid back vibe. Both land and sea were well represented. From the sea, I once gain delighted in the local grilled octopus and the tuna tartare was vibrant and fresh with unique flavors. And no surprise, I loved the tender pork. My fave dish may have been the “ovos rotos” which are broken eggs over crispy fries and cured pork. I was mesmerized watching the yolks being broken and mixed together with the rest of the dish. Yum!


Warm and homey D’Ibérica is full of traditional Alentejo cuisine, but with what felt like lighter and healthier options. Walking in, I instantly understood why it’s one of Alentejo’s most popular restaurants. It’s almost like eating with family. The fresh salads were a thing of beauty as were the unique seafood selections.

Enoteca Restaurante Cartuxa

Part restaurant, part wine bar, part shop, Enoteca Cartuxa is a restaurant by the wine producer with the same name. Located in the center of town near the cathedral and the Roman ruins, it’s a somewhat modern take on Portuguese cuisine. I so enjoyed the all of the tasty fare and was thrilled that the wines were also available to enjoy with the food. I can’t think of anything I ate that I didn’t love. If I’m picking favorites, I’d have to go with the duck and the flaky cod.

Évora Taste

Quaint and cute, with a wine wall that beckons to try the local wine (duh!), Évora Taste really spoke to the carnivore and potato lover in me. Laid back and chill, it’s a great place hang with a glass in hand.

Cafe Alentejo

Cafe Alentejo offers a great mix of classic local cuisine and unique, modern Alentejo dishes. A prominent highlight for me was the meats, cheeses, and soups on offer. I mean, who says no to cheese for dinner?

Where to Wine

Well of course, I’m going to give you some places to enjoy some delicious Alentejo wines right in town.

Roto dos Vinhos do Alentejo

To get the lay of the land and a solid foundation for Alentejo wines, a visit to Roto dos Vinhos do Alentejo is a must. Part educational museum and part tasting room, you’ll walk away having some knowledge about the sub-regions, grapes, wineries, and even the soils of the region. After that, head on over to the tasting bar and sample some of the region’s tasty wines to put your newfound knowledge to the test.

Tasting the wine is part of the fun at Roto dos Vinhos do Alentejo.

Ervideira Wine Shop

The Ervideira ‘Invisível White’ was the first wine I had at my first dinner in Alentejo and it blew my socks off! Crafted of Aragonez, it was rich and aromatic and fresh with great acidity to boot. I knew I had to see where more of the deliciousness was made. And lucky that they have a wine shop and tasting room right in the heart of Évora. A generational producer, Ervideira has been producing wine since 1880 and is now helmed by the 4th and 5th generations.

Cartuxa Enoteca

As I mentioned above in the “Where to Eat” section, the Cartuxa Enoteca is part restaurant, part tasting bar, and part shop. So do go and taste through the wonderful portfolio of this historic producer, preferably before or after you enjoy a wonderful meal. I loved that they had their entire portfolio available for folks to try.

Where to Stay

The M’AR De AR Muralhas Hotel is in the historic center of Évora with stunning views of the entire city. Serene gardens, outdoor dining, and an inviting pool makes it the perfect home base. A mere five minute walk will find you in the center of it all.

Another great option is Hotel Solar de Monfalim. It’s an older hotel with lots of authentic Alentejo character and is in the middle of everything as it sits adjacent to the Praça do Giraldo. I loved the quaint upstairs terrace, with great views below. Even better that they offer a wonderful buffet breakfast every morning.

I do hope you get a chance to explore charming Évora, Portugal as well as the wineries of Alentejo. I’ll be sharing some great winery visits in the weeks to come.

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