Evora: Bread Soup, Human Bones, & Tiled Churches

Evora, located in the Alentejo region of Portugal, is about a 3.5-hour drive from Sevilla. We visited Evora on a weekend trip when we were living in Sevilla, and we had a great time. Below I outline 9 things to do on a weekend in this little gem of a city.

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9 Things to Do in Evora

1. Walk around!

Evora is a pleasure to walk around. The city is characterized by its principal color palette of white and yellow – in this sense, it reminds me a bit of Andalucía, Spain – and typical Portuguese tiled facades.  The streets are pleasant and cozy, so enjoy the stroll!

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Pepe got artsy
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The picturesque entrance to a pastry shop

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Note the blue tiled facade

2. Eat uniquely delicious Alentejo cuisine

Evora – and the Alentejo region in general – is known for its unique cuisine. I did some research before going to have an idea of what typical dishes to go for. One of Evora’s most well-known dishes is açordas or sopas de pãowhich means “bread soup.” And, man, that is exactly what it is. It is so good. I recommend enjoying the açordas de marisco – bread soup with seafood – at 1/4 pras 9, a cozy, authentic eatery in the heart of town. Warning: you will leave very full but very happy. Also try migas, which translates to “crumbs,” since this dish is prepared by frying breadcrumbs in butter and serving them with pork or fish. Try the migas at Chão das Covas, which has a patio where you can enjoy your food right by the city’s historic aqueduct. We also enjoyed sitting outside to enjoy some queijo de ovelha, or sheep’s milk cheese, and wine at TascaTosca Gourmet. Also don’t forget to enjoy a coffee on one of the city’s picturesque plazas.

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Açordas de marisco for dinner at 1/4 pras 9
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Pepe’s dinner of pork and clams – interesting combo – at  1/4 pras 9
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Enjoying a morning coffee
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Bom dia!
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Lunch at TascaTosca Gourmet

3. Get a dose of ancient history at the Roman Temple

These Roman ruins are some of the most impressive on the Iberian Peninsula. It’s free to see: all you have to do is walk by and admire.

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The Roman Temple with the cathedral in the background
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The Roman Temple by night

4. Contemplate at Capela dos Ossos

Capela dos Ossos translates to “chapel of bones.” Yet again, this name is completely accurate. This ossuary reminded me of San Bernardino alle Ossa in Milan. Just like the one in Milan, Evora’s chapel is totally creepy and totally cool. The bones and skulls, which come from overflowing graveyards in the 17th century, are arranged in aesthetically pleasing patterns and serve as memento mori, or reminders of death.

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Note the patterns that the bones and skulls make
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Skull-decorated columns
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Note the different decorative purposes of different bones

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Skulls and the names to whom they belonged…creepy…

5. Behold beautiful stained glass at Igreja São Francisco

The Igreja São Francisco, or Church of San Francisco, is located right next to the Capela dos Ossos. Its breathtaking stained glass windows result in dreamy, colorful light that floods the church. This was some of the most incredible stained glass I’ve ever seen!

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Beautiful light from the stained glass windows at the Church of San Francisco
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Exquisite detail and tiles at the Church of San Francisco


6. Get a nice view from the cathedral

I think the best part of Evora’s cathedral is the view from the rooftop, where you can see the Roman Temple and the aqueduct from a distance. The inside is interesting, but I thought the other churches we saw were more beautiful.

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Rooftop of the cathedral
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Rooftop of the cathedral
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Views from the cathedral

7. Gawk at the tiles in the Igreja de São João Evangelista

The Igreja de São João Evangelista, or the Church of Saint John the Evangelist, is stunning. As a lover of all things tile, I loved this little gem. This church is the epitome of Portuguese tile: the white and blue tile all along the walls, set against the gold of the altarpiece, really takes your breath away. The photo below doesn’t do the place justice!

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The gorgeous tiled walls of the Igreja de São João Evangelista

8. Take a break iPraça do Giraldo

Praça do Giraldo is the pleasant central plaza of town. Its black-and-white tiled streets are reminiscent of Lisbon and Rio de Janeiro.

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Praça do Giraldo

9. Walk along the Aqueduto da Agua de Prata

Evora’s historic aqueduct was completed in the 1530s. Walk along the aqueduct to see how houses have actually been built into its arches! As I note above, stop for lunch to eat some migas at Chão das Covas, which sits right along the aqueduct’s lower arches.

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Homes built into the aqueduct!
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Chão das Covas – a great place for migas. Note the aqueduct’s lower arches in the background.

Enjoy your time in Evora!

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Blooms of early March in Evora