On our recent road trip around Spain and Portugal, we started with a visit to Merida, which I posted about last week. After this, we drove to Évora in Portugal.
Évora is the capital of the Alentejo region in Portugal. Known for its Roman and Moorish history. It’s a UNESCO World Heritage Site and also a member of the Most Ancient European Towns Network.
The old part of town is fabulously untouched and, like many European towns, very authentic with its narrow cobblestoned streets, cathedrals, squares and traditional little shops. It was lovely just to wander the laneways, drink coffee in the main plaza and gaze at the ancient architecture.
We stayed at the ‘M’AR De AR Aqueduto’, which was just inside the old town. A fabulous hotel built around a restored monastery. There are some interesting historical characteristics to be seen through appropriately placed pieces of glass. Also, the Roman Aqueduct runs through the hotel, which is an interesting feature. We enjoyed this hotel. It’s new and modern decor is comfortable and sophisticated. We also loved the coffee and tea making facilities!! As Australians, we’re used to such luxuries in our hotel rooms so it makes a big difference to me when I can make a cup of tea or coffee – at my leisure!
At the risk of sounding like a food critic, I have to mention our foodie experiences! We ate lunch in a wonderfully traditional restaurant recommended by the hotel – Restaurante Fialho. This restaurant offers an extensive menu of local and traditional cuisine. The food was delicious and different. I had the Porco À Alentejana (Portuguese braised pork and clams). This dish was delightful and a combination that I hadn’t tried before. The atmosphere and décor at Fialho’s is unbeatable, as is the friendliness and attentiveness of the staff. This is a popular restaurant so I recommend making a booking.
Other Portuguese dishes you must try are the Pastel de Nata (Portuguese custard tarts), Empanadas (I loved the chicken versions of these) and Piri Piri — anything! Of course, there are many more traditional Portuguese dishes and treats, these are just some of my favorites.
Évora also has some amazing ancient and historical sites. Most notably the Roman Temple (also referred to as the Templo de Diana, like many similar temples in Spain and Portugal!). This temple sits atop the main hill in the old town center and looks fabulous lit up in the evening. The old town is still partially enclosed by a medieval wall and there are numerous monuments dating from various historical periods.
Évora is a charming and pretty city that is well worth a visit.