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A day away in Évora
Évora is only 80 minutes away from Lisbon and a delightful UNESCO World Heritage site. This enchanting town, with cobblestone streets, quaint squares with fountains and cathedrals, churches, monasteries and chapels, is located in the Alentejo region. One of the most interesting churches in Portugal, the São Francisco church, is found here. Its eccentric annex, the Chapel of Bones, was built by a Franciscan Monk to encourage contemplation on the transitory nature of life. At its entrance, you can find real human bones, a fact that left us feeling slightly uneasy, and a sign which reads “We bones that here are for yours await”. Visit the well preserved authentic Roman ruins, the Temple of Diana, Portugal’s most significant Roman landmark (we admit to indulging in a photo session), and the Cathedral of Évora, one of the oldest in the country. It is grand but quite austere, so we recommend you also visit Convento dos Loios and enjoy a delicious meal under its arched rooms. On your way back to Lisbon stop by Arraiolos, located 15m minutes from Évora, and famous for its carpets and tapestry with drawings and hand-woven technique, an influence from the Moors. We left Lisbon early in the morning and were back around 9pm with a feeling of having spent a splendid day away! There are trains to Évora if you prefer not to drive and the walking distances are reasonable.