Évora Monuments

Évora in Alentejo is one of the best cities to discover the Alentejo Gastronomy and Wines. The city is surrounded by amazing vineyards that it is possible to visit. Some famous, others more traditional, the offer of food and wine is amazing and the perfect spot for wonderful afternoons.

Évora is located in the centre of Alentejo region and it is an important point to other cities in the region. Has road connection with Montemor, Estremoz, Beja, Vila Viçosa, Reguengos, Alcáçovas, Viana do Alentejo and Arraiolos. You will be able also to get the A6 highway that connects Lisbon to Madrid. The city has connections to Lisbon by train and a regional airport with several services.

The region has an amazing history. You will find more than 5000 years in very different and unique monuments in the city and surroundings. We present 6 Évora monuments that you can discover during your trip to this city.

Six Évora Monuments

Évora, Roman Temple

Roman Temple

One of the most important monuments in Portugal, located on the highest point of the city and part of a roman forum.

During the centuries had several modifications and destruction, however maintains the original blueprint till today. 

This Roman Temple has a base almost intact with 3,5 meters ( equivalent to 11,5 ft ). Romans had a huge importance in Iberia Peninsula. In Alentejo, Talha Wines is a good example of the Roman Culture.

Évora, Sé Cathedral

Sé Cathedral

Built in the XIII and XIV century, has a gothic style and it is one of the most important medieval cathedral of Portugal and one of the best Évora monuments.

The construction was inspired by the Sé Cathedral of Lisbon.

You will be able to see the sihouette of the Sé Cathedral from a long distance, since it is in a highest point of Évora city. In fact, this Cathedral is the largest Medieval cathedral in Portugal. 

You will be able to access to the cathedral through the Roman Temple (short distance) or the access from Giraldo Square (Rua 5 de Outubro, in the middle of the square). 

The church was improved. Upper choir, baptistery, arch of the Chapel are some of the improvements made on 15th and 16th century.

Evora, Igreja Sao Francisco

Igreja São Francisco

Gothic and Manueline style, covered by an immense stone vault, is a masterpiece of Portuguese Gothic architecture.

Side by Side with Bones Chapel has an amazing story related with Franciscans Order from XIII century. The church has now an extensive area with ten side chapels. 

The chapels are open and have altarpieces of gilded, polychrome and stucco.

Évora, Bones Chapel

Chapel of Bones

Located at Igreja São Francisco was constructed in the XVIII century. It was built in the 18th century and is entirely lined with human bones.

Built by Franciscan monks more than 5000 corpses were exhumed and used as decoration of the walls .

The legend says that these bones belonged to victims of a plague or soldiers which died in a major battle.

However, the fact is that the bones came from people buried in several Medieval cemeteries in Évora surroundings.

It is known for the famous phrase written at the entrance. The phrase is “Nós ossos que aqui estamos pelos vossos esperamos” which means “Here bones that we are, for yours we wait”.

Palacio D Manuel, Évora Monuments

Palácio de D. Manuel

Constructed in the 16th century it survived the blend of gothic, manueline and renascentist influence.

Inhabited by several Portuguese monarchs, including D. Manuel I, D. João III and D. Sebastião.

It was definitely lost in 1895, having been destroyed in 1619, during the visit of Filipe III to the country, which he sent to destroy the palace for the benefit of the community.

Évora , Loios Convent

Lóios Convent

A church with clusters which are good examples of gothic and manueline in Évora.

At the moment the Lóios Convent is a hotel on the top of Évora in front of the Roman Temple.

Since it is a hotel, it´s not possible to visit besides the main entrance. 

Some of these monuments have restrictions during the visit or not possible to visit at all. However, they are a piece of history. Évora has also for travelers the amazing Alentejo Gastronomy , sweets, cheeses, Olive Oil and of course, wines. 

Tagus Nature Reserve

Tagus Nature Reserve is a reserve and a perfect location for birdwatching, besides food and wines possible to discover in some of the winemakers.

The estuary in front of Lisbon´s eastern area has the name of “Mar da Palha” ( Portuguese for The Straw Sea). This area is classified as a nature Reserve, located in the North of Alcochete ( famous besides the traditions for the location of one of the major Outlet in Europe ). The climate is in general humid and it is classified as one of the top 10 largest zones of its kind in Europe. 

Tagus Natural Reserve, Monocasta

Reserva Natural do Estuário do Tejo was created to protect specially the migratory aquatic birds living here. During the migration season the estuary receives more than 120.000 birds. The most common ones are the black cowbirds and represent around 20% of this species population in Western Europe. Usually they arrive from Serra de Albarracin ( Spain ) travelling a distance of 1100 kms ( 683.5 miles ). However, you will find other species such as a flock of pink flamingos.

Tagus Nature Reserve, besides birdwatching

Tagus Nature Reserve ( Reserva Natural do Estuário do Tejo) extends to North till Vila Franca de Xira, an area where bulls and horses are possible to see into the different properties / farms. Some of these farms besides bird watching experiences have unique wine tastings or even meals with wines pairing . MONOCASTA according the private wine tour experience, can customize the time lapse or experiences you may have interest in. 

On the Natural Reserve it is also possible to visit salt pans in Samouco or even seafront watermills in Seixal. Both activities are now eco-museums, so visitors can learn more about these activities. 

It is very unique and with amazing sights that make us relax and interact with nature. In conclusion, unique to visit and has an impact in two wine regions, which are : Tejo and Setúbal (north area).

Cante Alentejano

Cante Alentejano ( or Alentejo Song ) is without any doubt the most beautiful cultural heritage of Alentejo in Portugal. Unique worldwide it is a genuine a cappella song in choirs. This means that no instruments are used and voices are the instruments itself. 

These musical groups have men and women and sing in choir. It is a very popular manifestation of the culture and feature in several ares of Alentejo, specially South part of Alentejo. 

Cante Alentejano, Group, Alentejo, Monocasta
Picture : Pedro Ribeiro Simões Cante Alentejano, Portugal

Alentejo Regional Tourism Entity and the municipality of Serpa had the initiative of presenting Cante Alentejo to UNESCO – Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity. Singing in an a cappella , the lyrics usually speak about feelings of a specific moment or just day life. A little bit similar to Portuguese Fado in terms of content. Some of these choral groups are centenarians and started in informal contexts. Some have started in the fields while farming, while others started at local cultural houses. 

Visiting Alentejo in Spring or Summer, it is common to listen in some locations to the performance of these choral groups. Imagine a moment of food with wine pairing or a wine tasting and listening to beautiful voices in chorus.

Cante Alentejano & Wine Experiences

While visiting Alentejo ( besides the wines , cork or cheese ) it will be an excellent surprise. Occasionally without any schedule for shows, the magic happens spontaneously in a recreational group or even tavern. Simplicity of relaxation after work in the fields. However, nowadays you will also find Houses with schedules, promoting Cante Alentejano . 

If possible and required, MONOCASTA might find a show or a moment to include during your stay in Portugal . Alentejo has so much to offer and discover while traveling. Discover this Southern European Country, where you will find diversity of activities, however experiences based on wine tasting and food pairing represents perhaps the most required in the future. Our experiences are private by request and you can customize your timelapse and experiences you may have interest in.

9 top moments from 2020

Presenting 9 top moments from 2020. We shared some of the best Portuguese vineyards from Alentejo, Dão, Douro, Vinho Verde, Lisboa and Tejo. Besides of what we learn and shared during the private tour experiences, we really had a blast during these unique wine experiences.

These 9 top moments of our private wine tour experiences or from multi-day tours specially from Alentejo wine region, were with people from very different countries Worldwide. France, Germany, United Kingdom, United States of America, are just a short list. 

During the exclusive and private wine tours we tasted excellent wines, delicious Alentejo cheeses, Portuguese sweets. We saw amazing products made with cork, besides the process of Talha Wines in Alentejo

We hope that you love the pictures publish . Feel free to engage with us at our Instagram presence. If you prefer, we also use Facebook and Twitter.  In conclusion, a short list of the best moments shared in 2020. 

12 Portuguese Wines you should drink

The list can be huge, however we recommend 12 Portuguese wines you should drink and enjoy.  We taste it in the different wine regions of Portugal and they represent for us excellent moments with friends, wine producers and customers during 2020. 

You will find on this list red wines and white wines. You will find wines from Alentejo, Lisboa, Bairrada, however the list is bigger than this 12 Portuguese wines. We will publish more wines in the future on our Instagram account which you may follow, check our profile, engage or share your love on our publications. In conclusion, enjoy, taste wine, enjoy Portugal and diversity it has to offer. 

We hope that you love this tips of Portuguese wines. Feel free to share with us, friends, family. 

Pastéis de Belém or Pastéis de Nata?

Pastéis de Belém or Pastéis de Nata, what should you try? This is one of the most common questions concern to travelers while visiting Portugal. There is a reason for this historical question, however both are correct.

Back to the 19th Century, near Mosteiro dos Jerónimos there was a sugar cane refinery. The facilities were next to a small general store. In 1820 the liberal revolution end up in a shut down of most of the convents and monasteries in the country, it was the end of the religious orders in Portugal. As an attempt to survive, one person from the monastery offered this pastry sweet to be sold in the shop. They became famous and the location was far away from the Lisbon. However attracted visitors to taste and enjoy the beautiful scenario of those days.

Pastéis de Belém ou Pastéis de Nata?

The ancient and secret recipe from the Monastery of Jerónimos is still unknown by locals. There is even a national competition, in which local pastry shops compete to achieve a recipe near to the original ones from Pastéis de Belém. 

Why Pastéis de Nata and not Pastéis de Belém? 

Pastéis de Belém is a trademark and for this reason it is impossible to use the same name in other coffee shops, pastry shops in the country. This explains the name Pastéis de Nata. 

It doesn’t matter if you prefer one or another, we are 100% sure that it should be crunchy in terms of sound when you bite the custard. Pastéis de Nata or Pastéis de Belém should be creamy and taste as sweet as it is.

Another interesting note is that you will find different levels of sweetness in the custards. Depending of the pastry chef that makes them, they will use more or less sugar on the recipe. People around the globe have a different palate. This is related with different food, sweet and traditions of their own country.

You will find this wonderful pastry in any coffee shop or pastry shop in Portugal. In fact, there is also experiences where you will be able to make a Port Wine pairing with it.