Read more about the article Evora – Portugal
Evora - Portugal

Evora – Portugal

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Roman Liberalitas Julia

Our second objective for this weekend, the city of Evora after visiting the day before beautiful Elvas, the easternmost city along the border with Spain, and Badajoz right across the border, the first city in Spain. Now if we enjoyed a lot the experience and what we’ve visited the day before; here in Evora came as twice the surprise. Not only that both cities are off the beaten path of the minds of most of the tourists for what you get to enjoy these places to yourself; you get to see their nice people and traditions, inexpensive great food, history and art literally on every corner. Both cities are near each other, however very difference and oppose one to another. Elvas, a garrison frontier city with its immaculate network of fortresses, walls and bastions; Evora, home to some of the finest Roman monuments in the whole of Portugal, a monumental “museum city”. The only “minor” downside in our experience? well, quite an ugly grey and rainy day.

Its network of narrow streets, squares, palaces and buildings of many epoch and countless styles and the great level of preservation of the urban fabric all were a good reason why the UNESCO listed it as a World Heritage site. Moreover, since its foundation as a thriving city, to the many wars and posterior decline to then thrive again and so on, it is only recent its “rediscovery”, a city transforming and reinventing itself as an ever stronger tourist pole adding to the already long list of amazing cities to visit in Portugal.

Visiting every place and sight is straightforward because of a very compact urban core and overall reduced size. A day is well more than enough, giving you plenty of time to enjoy some coffee or beer time at any of the many bars and terraces, perhaps that delicious pastry and a great lunch all without any rush. Our time here was actually from the morning until late afternoon when we started to make our way back to Lisbon’s airport for our late departure back to London.

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Read more about the article Badajoz – Spain
Badajoz - Spain

Badajoz – Spain

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Former capital of the small Muslim kingdom Taifa of Baṭalyaws

Double the excitement for visiting a city completely not planned in the original plans for this weekend that turned out to be totally feasible and in turn, a great surprise for its prettiness, yet small, historic centre. We arrived quite late, that was our only downside, however still managed to get really nice pictures of most of the city in daylight, and take with us a great load of shopping. Why not to take the chance for getting some nice meat cuts, cheeses and staff I really like and cannot find anywhere else at this quality? Now this was a trip that really paid back well.

Our base was Elvas, merely 10 kilometres west from Badajoz. So while one is the last city of Portugal, the other is the first city in Spain (border-wise talking here). And because we perhaps planned too much time for Elvas while in reality it is a very small city, I strongly recommend if you fall in the same situation to plan beforehand the day to include both Elvas and Badajoz. Certainly we could have been more time in Badajoz, but as this was just planned on the go, never checked pictures of the city, nor a map nor nothing before coming, we did not know that in reality there are a lot of sights to enjoy, but as suggested before, this is a city where a full day can definitely be too much as well.

There are two well different areas in the city, one, the traditional old town around the old Moorish citadel, the Alcazaba and the perimeter walls and bastions surrounding it, and the newer city outside of the walls, and across the Guadiana River. The way we drove in from Elvas, meant we came directly towards the north bank of the river where we saw the most picturesque image of the city. Without any doubt it’s the most beautiful skyline view, with the Alcazaba in the foreground and the towering old walls across the crystal clear waters of the Guadiana river with the historic Palma Bridge. Only for this view the trip is already worth it. (more…)

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Read more about the article Elvas – Portugal
Elvas - Portugal

Elvas – Portugal

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Frontier fortress of Portugal

Once again returning to beautiful Portugal, and for the many more trips to come hopefully in the near future. The plan for this weekend was something more off the beaten path than the usual big cities. Instead, two smaller towns yet full of history: Elvas, the easternmost city near the Guadiana River which is the natural border between Portugal and Spain, a city sometimes referred as “the fortress of Portugal” due to the large amount of fortresses and bastions; and the city of Evora, famous for being home to some of the finest and most complete Roman monuments in the country. Ans considering that less than 10 kilometres ahead of Elvas, already across in Spain is the city of Badajoz, we left the possibility, if time permitting, to come and visit, which… of course it did happened.

Reaching both cities was not an easy and direct task. Unfortunately the nearest airport is Lisbon, 230 kilometres west from Elvas, that’s a long drive to consider. However, this is all along the motorway that continues after Portugal towards Madrid. This translates is less than 2 hours from west to east which is acceptable. Evora is nearer to Lisbon, at around 180 km. The same you can do by driving, you can take the train as both cities lie along the major rail link between Lisbon and Madrid, so don’t worry if you do not drive, you can still perfectly do both cities in a weekend.

Because of the large amount of immaculate fortifications in the italienne trace (star fort) style, most of which still complete, the city was declared a World Heritage Site by the UNESCO under the listing of: Garrison Border Town of Elvas and its Fortifications. Such extensive fortifications were built from the 17th to the 19th centuries becoming the largest bulwarked dry ditch system in the world. There is of course much more than this, as the impressive 15th century 6 kilometres long aqueduct, its Gothic cathedral and the many remains and influences from the Moors in the city’s urban fabric. (more…)

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