Portugal Part 6 – Day Trip to Evora and Sesimbra

Evora Roman ruins

On our third morning in Lisbon, I walked up to the Hertz location a few blocks from the hotel and picked up our rental car. The office opened at 8:30am and I arrived a few minutes before that. I was the first customer of the day and by the time I left, there was a line out the door.

I had booked a Mini-class automatic car, so I expected a tiny car with just enough room for us and our bags. In the end, because I booked an automatic, they upgraded me to a BMW X3 SUV. I suppose it was one of the few automatics they had at the location. I was a bit apprehensive to get a vehicle this large due to the narrow streets around Portugal, but it ended up being fine. I paid for the toll transponder to be active. It’s an absolute must if you are going to do any highway driving around the country as all major highways have tolls. The car also took diesel so it got pretty good gas mileage.

My Beemer for the week

I took pictures of the car to note any minor scratches. I did not take the extra insurance as I planned to use my Chase Sapphire Preferred and the included CDW insurance. I realize liability is extra, but I trust myself to drive carefully overseas.

I drove back to the hotel to pick up my wife and we headed out of Lisbon. Traffic was heavy, but most of it was headed into town as it was a Tuesday morning rush hour. We drove over the Abril de 25 Bridge and the traffic thinned out as we got out of the city.

We picked Evora for a day trip as it’s fairly close to Lisbon and has a couple of interesting sights that we wanted to see. We arrived in Evora around 10:30am and found parking fairly easily (I had mapped out the best free parking lot the night before). There were some peacocks in the nearby park.

Local resident

We first visited the Chapel of Bones, which is a church where the basement contains thousands of bones from the townspeople who wanted to be buried there hundreds of years ago. I’ll let the pictures (and former residents) speak for themselves.

There’s also a small museum at the Chapel which we walked through.

We walked around the small historic center within the walls of the town. We visited the Roman ruins and the town square.

After about 90 minutes in Evora, we were ready to leave. We weren’t really hungry yet, so we decided not to have lunch there.

From Evora, we drove back toward Lisbon and diverted toward Sesimbra on the coast. It was a pretty drive down to the coast and we parked in a huge (and empty) parking garage. From there it was a few steps down to the beach.

We walked the full length of the beach, with my wife looking for shells and me taking pictures of the coastline. I walked out onto a pier for some views back to the beach and town. We stayed for a couple of hours and the beach was mostly deserted the whole time. The water was still very cold in late May.

We were going to eat lunch at a local place, but the menu didn’t look all that great. We decided to skip lunch all together as we had a much anticipated dinner reservation that night anyway.

We got back to Lisbon and still had time for a couple of activities there before our dinner reservation. We enjoyed our day out with something for both of us: history and the beach. The drive to and from Evora and Sesimbra was pretty easy and it was nice to have the flexibility to come and go as we pleased rather than being tied to the train schedule or a tour group.

Next up: Driving North from Lisbon

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