Elvas in one day, a beautiful Portuguese city a few meters from Spain

Visiting Elvas is one of the best excursions you can do in Portugal if you are visiting Extremadura or if you are going on a trip to Lisbon.

This beautiful border city with Spain has been a World Heritage Site since 2012 thanks to the large number of monuments that we can see in it and that date back several centuries.

Its main points of interest are its forts such as Santa Lucía and Nossa Senhora da Graça, a spectacular fortification that forms an exceptional ensemble with the Old Town of Elvas, the Castle and the Amoreira Aqueduct, possibly the best-known monument in Elvas, a city located a few kilometers from Badajoz.

What to see in Elvas. A visit with the best

The Old Town of Elvas

Elvas - Our Lady Assumption ChurchThe Historic Center of Elvas is worth a visit because the centuries of history that are hidden behind the walls that surround the city have left numerous points of interest that must be known, since it is considered one of the most interesting fortified areas in the world.

The nerve center of the city is around the Church of Our Lady of the Assumption, the seat of the bishopric for which it has the category of Cathedral and which stands out for its staircase that takes you inside.

From its entrance door you can admire the Plaza de la República, which is full of shops and under which there is a car park, something to keep in mind if you travel by car.

elvas-dominican-churchThe interior of the church is also very interesting, but it is worth getting lost in the cobbled and steep streets of Elvas, letting yourself be surprised by its white houses, with the lower part yellow.

And for any corner that appears to your eyes such as the Church of El Salvador, which is a must, the Church of Misericordia or the Church of Consolation, also known as Church of the Dominicas, famous for the typical tiles of the Portuguese churches, which are even in the dome.

Next to this church is La Picota, which represents the municipal power.

Elvas Castle

elvas-castleIn the highest part of the historic center we have the Elvas Castle, a very well preserved fortification built in the 13th century in a place where there were already constructions since the Stone Age.

Later, it ceased to be a defensive construction to become the residence of the different mayors of Elvas, for which it also acquired palatial elements. Its visit is free and from it you have very good views.

Nearby, about a 5-minute walk away, is the English Cemetery, where some English officers who fought in the Napoleonic wars alongside the Portuguese troops were buried.

The Dominican Church and the Military Museum annex are the other two places that you should not miss in the city of Elvas.

The Fort of Santa Lucía and Nossa Senhora da Graça

elvas-fort-santa-luciaOutside the intramural enclosure of Elvas is one of the most important military fortifications in Europe, which was built in the 13th century but enlarged in the 17th century by order of King Juan IV.

It is the Fort of Santa Lucía, located on a small mound in which we must highlight its moats, its walls, its seven bastions, its four semi-bastions and its beautiful fortified doors.

Inside we must highlight the Governor’s House as well as the chapel. A visit to the fort is a must if you visit Elvas.

Further north of Elvas is the city’s other major fort, Nossa Senhora da Graça, possibly the better preserved of the two. It was built during the Portuguese Restoration War and has had different uses throughout its history. The arrangement of its elements, with its pentagonal bastions, made it impregnable and it is one of the best things to see in Elvas.

The Aqueduct of Amoreira

elvas-aqueductIt is possibly the best-known monument in Elvas, and the Amoreira Aqueduct is extraordinary. It is made up of more than 800 arcades that are distributed over 8 kilometres.

The construction of the aqueduct, which began in 1537, was not without controversy due to economic problems, so it had to be suspended for more than 2 decades until it was completed in 1622.

From that moment on, the citizens of Elvas were able to enjoy the water it transported and today we can enjoy it admiring its beauty and its more than 40 meters in height, which it reaches at some points.

These waters were collected in the Fuente da Misericordia, the first to receive it and which is also very interesting.

From the Castle of Elvas you have a nice view of the Amoreira Aqueduct and you can also see it up close if you get to it in the western part of the city.

You can find more information on the official Elvas tourism page.

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