Elvas Travel Guide

Explore the cultural attractions, natural wonders, and local cuisine of Elvas, Portugal. Discover the best things to do, where to stay, and how to get around in this charming town.

Introduction to Elvas

Elvas is a charming fortified town located in Alto Alentejo, Alentejo, Portugal. It is renowned for its impressive military architecture, which earned it a UNESCO World Heritage Site designation in 2012. Elvas is a great destination for history buffs, architecture enthusiasts, foodies, and nature lovers, offering a unique blend of cultural attractions, natural wonders, and gastronomic delights. In this comprehensive tour guide, we will provide you with all the information you need to plan a memorable trip to Elvas.

List of Places to Visit in Elvas

Elvas boasts an impressive array of cultural and natural attractions, ranging from historic monuments and museums to stunning natural landscapes and outdoor activities. Here are some of the best places to visit in Elvas:

Culturally Important Attractions: Museums and Historical Places

  • Elvas Castle: This impressive castle was built in the 13th century and restored in the 17th century. It is one of the most iconic landmarks in Elvas and is surrounded by a moat.

  • Aqueduct of Amoreira: The aqueduct of Amoreira dates back to the 16th century and is an engineering masterpiece. It spans 7 km and features 843 arches.

  • Fortifications of Elvas: Elvas has one of the largest and the best-preserved bulwarked forts in the world. The fortifications consist of walls, bastions, ravelins, and redoubts that protected the town from attacks.

  • Elvas Museum: This museum showcases the history and culture of Elvas and its surrounding regions. It features a collection of archaeological artifacts, paintings, sculptures, and traditional handicrafts.

Natural Attractions of Elvas: Outdoor Adventures and Scenic Views

  • Serra de São Mamede Natural Park: This natural park boasts some of the most stunning landscapes in Portugal, including mountains, valleys, rivers, and forests. It is a paradise for hikers, bikers, and nature enthusiasts.

  • Albufeira Maranhão: This artificial lake is a great place to relax and enjoy the natural beauty of the region. It offers a range of activities, including swimming, fishing, and boating.

  • Parque da Piedade: This park is located in the heart of Elvas and features a beautifully landscaped garden, fountains, and a children’s playground. It is ideal for a leisurely stroll or a picnic.

Hiking/Biking Routes of Elvas

Elvas and its surrounding regions offer some of the best hiking and biking trails in Portugal. Here are some of the top routes to explore:

  • Rota dos Fortes: This circular route takes you on a tour of the impressive fortifications of Elvas. It is a moderate hike that covers a distance of around 15 km and offers stunning views.

  • PR1-EVA: This trail takes you through the heart of Serra de São Mamede Natural Park. It is a challenging hike that covers a distance of around 23 km and offers breathtaking views of the landscape.

  • Ecopista Elvas-Badajoz: This cycling route connects Elvas in Portugal to Badajoz in Spain. It is a relatively easy ride that covers a distance of around 14 km and offers great views of the surrounding countryside.

Best Things to Do in Elvas: Activities and Tours

Elvas offers a range of activities and tours to suit all tastes and interests. Here are some of the best things to do in Elvas:

  • Food and wine tours: Elvas is renowned for its culinary delights, including the famous Queijadas de Elvas (sweet pastries) and the Alentejo wines. Join a food and wine tour to sample the local cuisine and learn about the traditions and customs of the region.

  • Hot air balloon rides: Soar above the stunning landscapes of Elvas and its surrounding regions on a hot air balloon ride. This is a unique and memorable way to experience the beauty of the area.

  • Historical tours: Explore the rich history of Elvas on a guided tour of its fortifications, castle, and museums. Learn about the significance of the town in Portuguese and European history.

Week-Long Itinerary for Elvas

To make the most of your trip to Elvas, we recommend spending at least a week in the town and its surrounding regions. Here is a sample itinerary to help you plan your trip:

Day Activity
Day 1 Explore Elvas Castle and the Aqueduct of Amoreira
Day 2 Visit the Fortifications of Elvas and Elvas Museum
Day 3 Take a hot air balloon ride or go hiking in Serra de São Mamede Natural Park
Day 4 Take a food and wine tour and sample the local cuisine
Day 5 Explore the nearby town of Badajoz in Spain
Day 6 Relax by the Albufeira Maranhão or Parque da Piedade
Day 7 Take a historical tour of the town and learn about its rich heritage

Food and Drink Scene of Elvas

Elvas is a great destination for foodies and wine enthusiasts, offering a range of delicious cuisine and local drinks. Here are some of the must-try dishes and local beverages in Elvas:

Must-Try Dishes

  • Queijadas de Elvas: These sweet pastries are a specialty of Elvas and are made from a combination of sugar, eggs, almonds, and cinnamon. They are perfect as a dessert or a snack.

  • Bacalhau à Conventual: This is a traditional dish made from salt cod, eggs, garlic, and bread crumbs. It is a staple dish in Portuguese cuisine, and each region has its own variations.

  • Sopa de Cação: This fish soup is made from dogfish, bread, coriander, garlic, and paprika. It is a hearty and flavorful dish that is perfect for a cold day.

Local Beverages

  • Alentejo wines: The Alentejo region is known for its excellent wines, including the reds, whites, and roses. Some of the renowned wine producers in the region are Esporão, Cartuxa, and Herdade do Esporão.

  • Ginja de Elvas: This is a cherry liqueur that is produced in Elvas and is famous throughout Portugal. It is made by soaking cherries in aguardente (a type of brandy) and adding sugar.

Where to Stay in Elvas: Hotels, Hostels, and Guesthouses

Elvas offers a range of accommodation options to suit all budgets and preferences, including hotels, hostels, and guesthouses. Here are some of the best places to stay in Elvas:

  • Pousada de Elvas: This luxurious hotel is housed in a historic convent and offers stunning views of the town and the surrounding countryside. It features a swimming pool, a restaurant, and a bar.

  • Residencial Luso Espanhola: This guesthouse offers comfortable and affordable accommodation in the heart of Elvas. It features a garden, a bar, and a restaurant.

  • HI Elvas - Pousada de Juventude: This hostel offers budget-friendly accommodation for backpackers and travelers. It features a shared kitchen, a lounge, and a terrace.

What to Buy in Elvas: Souvenirs and Local Products to Bring Home

Elvas offers a range of souvenirs and local products that are perfect for taking home as a reminder of your trip. Here are some of the best things to buy in Elvas:

  • Queijadas de Elvas: These sweet pastries make an excellent gift for friends and family back home.

  • Ceramics: Elvas is known for its traditional ceramic pottery, which features intricate designs and patterns.

  • Cork products: Portugal is the largest cork producer in the world, and Elvas boasts a range of cork products, including wallets, bags, and shoes.

Local Culture and Customs of Elvas

Elvas has a rich history and culture that is reflected in its architecture, cuisine, and traditions. Here are some of the customs and traditions of Elvas:

  • Festivals and Celebrations: Elvas hosts a range of festivals and celebrations throughout the year, including the Feira de São Mateus in September, the Carnaval de Elvas in February, and the Festa da Senhora da Boa Nova in May.

  • Religious Pilgrimages: Elvas has a strong religious heritage, and many locals participate in pilgrimages to nearby shrines and holy sites, such as the Santuário de Nossa Senhora da Conceição.

Best Time to Visit Elvas

The best time to visit Elvas is in the spring (March to May) and the fall (September to November) when the weather is mild, and the crowds are smaller. The summer months (June to August) can be hot and crowded, while the winter months (December to February) can be cold and rainy.

Do’s and Don’ts of Elvas

Here are some do’s and don’ts to keep in mind when visiting Elvas:


  • Do try the local cuisine and wine, especially the Queijadas de Elvas and the Alentejo wines.

  • Do take a historical tour of the town and learn about its rich heritage.

  • Do be respectful of the local customs and traditions.


  • Don’t litter or leave trash in public places.

  • Don’t ignore the local laws and regulations, such as drinking in public places.

  • Don’t take photos of people without their permission.

Safety and Health

Elvas is a safe town for travelers, and there are no major health concerns. However, it is always best to take precautions and be aware of your surroundings. Here are some tips for staying safe and healthy in Elvas:

Safety in Elvas

  • Be wary of pickpockets in crowded areas, such as markets and festivals.

  • Avoid walking alone at night in deserted areas.

  • Keep your valuables, such as passports and cash, in a safe place.

Health in Elvas

  • Make sure to stay hydrated, especially during the summer months.

  • Use sunscreen and wear a hat to protect yourself from the sun.

  • Check the weather conditions and dress accordingly.

Getting to Elvas: Transportation Options and Logistics

Elvas is well-connected to other parts of Portugal and Spain, making it easy to reach by air, bus, or car. Here are some transportation options to consider:

Airports Near Elvas

The nearest airports to Elvas are:

  • Lisbon Portela Airport: Located 220 km from Elvas, Lisbon Portela Airport is the largest international airport in Portugal, serving flights to and from destinations all over the world.

  • Badajoz Airport: Located in Spain, just 25 km from Elvas, Badajoz Airport offers domestic flights to Madrid and Barcelona and international flights to other European destinations.

Bus Stations Near Elvas

Elvas has a bus station that offers regular services to Lisbon, Badajoz, and other destinations in Portugal and Spain.

Other Options

You can also reach Elvas by car or by train, although these options may not be as convenient as flying or taking a bus.

How to Get Around in Elvas

Elvas is a small town that can easily be explored on foot or by bicycle. However, there are also bus services and taxis available for those who prefer not to walk. It is also possible to rent a car or a motorbike to explore the surrounding regions.

Where to Go Next from Elvas: Nearby Destinations and Excursions

Elvas is a great base for exploring other parts of Portugal and Spain. Here are some nearby destinations and excursions to consider:

  • Mértola: This historic town is located in the Alentejo region and is known for its Roman ruins and medieval castle.

  • Marvão: This hilltop village is located in the Serra de São Mamede Natural Park and is renowned for its stunning views and impressive castle.

  • Évora: This UNESCO World Heritage Site is located in the Alentejo region and is known for its well-preserved Roman and medieval architecture.


Elvas is a destination that offers something for everyone, from its impressive military architecture to its stunning natural landscapes, delicious cuisine, and rich heritage. We hope this comprehensive tour guide has provided you with all the information you need to plan a memorable trip to Elvas. Remember to take precautions, be respectful of the local customs, and enjoy your stay in this charming town.