We want to encourage conference attendees to make travel plans early …
because our June dates fall at the beginning of tourist season in Portugal. This is especially true for flights. I have been tracking flight costs (using both Kayak and Hopper) and indicators are that the cost for June flights will go up after the first of the year. Right now, they are holding steady. It appears that direct flights from Boston, Newark, and DC have the lowest costs. If you are coming from the US, you may want to investigate TAP, the Portuguese airline, in addition to US carriers. Your mostly likely destination is Lisbon, though Porto might be a possibility. If you are coming from Europe, there are a host of options, including flying into Faro. Bus and train service from all these cities to Évora is readily available. (More on that later. For now, know that the bus from Lisbon to Évora takes under 75 minutes and costs about €10. The train is also readily accessible and a delightful ride.)
We can’t promise firm decisions on the program until February 15th, but we are committed to a full program and encouraging a record number of attendees. Our partnership with Universidade de Évora is a great boon in that regard because we have some flexibility in setting meeting rooms based on attendance. So make travel plans sooner rather than later!
Accommodations are not as pressing, but again, we encourage early arrangements. Below are a list of potential accommodations that we have vetted.
PREFERRED CONFERENCE HOTEL:
Located just down the slope from Praça do Giraldo (the main square in Évora), adjacent to Jardim Público de Évora, a 12 minute walk from our meeting site at Colégio do Espírito Santo, located near the Linha Azul (a bus line that navigates the city), with free parking (if you are driving from Lisboa), the Olive is a relatively small hotel with a lobby bar, a wellness center and spa, a pool with spacious outdoor seating areas, and an old Évora feel. Visit the website for more info: https://www.artsoulgroup.com/evoraolivehotel/en/ (available in four languages). We have arranged for a booking discount. Please use the PROMOCODE, JDS2024, to complete your reservation.
You may want to consider these other options: (in the order of my personal preference)
M’Ar de Murahas, located just inside the city walls on the southwest, is a lovely property in a quiet location. The walk to the conference site is about 15 minutes.
Albergaria do Calvário, located just inside the city walls on the northwest side of town, this is a boutique hotel with a biosphere sustainable rating. It is on the bus line. The walk to the conference site is about 15 minutes.
Vila Galé Évora, a new and spacious complex outside the city walls with access to the bus line.
Évora Hilton Garden Inn, a new/remodeled hotel just outside the city walls, with a rooftop pool and fitness center. The Hilton is on the Linha Azul bus line, and a 20 minute walk from Colégio do Espírito Santo.
If you want to splurge a bit, consider this place:
M’Ar de Ar Aqueduto is a higher end version of M’Ar de Ar Muralhas, located on the bus line on the northwest side of Évora.
For a more modest cost (without a pool), consider:
Moov Hotel, (specify Évora), located on the southwest edge of the city, is a no frills but comfortable hotel. There is bus service or a 15 minute walk to Colégio do Espírito Santo.
*** If you seek accommodations that are neat and clean, without extras, I recommend:
Pousada dos Évora dos SSAP (Servicos Sociais da Administraçao Pública, Estalagem Évora). This is a social service agency site, with rooms that will do nicely (and/or inexpensive dorm slots) for about €60 for two nights. Located within the city walls on the west side, there is a pool on site and common spaces within. There is access to the bus line; the walk to the conference site is about 15 minutes, right through the center of town.
I have personally visited each of these sites and can assure you that they are safe and comfortable.
Timing your arrival:
At present, we are planning for a three- day conference, beginning at noon on Wednesday, July 5th, and ending sometime after lunch on Friday, July 7th. We will most likely have a reception on the evening of the first day, a luncheon at midday on Thursday, coffee breaks throughout, and some sort of send-off on the final day, Friday, the 7th. This means that you could technically fly into Lisbon on Wednesday morning before 10 am and be in Évora by the opening. (As I noted, more on ground transport from Lisbon Airport later.)
Évora is an excellent base for touring the Alentejo (Portugal’s central region) via rental car or with guide. You may want to combine your Évora stay with trips to the Algarve (on the southern coast), trips to Coimbra, Porto and other university towns, and, of course, time in Lisbon.
Planning to spend a bit more time in Portugal in June? Here are the places you might want to visit. (And the great news is you can rent a car and drive the excellent highway system or use public transport. Both trains and buses are available, inexpensive, and safe. And if you like to have a “guide” along the way, I have found Rick Steves’ insights and recommendations to be generally spot on.)
You can’t go wrong in the city of Lisbon: tourism, food, nightlife, and spectacular views abound. A day trip from Lisbon, you can go west to Cascais and Sintra as well as Praia do Guincho (one of many beaches on the western Atlantic coast).
As you head north from Lisbon, the walled-town of Obidos is worth a stop as is the beach at Peniche. Oh, and detour on the way to Lourinha to visit Len Waks! Keep going to Nazaré if you have any interest in surfing, but before you do, watch the documentary that captures the spirit (and sheer danger) of the place: 100 Foot Wave. (The shrine at Fatima is about 15 miles from Nazaré.)
The northern city of Porto (Portugal’s other major city) is utterly different in tone from Lisbon and the contrast is worth getting a feel for. I would strongly recommend a river tour of the Douro Valley if you get to Porto (with stops at wineries of course!) On your way to Porto, stop at the university town of Coimbra, the oldest university in Portugal and one of the oldest in Europe.
If your thoughts turn to beach activities as summer approaches, you could head by bus or car south to the Algarve where the Atlantic Ocean meets Portugal’s southern coastline. Faro is the big town, but I like Tavira (closer to the Spanish border) and Albufeira.
Finally, if you want to set your feet down in Spain without flying to a major city, consider a day trip from Évora east to Badajoz, just across the border. Or combine a stay at the beach in the Algarve with a side trip to Seville. Seville is a 2 hour drive from Faro (2 ½ hours by bus).
There is more, of course – taking day trips to the small towns around Évora (especially shopping for pottery); hiking north on the Camino from Porto to the Spanish Santiago de Compostela, the Sagres peninsula where Henry the Navigator powered Portuguese exploration – but the above will be enough to get you thinking.