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The Best Guide to Lisbon

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Why visit? > 3 Days > 1 Week > Sights & Activities > Day trips > Beaches > Alfama > Belem > Baixa > Expo Park > Site Map

A Guide to Lisbon's Best Day Trips & Excursions

Surrounding Lisbon is a region of stunning natural beauty, fascinating historic towns and glorious sandy beaches. The Portuguese capital makes for a great base from which to explore this wonderful region and the extensive public transport means that these towns are easily accessible by all.

The number of varied and enjoyable day trips from Lisbon can greatly extend any holiday to the region, and there are sufficient sights, activities and excursions to fill a holiday of up to ten days. This guide will highlight the best day trips from Lisbon, rank them a suggested order and provide links to further in depth information.

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Quick Summary of Lisbon Day Trips

(Please click on the underlined links to take you to the destination guide – Links open new window)

Best day trip: Sintra - (Requires two days)

Second best day: Cascais Guide

Other recommended day trips: Obidos, Mafra, Evora, Sesimbra, Queluz Palace

Best driving route: Serra da Arribida Natural Park

Alternative half day trip: Christ Rei Statue

The best beaches: Praia de Carcavelos, Praia de São Pedro, Guincho and Costa da Caparica.
For a full guide to Lisbon's beaches please visit LisbonBeaches.com.

Our recommended order for day trips from Lisbon:
Sintra, Cascais, Obidos, Sintra (day 2), Sesimbra & Serra da Arribida, Evora and then Mafra.

The remainder of this article provides a summary of each of the popular day trips and links to further in-depth information. Organised tours provide a fantastic way to explore the Lisbon region, and have the added benefit of local and knowledgeable guides, some of our favourites include:

Sintra as a Day Trip

Sintra is a picturesque Portuguese town that lies 25km to the west of Lisbon. Sintra is nestled within the hills of the Serra de Sintra and contained within the town are stunning royal palaces, the ancient ruins of a castle and countless other grand 19th-century residences.

Moors castle sintra

The view from the Moors castle, high above Sintra

Sintra makes for a fantastic day trip, by offering a range of varied sights and historical monuments all of which are set around a delightful town centre. The hills of the Serra de Sintra provide for great hiking or cycling routes and are a great place to escape the summertime crowds.

 

 

Sintra is only a short train ride from Lisbon and the town is suitable for all visitors of all ages. There are so many excellent attractions in Sintra, that it requires two days to fully explore; the first day commonly visits the National Palace, the Moors castle and the stunning Pena Palace. For the second day it is suggested to visit the Quinta da Regaleira, Seteais Palace and Monserrate Palace.

Pena Palace  portugal

The stunning Pena Palace in Sintra

Sintra is by far the most popular tourist destination of the Lisbon region and can get very crowded, especially at the beautiful Pena Palace. Our advice is to start early in the day (or much later) to avoid the mid-morning and afternoon rushes. For a guide to Sintra please click here.

Cascais - excursions from Lisbon

Cascais is a pretty and historic fishing port that is one of the most popular resort towns of the Lisbon coastline. Historically, Cascais was the summer retreat for the Portuguese nobility and today the town is an elegant blend of grand houses, traditional architecture and carefully maintained parks.

Cascais portugal

The view over the harbour in Cascais

The small fishing harbour of Cascais overlooks two scenic beaches while the exclusivity of Cascais is evident in the large marina complex. Cascais makes for a popular holiday destination but is equally suited as a day trip from Lisbon by offering immaculate parks, free museums and varied historic monuments.

Cascais portugal

One of the grand buildings in central Cascais

There are enjoyable walks either along the craggy cliffs to the Boca de Inferno cliff formation or following the beach promenade to the trendy resort of town Estoril. Cascais is only a short train ride from Lisbon and is again a highly recommended day trip for those visitors wishing to extend a holiday in the Lisbon region. To read more about Cascais, please click here.

Cascais beach
Christ Rei Statue and Costa da Caparica Day Trip

A shorter excursion is to cross the Tejo River and visit the statue of Christ Rei, which stands on the southern bank of the Tejo estuary. The Christ Rei statue stands high above Lisbon and the vantage point provides wonderful panoramic views over the suspension bridge and the historic waterfront of Lisbon.

This day trip can be extended by then taking the bus to the beach resort of Costa da Caparica. The recommended means to travel to Christ Rei from Lisbon is to catch the ferry from Cais de Sordre to Cacilhas and then the 101 bus service (all details can be found here).

christ statue

The Christ statue is high above Lisbon

Costa da Caparica is a modern beach resort that is situated on one of the best beaches of the Lisbon region. The beach faces the Atlantic Ocean and there are massive waves ideal for surfing while the sands extend for 30km along the length of the Setubal Peninsula. During the summer there is a mini train which allows visitors to reach these remote and isolated beaches.

Costa De Caparica beach

The fishing boats of the Costa De Caparica beach

There are good transport connections for the day trip, with a direct bus from Cacilhas ferry terminal to Costa da Caparica and for the return to Lisbon there is an express bus from Costa da Caparica back to Lisbon.

 

 

Obidos - Historic walled town

Obidos is a pretty and historic walled town, which is situated 1 hour north of Lisbon. Obidos was traditionally owned by the queen of Portugal and today is considered as one of the most picturesque towns of Portugal.

Obidos portugal

The town is lined with cobbled streets, traditional painted houses and is encircled by the city walls. The small size of Obidos means that it can be fully explored in a couple of hours and for a guide to Obidos please click here.

Obidos portugal

Obidos is central Portugal's best walled city

Sesimbra - Portuguese Holiday destination

Sesimbra is a small town that is situated on the southern side of the Setubal Peninsula and is set in a region of stunning natural scenery. Sesimbra is surrounded by the hills of the Serra da Arrabida and this natural park provides great hiking and cycling routes and some of the most beautiful beaches of western Portugal. Sesimbra is also famed for its sea food restaurants, which serve fish that has been freshly caught by the town’s fishing fleet.

Sesimbra portugal

The pretty beach resort of Sesimbra

Sesimbra is loved by the Portuguese, who flock here during the short summer season, but the town is virtually unknown by foreign tourists. If you have the chance visiting Sesimbra you will not be disappointed! Public transport is limited through the Serra da Arrabida and the area is best explored with an organized tour or with a rental car. For more information about Sesimbra please visit SesimbraPortugal.net.

the Serra da Arrabida

The Serra da Arrabida

Excursion to Mafra

Mafra is a small town that is home to the most lavish and exuberant palace of Portugal. The Palácio Nacional de Mafra was funded by the gold that flowed out of Brazil, and these unimaginable riches were enough to employ a workforce of 45,000 people. After the 13 years of construction, the Palace had a staggering (unbelievable) 1,200 rooms and visitors today will walk around 1.5km within the vast complex. .

Mafra Palace

The magnificent Mafra Palace

The standout feature is the beautiful library while adjoining the palace is the grand basilica and the whole site is surrounded by decorative gardens. Mafra itself is a very small town and the main attraction is the palace and its grounds. There are regular buses from Lisbon to Mafra and the town is an enjoyable day trip after Sintra and Cascais. For a guide to Mafra please click here.

Evora Day Trip

Evora is the capital of the Alentejo region, is less than 1.5hour away by bus, and makes for another varied extended day trip. The city has a completely different atmosphere and pace of life from Lisbon brought on by the extreme heat of the region, but the small city has the second highest number of national monuments in Portugal coming second only to Lisbon. For a guide to about Evora please visit Evora-Portugal.com.

Evora portugal

The pretty and traditional cobbled streets of Evora

 

Thanks for reading our article, and we hope you found it informative and useful. This article was written faithfully to the best of our knowledge, if you notice an error or would like to suggest an amendment please send us a message using the “contact us” page, via the link found at the bottom of this page - Phil, Carla and Smudge the Cat.

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