There are many wonderful places to visit near Lisbon. Some are well known to visitors while others are great spots for in-the-know locals. Since we live in Portugal, we spent time looking for the best spots to spend a day (or more)! Here are some of our favorite fantastic day trips from Lisbon.
1. Costa de Caparica
Costa de Caparica is quick and easy to reach from Lisbon. It is popular with Portuguese people as well as visitors due to its beaches, parks, gardens and interesting attractions. The Transpraia mini train will take you to different beaches. For a different menu, see Maryana for a taste of the Caribbean. You can also enjoy sangria, local food and music at any of the spots along the beaches. Avoid this area from mid-October to March when the water is far too cold and many facilities are closed.
The most fun way to get there is by ferry. Trains and buses are also available. Usually you can arrive in about 20 minutes.
Carcavelos offers the first great beach outside of Lisbon. It has plenty of amenities, facilities, a wide and long sandy beach, and is a favorite for people who live in Lisbon looking for a quick seaside getaway to satisfy their beach craving. Sun loungers, volleyball courts, restaurants, bars and cafes are all available. For something different, check out Quinta da Alagoa Park where you will find plenty of chickens, ducks, geese and even peacocks roaming the beautiful gardens. It also has tennis courts and places to grab a bite to eat or drink, with frequent live music and happy hours.
Carcavelos is easily accessible by train from Lisbon. By taking the Linha de Cascais, you can get there in about 25 minutes from Cais de Sodré station in Lisbon.
We are a bit biased as to where we currently live in Estoril along the Lisbon coast. A haven for royalty and other elites during World War II, Estoril has an interesting history nestled in its pretty streets. The Hotel Palacio is not to be missed. James Bond fans may know that this is where 007 came to life when author Ian Fleming stayed here among allies and spies. You can see the glitter in the photo galleries along the walls and try a 007 martini in the “Spy Bar”. You are also nearby Estoril Casino, once the largest casino in Europe. Some of the best authentic Chinese dishes in Portugal can be found at Mandarin. Stop at Portuguese Music Museum then head to Tamariz Beach for a shore walk and great restaurants where you can dine right by the beach.
You can drive along the coastal road called Marginal and get to Estoril in about 30 minutes. You can also jump on the Linha of Cascais train and get there in about 35 minutes.
Cascais is an international resort that welcomes discerning visitors from all over the world. Amidst shiny cars and well-maintained streets, you’ll find plenty of fun things to see and do. Take a walk in Marshal Carmona Park to see turtles, chickens and other birds. Explore museums, including the Cultural Center, which offers great coffee for lunch. Take a walk in the Vila Market or walk along the coast to the Boca do Inferno. Eat amazing seafood in Cascais while enjoying water views in this beautiful coastal town.
Cascais is easily accessible by car from Lisbon in around 35 minutes or take the Linha de Cascais train from Cais de Sodré and arrive in around 40 minutes.
One of the most popular day trips from Lisbon is Sintra, a magical town nestled among winding, tree-lined roads. Dotted with castles, Sintra inspires the imagination. Pena Palace, Moorish Castle, Quinta da Regaleira and many more are calling out to be explored. The small old town is full of shops and restaurants. Try some of the special pastries like the daily freshly baked Travesseiros. If you fancy burning a few calories, there’s no better place than the vast Sintra-Cascais Natural Park to enjoy some exploring.
You can drive to Sintra in about 30 minutes. However, once there, the roads can be narrow and winding. Some trains connect Lisbon to Sintra in around 40 minutes. Consider getting a tuk-tuk or other local transportation to get around once you get there.
Another fantastic day trip from Lisbon is Mafra. The city is best known for the Mafra National Palace, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. This huge building is home to an extraordinary amount of impressive architecture and artifacts. The most interesting part for us was the library containing books that date back to the 14th century. A well-maintained bat colony keeps pests away (don’t worry, they’re hidden and dormant during the day). The Cerco Botanical Garden behind the palace makes for a nice walk. Tapada de Mafrathe former royal hunting ground, home to many animals, birds and plants, while downtown Mafra is full of shops, restaurants, bakeries and delicious Mafra bread.
A drive to Lisbon will take 40 minutes or less. A train takes about 55 minutes, but Mafra station is about 8 kilometers from the city center. Some day trips include a stop at Mafra Palace.
A fun trip through the water of Lisbon is Setubal. It’s a bustling place with a thriving community of artists as well as great pedestrian streets, gardens, fountains and attractions. You can climb around the Fort of Sao Felipe to enjoy a view that goes well with a glass of candy Moscatel wine at the sidewalk cafe. Downtown has fun attractions like the purple town hall and a large cat sculpture on one of the rooftops. Be sure to try the choco frito, a local Portuguese seafood specialty.
An express bus to Setúbal takes around 45 minutes and a train will take around 55 minutes. Consider that during peak hours the bus may encounter traffic.
A great day trip to the coast from East Lisbon Ericeira. It is a favorite of the Portuguese for its seafood and its beaches to relax in the summer. Winter brings good waves for surfers and there are plenty of surf schools if you want to try. Restaurants as a local favorite O Pirolito serving fresh seafood and delicious international dishes. There are lively bars and cafes to explore. From May to October, many restaurants offer live music, which you can sometimes hear while strolling the streets. Walking or biking through Ericeira is one way to discover the galleries, cafes and shops.
Ericeira is about a 45 minute drive from Lisbon. There is also a bus service taking around 2 hours or 90 minute express routes.
Colares is another one of our favorite “under the radar” day trips from Lisbon. This west coast town has some delicious surprises in store. Whereas Cap de Roca, the westernmost point of Europe, is well known, most of the region is enjoyed mainly by locals. One of our favorite secrets about Colares is the Adega Regional de Colaresthe oldest wine cooperative in Portugal which offers tours and tastings. Convent of the Capuchos, built by Franciscans in the 1500s, uses Portugal’s famous cork for insulation. For a memorable meal, Adraga Restaurant is right on the beach and Moinho Dom Quixote has a phenomenal view of the ocean in a garden.
A drive to Colares from Lisbon will take 40-45 minutes. Many day trips to Sintra include a visit to Cabo da Roca.
10. Torres Vedras
Torres Vedras is a fantastic day trip from Lisbon for those looking for a fascinating place that is not dominated by tourism. The historic town includes Castro of Zambujal, an ancient, complex and fortified settlement. Napoleon met his defeat attempting to conquer Lisbon when he encountered the defensive Lines of Torres Vedras. The diversity of the region mixes wine-growing hillsides with an Atlantic coast, perfect for vineyards giving unique and delicious wines. The food in Torres Vedras is also delicious and includes the local pastry Pastel from Feijão (bean cake). The Leonel Trindade Municipal Museum is an archaeological and historical museum located in a former convent offering insights into the evolution of the region.
Torres Vedras can be reached by car in around 45 minutes. A bus ride will take around 55 minutes and a train from Lisbon Santa Apolonia station will take around 90 minutes.
We end our fantastic day trips from Lisbon to a very special place for us and where Portugal has stolen our hearts. The fairytale medieval town of Óbidos is a modern village inside an ancient walled city. It is also a UNESCO Creative City of Literature. There are books in every nook and cranny and the Hotel of the Literary Man is perfect for bibliophiles. The castle has been transformed into an upscale hotel Hotel with a phenomenal restaurant. Local shops and restaurants abound. Try Ginja, a sour cherry liqueur sometimes served in chocolate cups. We enjoyed it at Bar Ibn Errik Rex with a chouriço sausage served flamboyant in front of us. Óbidos has many festivals and surprises just waiting to be explored.
A journey to Óbidos will take around an hour. You can also take a bus which takes about the same time to get there.
Whether you’re looking for a fun and lively place or a cultural gem known mostly to locals, here are just a few of the many fantastic day trips from Lisbon waiting for you.
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