Arrabida Natural Park - one of the best Lisbon day trips
Guides and Itineraries,  Portugal

City Escapes: 15 BEST Lisbon Day Trips

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Lisbon, a city filled with cobblestone streets, colorful tiles, and unique, historic neighborhoods, has rightly earned its spot on many travelers’ bucket lists. But what about the areas outside of the city? There are a few Lisbon day trips that you absolutely won’t want to miss on a trip to Portugal.

As an avid traveler, I’ve come to realize that the true essence of a destination often lies beyond its bustling streets. You can spend 2 days in Lisbon or longer, but to really discover what Lisbon is, you’ll need to venture outside the city and see the difference between Portugal’s charming towns and its big cities.

Embarking on a day trip from Lisbon provides an incredible opportunity to explore the diverse landscapes and cultural richness that Portugal has to offer. This post will help you decide which location is best for you!

The Best Lisbon Day Trips

From breathtaking beach towns to the prettiest medieval castle you’ll ever set eyes on, these Lisbon day trips belong on every itinerary. Let’s take a look at the top places to visit!

1. Sintra: A Fairytale Escape

Pena Palace and Park
Pena Palace and Park.

Sintra, with its whimsical aura and romantic allure, is a dreamy destination a short train ride from Lisbon. The best thing to do on this Lisbon day trip to Sintra is to explore the area’s many enchanting palaces.

The Pena Palace, a striking combination of bright colors perched on a hilltop, is a sight straight out of a fairy tale. Wander through the mystical gardens of Quinta da Regaleira, and feel as if you’ve stepped into a different realm. Finally, from the lofty ramparts of the Moorish Castle, you can feast your eyes on an unparalleled panoramic view of the countryside with the vast Atlantic Ocean shimmering in the distance.

How to get to Sintra: Getting from Lisbon to Sintra is quite straightforward. The easiest way is to take a train from Rossio Station in central Lisbon, which runs approximately every 30 minutes and takes about 40 minutes to reach Sintra.

2. Cabo da Roca: Panoramic Coastal Views

Cabo da Roca in Portugal
Cabo da Roca.

Located just a short drive from Lisbon, Cabo da Roca is a captivating day trip destination. As the westernmost point of mainland Europe, it offers breathtaking panoramic views of the rugged Atlantic coastline.

Come here to marvel at the view, take photographs of the landscape, and visit the iconic lighthouse. If you’re looking at other things to do, head up to Cascais which is just 20 minutes away by train. There you can relax on fine-sand beaches including Rainha, Conceicao, and Tamariz beaches or the lesser-visited Ursa and Lourical beaches. There are also hiking coastal trails for the adventurous.

Cabo da Roca is often visited on a day trip alongside Sintra. It’s also a popular place for sunset watching.

How to get to Cabo da Roca: Take the bus from Lisbon to Cascais, which is a frequent and affordable route. Buses like the Scotturb 403 or 417 depart from various locations in Lisbon, including the Cais do Sodré bus terminal and the Estoril train station. The journey to Cascais takes about 30-40 minutes.

3. Cascais: Beachside Serenity

Guincho Beach in Cascais
Guincho Beach in Cascais.

For those yearning for a refreshing coastal retreat, the best beaches in Cascais, Portugal beckon with their golden sandy beaches and tranquil atmosphere.

Praia do Guincho offers a paradise for surf enthusiasts. This Cascais beach is absolutely breathtaking to behold with its flowing sand dunes and clean azure water. Nearby, the dramatic Boca do Inferno cliff formation creates a mesmerizing spectacle as the waves crash against it.

How to get to Cascais: Reaching Cascais from Lisbon is a simple journey. You can hop on a train from the Cais do Sodre station in Lisbon, which operates every 20 minutes, and the journey to Cascais takes roughly 40 minutes.

4. Óbidos: A Glimpse of Medieval Portugal

Obidos, Portugal

A Lisbon day trip to Óbidos is perfect for anyone who loves charming towns and plenty of history! This village will transport you back in time with its medieval charm and fortified walls. The ancient castle is incredibly well-preserved and fascinating to explore.

But that’s just one of the many exciting things to do in Obidos! You’ll be dying to explore the quaint streets, lined with white-washed houses with streaks of yellow and blooming bougainvillea. If you’re after a little sunshine, head to the Obiods lagoon to cool off and see some wildlife. Before you go, don’t forget to try their famous ginjinha, a cherry liqueur served in chocolate cups!

How to get to Obidos: To reach Óbidos from Lisbon, you can take a bus from the Campo Grande station in Lisbon. The journey generally takes about an hour and twenty minutes, with buses departing approximately every two hours.

5. Ericeira: Surfing Paradise

Ericeira - one of the best day trips from Lisbon

Ericeira has earned worldwide fame as a surfer’s paradise. Home to a plethora of beaches offering varying wave conditions, it caters to both novice and experienced surfers. There are so many epic things to do in Ericeira!

Between the exciting nightlife, delicious wine tasting, and mouthwatering seafood, it’s impossible to grow bored on this Lisbon day trip! Plus, Ericeira is home to Europe’s only Surf Reserve and has tons of places to take lessons, rent a board, or just relax on the beach and watch.

How to get to Ericeira: To reach Ericeira from Lisbon, the easiest way is to take a bus from Campo Grande terminal. The journey takes approximately 1 hour and 30 minutes, and buses leave regularly throughout the day.

6. Évora: Journey into Alentejo

Chapel of Bones in Evora, Portugal
Chapel of Bones in Evora.

Évora, a UNESCO World Heritage site, is another great location worth a day trip from Lisbon. This town captures the essence of Alentejo’s history.

The Roman Temple and the eerie Chapel of Bones evoke a sense of awe and curiosity. Take your time to savor local wines and indulge in traditional dishes that celebrate the region’s culinary heritage.

How to get to Evora: To reach Évora from Lisbon, you can catch a train from Lisboa Oriente Station, which usually takes around 1 hour and 30 minutes. Alternatively, Rede Expressos buses depart from Sete Rios Station in Lisbon, and the trip typically lasts approximately 2 hours.

7. Setúbal: Coastal Town with Fresh Seafood

Setubal - one of the best day trips from Lisbon

Setúbal is different from the usual day trips from Lisbon such as Sintra, Obidos, Mafra, and Cascais. This coastal town features a charming historic center, vibrant local markets, and fresh seafood.

There are many activities here to fill your day. Don’t miss the panoramic views from Fortalezo de Sao Filipe, see the colorful fishing harbor Doca des Pescadores, and take a stroll along the streets in the old town. Visit the bustling Livramenta Market — considered the best fish & produce market in the whole of Portugal and then make your way to the waterfront restaurants for mouthwatering seafood dishes.

For nature lovers, you can also join a dolphin watching tour, visit the beaches at Troia Peninsula, or take a boat trip to the nearby Arrabida Natural Park.

How to get to Setúbal: Take a train from Lisbon to Setúbal. Trains depart from Lisbon’s main train station, Santa Apolónia, or from the Lisbon Oriente station. The journey takes approximately 1 to 1.5 hours, and there are regular departures throughout the day.

8. Arrábida Natural Park: Nature Adventure

Arrabida Natural Park - one of the best Lisbon day trips
Coastal area in Arrabida Natural Park.

Near Lisbon, the coast town of Setúbal serves as a gateway to the breathtaking Arrábida Natural Park. Outdoor enthusiasts and avid hikers won’t want to miss this day trip!

Hiking through this rugged paradise rewards you with stunning vistas of the coast and the lush landscapes. Kayak across the river systems, take in the nature, and discover hidden caves and water inlets. Head to the pristine beaches for a serene escape from the urban hustle.

How to get to Arrábida Natural Park: To get here from Lisbon, make your way to Setubal by catching a ferry from Cais do Sodré, with the crossing taking about 30 minutes. Alternatively, you can travel by bus from Praça de Espanha; the journey usually lasts about 1 hour. Once you arrive in Setúbal, you can either take a taxi or use local buses to access different areas within Arrábida Natural Park.

9. Sesimbra: Picturesque Fishing Town

Sesimbra in Portugal

Sesimbra is a picturesque fishing town and one of the best day trips from Lisbon for those looking for a relaxing day out.

Start your tour at the historic Sesimbra Castle, which offers panoramic views of the town and the sea. Then make your way down to the beaches which the town is mostly known for. Praia do Ouro and Praia da Califórnia are popular choices for sunbathing, swimming, and water sports.

Sesimbra is renowned for its seafood, so don’t miss the opportunity to dine at one of the town’s seafood restaurants. Savor dishes like grilled sardines, seafood rice, and freshly caught fish.

If you’re looking for outdoor adventure, there are various activities available like boat trips, fishing, scuba diving, and more. The town is also close to Arrabida Natural Park, which offers scenic trails, viewpoints, and opportunities for bird watching.

How to get to Sesimbra: You can take a direct bus from Lisbon to Sesimbra. The bus route is operated by TST (Transportes Sul do Tejo) from the Sete Rios bus terminal in Lisbon. The trip takes about 45 minutes to 1 hour, depending on traffic.

10. Nazaré: Chasing Giant Waves

Nazare, Portugal
Nazare, Portugal.

Nazaré isn’t just a picturesque fishing village; it’s a global hotspot for big-wave surfing. And by big, I mean, HUGE waves. Some of the biggest in the world, in fact.

The North Beach has witnessed surfers take on towering waves, an awe-inspiring spectacle that draws adventurers from all corners of the world. Nazare’s iconic lighthouse also adds a touch of charm to this adrenaline-charged destination.

How to get to Nazare: To reach Nazaré from Lisbon, you can take a Rede Expressos bus from the Sete Rios bus terminal, with the journey typically taking around 2 hours. Alternatively, a combination of train and bus travel via Leiria takes approximately 3 to 4 hours.

11. Azeitão: Wine and Delicacies

Wine lovers, I’ve got just the Lisbon day trip for you! Indulgence awaits in Azeitão, where wineries offer an exquisite journey through local vintages.

The tantalizing experience of wine tasting is complemented by the region’s delectable sweets. Imagine sipping wine as you savor the taste of traditional pastries, a true delight for any foodies and sommelier wannabes.

How to get to Azeitão: To get to Azeitão from Lisbon, you can take a bus from Praça de Espanha, the journey typically takes around an hour. Alternatively, you can drive; it’s approximately a 40-minute ride southeast from the city.

12. Fátima: Pilgrimage and Spirituality

Fatima, Portugal

Fátima’s spiritual aura is palpable, drawing pilgrims seeking solace and reflection. The Sanctuary and the Basilica stand as powerful symbols of faith, and the atmosphere resonates with a sense of tranquility.

Whether you’re on a spiritual journey or simply curious about the cultural significance, a Lisbon day trip to Fátima will leave a lasting impression.

How to get to Fatima: To reach Fátima from Lisbon, you can take a Rede Expressos bus from the Sete Rios bus terminal, with the journey typically lasting approximately 1.5 hours. Alternatively, driving via the A1 and A8 motorways is a quick option, taking just over an hour.

13. Tomar: The Knights Templar Legacy

Tomar, Portugal

Tomar’s historical significance is intertwined with the legacy of the Knights Templar. The Convent of Christ and the Templar Castle are masterpieces that showcase remarkable architectural detail and cultural heritage.

The experience of walking in the footsteps of these ancient knights is nothing short of captivating. History enthusiasts will want to book this day trip asap!

How to get to Tomar: To reach Tomar from Lisbon, you can opt for a train ride from Santa Apolónia station, a journey that takes around 2 hours. If you prefer driving, it’s approximately a 1.5-hour ride northeast from the city via the A1 motorway.

14. Mafra: Royalty and Grandeur

Palacio Nacional de Mafra
Palacio Nacional de Mafra.

Portugal is full of stunning castles, and you can see plenty of them on a day trip from Lisbon.

Perhaps one of the best palaces to explore is the Mafra’s royal palace. This castle and convent easily reflect the grandeur of Portugal’s past. The vast library, with its collection of over 36,000 books, is a bibliophile’s dream come true, and the baroque architecture and the sprawling grounds are a testament to the opulence of bygone eras.

How to get to Mafra: To travel from Lisbon to Mafra, you can catch a direct bus from Campo Grande station to Mafra, a journey which takes approximately one hour. Alternatively, driving via the A8 and A21 motorways offers another fast option, taking just around 40 minutes.

15. Peniche: Beach and Island Adventure

White houses in Peniche, Portugal
White-washed houses in Peniche.

Peniche is one of the best day trips near Lisbon, which offers an exciting mix of beach and island adventure.

This popular fishing town is one of Portugal’s top surfing destinations. Head to Baleal Beach for beginner-friendly surfing lessons, or experience the challenging surf breaks at Supertubos. While in town, you can also visit the 16th century Peniche Lighthouse, Peniche Fortress, Peniche Museum, and interesting spots in the old town.

Another great activity at Peniche is taking a boat trip to the Berlenga Island Nature Reserve, located just off the coast. Explore the island’s rugged beauty, hike its trails, and visit the Fort of São João Baptista.

How to get to Peniche: Several bus companies operate routes between Lisbon and Peniche. Buses including Rede Expressos and Rodoviária do Oeste at the Sete Rios bus terminal are among the companies that provide this service. The bus journey takes around 2.5 to 3 hours.

Tips for a Successful Lisbon Day Trip

Here are some useful travel tips for planning day trips from Lisbon!

  • To make the most of your Lisbon day trip, remember to pack the essentials like water, sunscreen, and comfortable shoes.
  • If you’re opting for an organized tour, make sure to book in advance. These destinations are quite popular and could sell out quickly. Otherwise, make sure to check the transportation options and schedules in advance to ensure a smooth journey.
  • While planning your itinerary is important, leave room for spontaneity to truly embrace the magic of discovery!

While Lisbon undoubtedly casts a spell with its charisma, the neighboring towns and attractions hold their own charm that adds plenty of depth to your Portuguese adventure. By venturing out on these day trips from Lisbon, you’ll unravel the layers of Portugal’s history, culture, and natural beauty, creating memories that linger long after you’ve returned home.

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