6 amazing day trips from Lisbon: castles, beaches & cultural hotspots
A trip to Lisbon is the perfect European holiday in countless ways: There’s great food, inspiring culture, stunning architecture, and hospitable locals. The only thing you can do to improve upon that visit is to include equally breathtaking day trips to the historic towns, beautiful beaches, and wonderful natural landscapes that surround the city. Plus, visiting the best places near Lisbon is a fantastic way to gain a better understanding of Portuguese culture. Like in many countries out there, local traditions in Portugal shift and change when you cross regional boundaries.
And lucky for you, Lisbon day trips are not only plentiful, but they’re also easy to plan. Portugal is not very big, so most places are just a quick drive or train ride away. With that in mind, we’ve rounded up the best day trip destinations to check out for your next tour of Portugal. Whether you’re interested in historic cities, religious traditions, hiking trails, or verdant vineyards, we’ve got a Lisbon day trip for you.
Discover regal Sintra
What makes the historic municipality of Sintra one of the top day trips from Lisbon? Well, its collection of historic buildings has made the city a UNESCO World Heritage Site. There are Moorish castles and antique palaces, including the fairy tale-looking Pena Palace. And Queluz National Palace is nearby, too, located halfway between Sintra and Lisbon. These buildings are so stunning that the Lisbon-to-Sintra day trip has become an important part of a traveler’s experience in Portugal.
On our popular nine-day Portugal for Solo Travelers tour, add the excursion to Sintra to enjoy a guided visit to these unique attractions. Or, if you want to strike out on a Lisbon day trip on your own, there are also rugged mountains (hiking is a major attraction) and quiet beaches worth seeking out.
Head to the beaches of Cascais
Did you know that for centuries Portuguese royalty used to sneak away to the coastal village of Cascais to escape the demands of the city? All these years later, heading to Cascais is still one of the best day trips from Lisbon. And it’s very easy to do: A day excursion from Lisbon to Cascais is a picturesque, 40-minute train ride. And the beach is right outside the train station.
On our brand-new, nine-day A Week in Portugal: Porto, Évora & Lisbon tour, an optional excursion to the Portuguese Riviera includes a stop in Cascais. There, you can stroll through the winding alleys of the Old Town or people-watch along the beach. Who knows? Maybe you’ll spot modern-day royalty on their own day trip from Lisbon.
Soak in the religious heritage of Tomar and Fátima
In 1916 and 1917 three young cousins reported seeing apparitions of the Virgin Mary in Fatima , a small village located just over an hour northeast of Lisbon. Since then, the Fátima-to-Lisbon day trip has become one of the most important things to do on Portugal trips. Indeed, Fátima is a pilgrimage site that receives six to eight million visitors annually.
On our nine-day Portugal: Porto, the Algarve & Lisbon tour, you can sign up for a day trip from Lisbon to explore Fátima’s religious history. You’ll visit the houses of Jacinta (where two of the cousins lived) and the Basilica of Our Lady of Fátima. Included is a tour of the equally historic village of Tomar, home to the Convent of Christ, a 12th-century site that served as a fortress for the Knights Templar.
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Get cultured in Óbidos and catch waves in Nazaré
About an hour’s drive north of the capital, the medieval city of Óbidos is one of Portugal’s most beautiful places—and an easy day trip from Lisbon. It’s a strollable hilltop community that orbits around historic monuments, such as the centuries-old Igreja de Santa Maria and Castle of Óbidos. But you’ll also want to visit charming little bookstores and bars serving Ginja de Óbidos, a cherry liqueur that originated in the city.
On our 14-day Grand Tour of Portugal: From Porto to Lisbon, you can add an excursion to Óbidos, which will include a visit to the coastal village of Nazaré, known for its mind blowing, sky-scraping waves—some of the largest in the world.
Get wined and dined in Setúbal
Day excursions from Lisbon often focus on cultural or historical sights. But with Portugal’s vast culinary heritage, you should definitely consider taking Lisbon day trips that focus entirely on food.
The district of Setúbal is only 30 miles from Lisbon, and on our Food & Wine: A Taste of Portugal tour you and your taste buds can take advantage of that proximity. Setúbal is known for scenic natural landscapes and some of the best seafood and dessert wines. You’ll visit a local winery to see how Moscatel de Setúbal—a rich, fortified wine—is made and, of course, sample a glass or two.
Your day trip to Setúbal will have its cultural moment, too: You’ll get to see Portugal’s famous hand-painted tiles while visiting an azulejo factory. When the day is done, you’ll see why Setúbal is one of the best places near Lisbon.
Marvel at the beauty of Costa da Caparica and Arrábida Natural Park
If you’re eager to see pristine beaches, there are plenty that are easy to add to Lisbon trips.
Both Costa da Caparica and Costa da Arrábida capture the easy-going vibe, as well as the natural beauty of the Algarve. The best part? They’re not very far from Lisbon. Our A Week in Portugal: Porto, Évora & Lisbon tour includes a free day in the capital, which would be the best time to visit Costa da Caparica’s 16 miles of gorgeous coastline (the longest contiguous beach in the country). That beach is just a 30-minute drive away—an easy day trip from Lisbon.
Arrábida Natural Park is a bit farther away (you might need 45 minutes to get there), but it’s still one of the more doable Lisbon day trips. And it’s worth it: There are white-sand beaches and lush hiking trails to explore. You can also visit the historic town of Sesimbra, which is just at the foot of Serra da Arrábida. No matter your interests, there’s plenty to do, making Arrábida one of the best day trips from Lisbon.