Are you looking for the best day trips from Lisbon? Well, my friend, you’ve come to the right place. Now don’t get me wrong, the city of Lisbon is absolutely lovely, and makes for a great long weekend trip. However, if you have some extra time, definitely check out these day trips!
If you love gorgeous green water, stunning scenery, and some unique history, look no further than Berlengas. I met up with Around Lisbon (and our awesome guide for the day), and our small group headed up to Peniche and caught the ferry over to the island of Berlengas. Be warned that the ocean on the ferry ride over can get pretty rough, but fortunately it just put me to sleep…turns out the ferry is an excellent spot for a nap.
Upon arrival, I took approximately 10000000 photos because yes, it’s just that gorgeous. Take a ride in a glass-bottom boat and get up close and personal with the caves. Next up, head over to the Fort. The fort used to be a luxury guesthouse, but is now run by the Friends of Berlengas and is a hostel. Yes, you can sleep in an ocean-front fort. The hostel is relatively bare-bones, but it books up quickly, so make sure to book ahead! It’s also only open May through September, since being on a large rock in the middle of winter sounds pretty unappealing.
After exploring the Fort, take a swim in the water, and get ready to hike over to the other side of the island. During peak season, a restaurant will be open, but I was there on literally the last day of September, so nothing was open…in hindsight, this worked out really well because the island was basically deserted and I could enjoy the natural beauty without thousands of my closest friends.
Another of the best day trips from Lisbon is definitely Obidos. This turned out to be one of the most picturesque little towns I’ve ever seen. At some points, I kind of felt like I was in Greece.
When you’re in Obidos, climb the walls of the town, take wayyyy too many pictures of the houses, and go shopping on Rua Direita. Trust me when I say you won’t need to ask for directions…it’s a very small little town. Make sure to try out Ginja (cherry liquor served in little chocolate cups); it’s one of the drinks Obidos is best known for. I tried it, and am still unsure how I feel…the liquor was strong for 11:00AM, but you can never go wrong with chocolate.
Obidos is a go-slow kind of village, so enjoy a quiet lunch while people watching. To get to Obidos from Lisbon, hop on the “Rapida Verde” (Green Express) bus. It leaves from the Campo Grande station in Lisbon, and only takes an hour!
Next up is the beach town of Cascais, which has a great laid-back vibe. The downtown area is great to explore, but make sure to set aside plenty of time for the beach. Check out the (extremely photogenic) lighthouse, and rent a bike to explore some of the outlying areas. Cascais is the perfect escape from Lisbon on a steamy summer day! Even when I went at the beginning of September, Lisbon hit 93 degrees, and believe me, it was hot. To get to Cascais, you can take the regional Comboios do Portugal (CP) train; first buy a reusable Viva Viagem card (€ 0.50 for the card) and load it with two one way tickets. As a side note, all of the machines have an English button, so push that. (I didn’t notice the first time, which made everything much more difficult.)
Another option, which I 100% recommend, is to take a tour with Pictours Portugal. I had a one-on-one tour with Fernando, and he not only gave me some awesome photo tips, but took me to some stunning spots tourists don’t usually get to see. We had the luxury of a car, so we could drive from town to town without having to rely on public transportation. I also loved some of the views he showed me that I never would have seen if I tried to navigate on my own. In the course of a day, we explore Cascais, Sintra, Cabo da Rocsa, Azenhas do Mar, Praia Grande, and Praia de Meces. Honestly, each of these could be a day trip on their own, so keep on reading for ideas of what to do in the following spots!
Sintra is a town of palaces set in the picturesque covered hills of Portugal. Make sure to visit Sintra Village (it’s adorable), Monserrate Palace, Pena Palace, and the Moorish Castle. Fun fact: Madonna owns a house (more of a mansion/estate) in Sintra, so keep an eye out for it! We drove past it on our way through the hills, but sadly couldn’t see any of it from the road. To get to Sintra, you can take the regional Comboios do Portugal (CP) train; first buy a reusable Viva Viagem card (€ 0.50 for the card) and load it with two one way tickets. If I were going to go back, I’d definitely plan to stay in Sintra for at least a night or two…there are so many beautiful places to see there. Check out hotel options here!
Cabo Da Roca
If you’re in Lisbon, Cabo da Roca is a must-see. It’s the most western spot in mainland Europe and is absolutely beautiful. My visit happened to be on an extraordinarily windy and foggy day, but the cliffs were beautiful nonetheless. I’d definitely recommend packing layers (maybe a parka…only kind of kidding) because it does get significantly colder than Lisbon.
Azenhas do Mar
You can find Azenhas do Mar on a cliff only 30 kilometers from Lisbon. It’s definitely one of the top day trips from Lisbon and is known for its beautiful scenery. If it’s not too cold, take a dip in the ocean, or simply sunbathe on the beach. Or do as I did with Pictours Portugal and go hunt out the best view of the town…this shot was my fave!
Belem is probably the easiest day trip you can choose. Hop on the 15 tram or 728 bus from Lisbon to Belem. Must-do activities in Belem are visiting the beautiful Torre de Belem, snacking on a Pastéis de Nata, and taking in the extravagance of the Mosteiro dos Jeronimos. Fun little story about the monastery: I must have been half asleep when I entered the place, because after an hour or so of exploring, I could not find the exit for the life of me. I think I walked around for easily another 30 minutes just looking for the exit. Not sure if I was just having a blonde day or what, but if this happens to you, now you’ll know it wasn’t just you! As a helpful hint, the exit is right next to the bathrooms, and there are plenty of signs for them!
In any case, Belem is a delightful little town to explore for a half day or full day, and with frequent trams and buses, it is extremely easy to get to from Lisbon. Another option is to take a guided tour of Belem, where you could learn a bit more about the history of the city and Portugal. If you choose, you can even escape the hustle & bustle of Lisbon for a few nights, and take advantage of the beautiful Belem hotels.
Additional Day Trips from Lisbon:
While I was cruising around the Portuguese coast, I visited some other beach towns that looked like they’d make excellent day trips from Lisbon. If you have the time, make sure to check out Estoril, Praia Grande, and Praia de Meces. You can find beautiful Portuguese beaches and are a great escape when Lisbon is stifling in the summer!
Other suggestions locals mentioned for the best day trips from Lisbon are as follows:
- Arrábida: go snorkeling in the crystal clear blue waters and discover the remarkable landscape of this place. Arrábida is breathtaking and recognized as a UNESCO World Heritage site.
- Fátima: visit this global center of Catholic pilgrimage, and enjoy some of Portugal’s most popular religious marvels.
- Evora: this city is a UNESCO World Heritage site, and you can see why when you visit its monumental churches, historic squares, and narrow medieval streets. Plus, this tour offers wine tasting after, and everything is always better with wine!
Once you finish up with the lovely city of Lisbon, make sure you head up to Porto, Portugal! I absolutely loved my time there and have some wonderful suggestions for you (hint: it includes delicious food, wine, and adventure!)
Flights to Lisbon: I’d recommend checking out Momondo. They scan tons of different travel discount sites and let you filter by cheapest, best, and shortest.
Where to stay in Lisbon: I personally opted to stay at Yes! Hostel Lisbon, and I LOVED it! It possibly tops my list for favorite hostel ever. Not only does it have a fantastic location near Lisbon’s main sights, but it’s incredibly clean and has such a social, fun atmosphere. Every night, there was a family dinner (€10 for dinner and unlimited sangria/wine/beer.) Turns out this is an excellent way to make friends!
If you’re traveling with family or friends, definitely look into an Airbnb. (Use my link for savings on your first stay!) One awesome option for a hotel is Hotel Avenida Palace, which is a beautiful old hotel building in the middle of Lisbon. Another top rated hotel in Lisbon is Residentas Apóstolos, spacious and luxurious apartments in the Chiado neighborhood of Lisbon. You get a fully equipped kitchen, and Barrio Alto (aka the fun nightlife spot in Lisbon) is only a 3 minute walk!
And there you have it, my suggestions for the best day trips from Lisbon! What are some of your favorite day trips from Lisbon?
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