Setúbal: The City of Commerce and Tourism
"Introduction to Setúbal"
Setúbal is a city located south of Lisbon, at the southern tip of a part of the Lisbon metropolitan region called Outra Banda (Outer Band). It is also the third largest port in Portugal after Lisbon and Porto, thanks to its ideal location on a wide bay of the Setúbal Peninsula which helps the ocean not to create strong waves.
However, this is not a normal commercial city with a big port like many people would guess. Dotted with numerous azulejo-walled houses and squares, as well as parks and the boardwalk along the port, Setúbal is the city of both commerce and tourism. Also, thanks to its proximity to the nation's capital, it is a great day-trip destination. Well-served by highways and trains, Setúbal attracts a number of visitors by day and night who come here either to just enjoy the city itself or to take a ferry to the resort on the other side of the port, Tróia.
"How to Get There"
There are various ways to go to Setúbal from Lisbon.
- Follow Avenida da Ponte and cross Ponte 25 de Abril. Keep following A2 (Algarve/Espanha/Setúbal), until you get to the A2/A12 junction. Change your direction to A12 southward, which ends in Setúbal.
- Cross Ponte de Vasco da Gama, the second-longest bridge in Europe. Keep following the highway you are on, A12, which ends in Setúbal.
- There are frequent buses from Praça de Espanha in Lisbon, operated by TST. The bus terminal is served by the metro Linha Azul, which connects between Baixa-Chiado and Amadora Este. It is one stop away from Sete Rios, where the city's main bus terminal is located.
- The privitely operated Fertagus connects Lisbon with Setúbal everyday. On weekdays, there are services to Setúbal every 30 minutes, while the trains go until Setúbal hourly on weekends. The Fertagus stations in Lisbon are Campolide, Sete Rios, Entrecampos, and Rome/Areeiro.
- If you want to go to Setúbal in a different route, there is a way. From the Sul e Suleste ferry terminal off Praça do Comercio, take a high-speed boat to Barreiro, where you can catch the suburban train Linha do Sado in front of the port. Take this train, and get off at Setúbal or Praça do Quebedo, which is closer to the city's central area.
"Not to Be Missed"
Setúbal is not a city that has museums or monuments you have to visit for historical importances. Instead, this is a city where you can take a stroll along its parks and squares, including the central Praça do Bocage, where the city hall is located.
While in Setúbal, make sure you do the following:
- Visit the Castelo do São Filipe, currently converted to the pousada, where you can overlook the entire city, the port, as well as the Tróia Peninsula. On sunny days, this castle offers a stunning view. The road to the castle is a steep uphill, so be prepared for it!
- Take your time walking around Praça do Bocage, where the city hall is located. Roads on the edge of this square are all pedestrianized, and there are a number of outdoor cafes where you can enjoy cool breeze coming from the Atlantic Ocean. It is a great spot for some cool pictures.
- Walk along the boardwalk on the Atlantic Ocean, where you will also pass Praça da República and Jardim Engº Luís da Fonseca. It is a great attraction by itself, because there is a fantastic view of the ocean and the land on the other sides, and sometimes you can see local people fishing here!
Besides these three, you can also take a breat at Parque to Bonfim, a large garden in front of the soccer stadium, or see the Convento de Jesus, the very first structure built in the Manueline style, which is now more like a ruin in a modernized area of the city. In addition, the train ride from Lisbon itself is enjoyable, seeing all the scenery changes on the way.