Day trips: Sintra, Cascais, Alcochete..., Lisbon

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  • Moorish Castle
    Moorish Castle
    by Joumaky
  • National Palace
    National Palace
    by Joumaky
  • Day trips: Sintra, Cascais, Alcochete...
    by anaanes
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    Estoril

    by solopes Updated Mar 1, 2015

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    Mandatory for anyone spending more than two days in Lisbon, a trip along the coast until Cascais allows you to see some beautiful beaches lined with classical palaces and modern villas. Estoril joins the best of the several beaches with the Casino that now has got some competition in Lisbon but keeps being a highlight in Lisbon's coast.

    It's also commonly planned a trip to Sintra and/or Ericeira starting or ending in Estoril's coast. In my opinion, "ending" will be the best solution, because most of night animation may be found in this area.

    Estoril - Portugal
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    Cascais

    by Joumaky Updated Oct 19, 2014

    Cascais is a charming fishing port about 30 min away from Lisbon by train. It has beaches, grand homes and a selection of interesting free museums.
    To go to Cascais take a train from Cais do Sodre train station. The train's last stop ends in the centre of Cascais.

    There are many beaches in Cascais but the closest one to the train is "Praia da Rainha" and that's the one I went to. Praia da Rainha is beach is relatively small but very easy to get to. Located right in the heart of Cascais and a two minute walk from the train station, it is very family-friendly with calm waters and soft sand. This beach however does not have shower facilities.
    You can find information on the other beaches at this link: http://www.cascais.net/guide/do/leisure/beaches

    Other than the beaches, Cascais has a charming city center and the main shopping street is Rua Direita that leads to two squares with many restaurants and shops.

    There also a bunch of museums, stately homes and promenades along the coastline. Most interesting natural formation on the Cascais coastline is the Boca do Inferno (Hell's mouth) a chasm that was formed by a collapsed cave and is battered by strong Atlantic waves.
    You can find information on all this at the Tourist office located at Rua Visconde da Luz north of the central square in the city center.

    Plenty of Restaurants to pick from but if you'e in Cascais make sure to eat fish and seafood.
    "Dom Pedro I " is great choice for grilled fish.

    Cascais like any old city is made of many winding alleyways and it's very easy to lose your way if you don't pay attention. I used Hotel Baia as my center point and it was easy to get back on track.

    Don't miss going to Cascais, it's a lovely town and worth spending time in it. Depending on how much you want to do and see you can go for a whole day or half a day. I went for half a day, left Lisbon at 12pm and coming back I left Cascais at 7 pm. This allowed me a couple of hours on the beach, a walk around on the promenade along the coastline and dinner.

    Praia Rainha
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    Sintra - Moorish Castle

    by Joumaky Updated Oct 8, 2014

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    About a thousand year old and in ruins; the Moorish Castle is situated atop a hill and is part of Sintra's UNESCO Cultural Landscape, World Heritage since 1995.
    Built by the Moors then fell to the Christian conquest of Portugal. The ruins you see today have been restored in the 19th century by King Ferdinand II.

    To visit the Palace take bus # 434 from the village or take a 15 mins walk down from Pena Palace.
    Once in the Moorish palace go to the outer wall and climb along the steps carved out of the rock until you reach the top of one of the towers where you get a fabulous panoramic view over Sintra.
    This is a good place to have a picnic if you reach it by lunch time, trust me it beats eating at any restaurant in the village!

    Once you're done with the outer wall don't miss visiting the underground cistern . The cistern was essential for survival during prolonged siege.

    This castle is comprised of walls, rock steps and windy panoramic views and is absolutely worth the visit. I personally found it more interesting than the Pena Palace so don't miss it.

    Ticket price is 7,50euros

    Moorish Castle Brochure
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    Day Trip To Sintra

    by Joumaky Written Sep 25, 2014

    If you find yourself in Lisbon do not miss a trip to Sintra. Getting there is so easy and touring the village and palaces has been made convenient and easy. It’s the biggest tourist attraction near Lisbon after all!
    My advice is to take a picnic instead of eating at one of the restaurants in Sintra because it will not fit properly with your touring schedule.

    Getting there:
    • Take the Train to Sintra from Rossio Station (45 min trip)
    • Sintra is the final stop on the line - It’s not a complicated trip.
    • Once in Sintra train station go to the Tourist Information if you would like some information or to pick up a free map.

    Touring Sintra:
    You can walk to all the attraction if you’re in superb shape (AKA superhero) or if you’re like the rest of us mortals you should take the bus:
    • From the train station take Sintra Bus 434. Buy the ticket from driver: A single loop ticket of the 434 bus service costs €5.00. Bus travels in one direction loop, which starts at the train station, passes through the town centre, then climbs the hills to the Moorish Castle then Pena Palace then goes back down to the town center and finally returns to the train station.
    • Catch bus #434 up to the Pena Palace entrance. Do not be tempted to get off at the Moorish Castle (stop before Pena)
    • Once at the Pena Palace Entrance buy your ticket from the ticket booth. If you are planning on visiting the Moorish castle too buy a combined ticket as it’s cheaper (18 €)). Another thing to consider is if you will walk up to the palace from the entrance or use the little green bus which costs another 3 €. If you’re in good shape the walk up is doable. I was going to walk but had to take the bus because it was raining. To be honest I’m glad I did as it saved me some energy to climb up the Moorish Castle later.
    • When you're done with the Pena Palace walk downhill to the Moorish castle through the gardens. Tour the Castle ruins and climb up to one of the towers. Find a good spot to sit and enjoy your picnic at the highest point with a fantastic view.
    • After touring the Moorish castle catch the bus back to the village and visit the National Palace. Then walk around the village.
    • Go to Piriquita and buy a “Travesseiro” and a “Queijadinha”. You deserve it! These two are the specialties of Sintra.
    • If you’re done you can take the bus back to the station or better yet if you still have energy walk back to the station as it provides some good photo shots of the palaces on top of the hill.

    Sintra Village National Palace
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    Carcavelos

    by anaanes Written Apr 21, 2013

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    Spend a day on the beach in Carcavelos or just have a great lunch/dinner in one of the beach restaurants.
    It's also a good option to take some Surf / bodyboard lessons. There's plenty of Surf Schools on the beach. I recomend Angel's Surf School (contacts below).

    It's very easy to get to Carcavelos, just pick the train in Cais do Sodré.

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    Capuchos Convent

    by anaanes Written Mar 20, 2013

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    Officially named Mosteiro de Santa Cruz da Serra da Sintra, Capuchos Convent is a historical convent from the 16th century it embodies the ideal of fraternity and universal brotherhood inherent in the values of the Franciscan monks who lived there.
    Once there you can image how life was there. It's a very green an unique spot.

    How to get there: Pick the train to Sintra at the Rossio train station.

    About Sintra: Sintra is a fairytale village: very beautiful with its own legends and small details.
    There's a lot of beautiful palaces to see there like Pena Palace, Monserrate Palace, Moorish Castle, Capuchos Convent, Regaleira Estate, Royal Palace, etc.

    Capuchos Convent, Sintra, Lisboa, Portugal Capuchos Convent, Sintra, Lisboa, Portugal Capuchos Convent, Sintra, Lisboa, Portugal Capuchos Convent, Sintra, Lisboa, Portugal Capuchos Convent, Sintra, Lisboa, Portugal
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    Pena Palace

    by anaanes Updated Mar 20, 2013

    Pena Palace was the first romantic palace built in Europe. Is a very colorfull palace with an amazing sightseing and a big garden witch hides lots os details (bridges, pergolas, fountains, etc)!
    On 7th July 2007 it was selectd as one of the seven wonders of Portugal. You can't miss it!

    How to get there: Pick the train to Sintra in the Rossio Station

    My suggestion of day trip:
    Pick the train to Sintra in ther middle of the morning. Geting there go have your lunch on Apeadeiro (restaurant near the train station).
    After lunch go to the village center and to Piriquita (local business) to buy a Travesseiro and a Queijadinha (and a bottle of water! this treats are really sweet!).
    Sit down in the stair of Sintra Palace and enjoy your dessert!
    In the village center look for the bus to Chalet condessa d'Edla, nuy your tickets and start visiting the chalet, then go to Pena Palace ant at last to Moorish Castle.
    In an afternoon you can see the 3 places becaise they're near each other.
    At the end of the day go back to Lisbon an relax a while in your hotel room.
    The go to the downtown to dinner and enjoy the sightseeing on Lost In restaurant bar.

    About Sintra: Sintra is a fairytale village: very beautiful with its own legends and small details.
    There's a lot of beautiful palaces to see there like Pena Palace, Monserrate Palace, Moorish Castle, Capuchos Convent, Regaleira Estate, Royal Palace, etc.

    Pena Palace, Sintra, Lisboa, Portugal Pena Palace, Sintra, Lisboa, Portugal Pena Palace, Sintra, Lisboa, Portugal Pena Palace, Sintra, Lisboa, Portugal Pena Palace, Sintra, Lisboa, Portugal
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    Regaleira Estate

    by anaanes Updated Mar 20, 2013

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    Is the most amazing garden I ever seen!
    I don't know why the turism in Portugal keep skiping it from the tourist guides. This place is an UNESCO World Heritage!
    This garden has a lot of details like benches, fountains, caves and an enigmatic system of tunnels. Their symbolism has been interpreted like a espiritual path between light and darkness.
    There's a lot of mythologic representations here, specially to the mythologic Greek God Pan.

    How to get there: Pick the train to Sintra in the Rossio Station

    My suggestion of a day trip:
    Get there by the morning an visit Sintra Palace. Then have lunch on Apeadeiro Reataurant but don't ask for desset. Go back to the village center and go to Piriquita buy a Travesseiro and a Queijadinha (and a bottle of water! this treats are really sweet!).
    Sit down in the stair of Sintra Palace and enjoy your dessert!
    Take the walk to Regaleira Estate, and spend there the afternoon.
    Take the train back to Lisbon and relax a litle in you hotel room.
    Go have dinner on Terreiro do Paço and then walk to Cais do Sodré and visit Pensão Amor.

    About Sintra: Sintra is a fairytale village: very beautiful with its own legends and small details.
    There's a lot of beautiful palaces to see there like Pena Palace, Monserrate Palace, Moorish Castle, Capuchos Convent, Regaleira Estate, Royal Palace, etc.

    Regaleira Estate - Initiation Well Regaleira Estate - Initiation Well Regaleira Estate - Detail Regaleira Estate - House Regaleira Estate - Sightseing
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    Daytrip: Sintra

    by Ines_ Written Jan 31, 2013

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    Sintra is Portugal’s fairytale place. It is beautiful, has lots of legends, it’s the perfect place for romance and has some of the most amazing constructions of the country. Sintra is a small village close to Lisbon that you can reach by train in 40 minutes.

    The reason why Sintra is most famous for is Palácio da Pena, but there are other places you should definitely visit: Monserrate, Capucho’s Convent, Regaleira’s Farm, Castelo dos Mouros and the village itself. Don’t forget to try Sitra’s traditional sweets!

    There is still a great part of unspoiled nature in Sintra and places with amazing views that you can discover by yourself if you go by car.

    My Sintra Page
    Sinta's Parks

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    Daytrip: Cascais

    by Ines_ Written Jan 31, 2013

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    Cascais is a village close to Lisbon with much to offer to its visitors. Lying close to the Atlantic Ocean there are plenty of beaches to enjoy and also museums, restaurants, gardens and natural landscapes to enjoy.

    The most well-known museum is Paula Rego’s House of Stories, one of our most famous painters. Even if you don’t like painting the museum from the outside is still worth a look.
    I think the best thing to do in Cascais is just walk around, see the village, walk in the beaches and the marine and visit the forth where inside you’ll find a small town, recently renewed with nice stores.

    Not so close from the center you have Boca do Inferno (Hell’s mouth) a rocky place to appreciate the sea and a beautiful sunsets. At last, and I think this beach is just for people who have car, Guincho’s beach: one of the most beautiful beaches in Portugal and very well known specially for sports. It is specially good in low season.

    To get to Cascais from Lisbon catch a train from Cais do Sodré. It's 30/40 minuts and the prices are inexpensive.

    Cidadela Guincho Beach

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    Sintra and Palácio da Pena

    by AlPhilip Updated Apr 4, 2011

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    If you ever come to Lisbon you must go to Sintra. It's an amazing place, far from all the city problems, where you can relax in its marvelous nature, stroll around the beautiful and historic city center, or visit Palacio da Pena.

    Palacio da Pena is the most complete and notable example of Portuguese architecture in the Romantic period. It stands on one of the rocky peaks of the Serra de Sintra, and blends in a surprisingly fortunate manner with its natural background of greenery and crags, testifying to the aesthetic potentialities of the project.

    The Palace dates back to 1839, when the King Consort Dom Fernando II bought the ruins of the Hieronymite Monastery of Nossa Senhora da Pena and started to adapt it for use as a residence, according to his Romantic taste. It has astonishing views of the nearby city of Cascais.

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    Sintra

    by Willettsworld Written Dec 8, 2010

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    Sintra lies about 30km (18 miles) from the centre of Lisbon and is many Royal Palaces, used by generations of Portuguese royalty prior to the 1910 revolution. The surrounding hills are surmounted by the remains of a Moorish Castle and by the nineteenth-century Pena Palace, all of which have made it a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

    Its history dates back to at least the 8th or 9th century when the Moors built the Castelo dos Mouros (or simply, Moorish Castle) which overlooks down on the town and surrounding countryside. King Afonso Henriques recaptured the town in 1147 and promoted the development of the region by granting a foral (letter of feudal rights) to the inhabitants of Sintra and its castle in 1154. The decline of the castle began in the 15th century, when most of the population settled downhill, in today's old quarter of Sintra. It was around this time that the Sintra National Palace, said to be the best preserved medieval Royal Palace in Portugal, was built in the centre of the old town, making it the highlight tourist attraction in Sintra town itself. The mixture of Gothic, Manueline and Moorish styles in the present palace is, however, mainly the result of building campaigns in the 15th and early 16th centuries. More palaces were built in the surrounding hills which add to Sintra's rather touristy feel.

    The best way to get to Sintra is by taking the train from Lisbon's Rossio station. This is how I got here and tickets only cost €4 return plus trains leave every 10 minutes or so and take about 40 minutes. Once here, the best way of getting around all the sites, which are fairly spread out from one another, is to take the circular 434 bus. Tickets are only €4.60 for the whole day and can be purchased from the bus driver. If you choose to walk be warned that the trek to the Pena Palace and the Castelo dos Mouros can be a daunting, steep up-hill, one-hour climb from the city centre.

    Sintra as viewed from the Moorish Castle Pena National Palace Moorish Castle Town Hall Cobbled streets
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    A day in Cascais

    by toonsarah Updated Jun 23, 2009

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    If you fancy a change from the busy streets and noise of the city, why not take a day trip to Cascais? Only just over 30 minutes away by train, this little town has plenty to offer. There is an appealing blend of authentic local life and tourist-focused facilities. Fishing boats bob in the harbour just offshore from the town beach, locals shop or chat in doorways in the winding back lanes just a stone’s throw from the busy restaurants in Luís de Camões Square, traditional houses decorated with azulejos panels sit almost side by side with fashionable shops.

    Spend your day strolling those same back lanes, following the path beside the sea to the rocky scenery of the Boca do Inferno, eating ice cream at the historic Santini gelataria or freshly caught fish and seafood in the open-air restaurants, browsing the shops or simply relaxing on the beach or in a friendly bar. There are no major sights, apart from the afore-mentioned Boca do Inferno and a citadel currently (May 2009) being restored to be opened up to the public, so there is no pressure to pack a lot into your day. And even the train ride itself is a delight, especially if you sit on the left hand side (on the outward journey) to make the most of the sea views.

    There is much more information about Cascais on my separate page about the town.

    Directions Trains run regularly from Cais do Sodre station, a few minutes' walk west of the Praça do Comércio, and the journey time averages 35 minutes

    A back street in Cascais Church in Cascais Cascais harbour Cascais Town Hall

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    A day in Sintra

    by toonsarah Written Jun 12, 2009

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    In contrast to Cascais, Sintra is packed with sights, and in a day you can only sample a few of them, especially if it as hot when you visit as it was when we were there. But I gather such temperatures are rare, and a trip to the hills of Sintra could be a great way to escape the city heat. My one day there has certainly given me a strong liking for the town and I would love to return to see more of its delights.

    Sintra is home to no fewer than three national palaces: the Palácio da Vila, or Palácio Real (Royal Palace), the Palácio da Pena and the Palácio de Queluz. There are also two other palaces of note, the Monserrate Palace and Quinta da Regaleira, as well as a Moorish castle perched on top of a hill. The town itself, though rather touristy, has plenty of charm, as well as all the facilities you need for a day trip or longer stay.

    The town has been the favoured home of royalty and nobility since the 13th century, although its history goes back even further to the founding of the Moorish castle several hundred years before that. It flourished especially during the 14th to 16th centuries, when the Royal Palace was several times expanded and elaborated upon, and was then rediscovered by the Romantics, including Lord Byron, in the early 19th century and given a new lease of life. It is not difficult to see why it appealed to them, as this mix of somewhat wild countryside and romantic architecture matched their ideals of beauty perfectly. Their enthusiastic admiration of its virtues led to further, sympathetic, development including the forestation of the Serra de Sintra and the construction of sumptuous revivalist buildings such as the Palácio da Pena.

    Today’s Sintra continues this tradition of romance, and if this sort of landscape appeals to you I can really recommend a visit to the gardens of the Quinta da Regaleira in particular. There is more about this, and my all too brief visit to Sintra, on my separate page (to follow) about the town.

    Directions Catch a train from Rossio Station in the heart of Lisbon. The journey takes about 30 minutes, and Sintra’s station is only a short walk from the centre. Once there you’ll need taxis, or horse-drawn carriages, to get to some of the further-flung sights.

    View of Sintra House in Sintra Sintra's castle Royal Palace, Sintra Quinta da Regaleira, Sintra
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    Natural Park of Arrabida

    by J_Antunes Updated Dec 6, 2008

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    Although terribly spoiled by a nearby cement factory and some quarries it is still a must. It is composed by a big and lusty mountain, covered with primitive vegetation, woods and lovely beaches. The park itself has almos 11.000 acres and the highest point has 380 meters.

    Its biggest architecture highlight is probably the Arrábida Convent wrapped up in a pious legend. It began in 1215, when the english merchant Haidebrant brought in his ship an image of Our Lady with Jesus infant, carved in stone and retired from the chapel of a Benidictine Convent. The image disappeared during a storm in portuguese waters and with Lisbon at sight. However, the ship succeded in turning the Espichel Cape, and arriving finally to Alpertuche, were the sea was peaceful. The sailor, resting from the storm, sighted an intense light in the top of the Arrabida Mountain, which he climbed up amid the thicket. He soon found the miraculous image. He then sold all his possessions and ordered the construction of a chapel, where he proposed himself to live alone. Some decades past, the Duke of Aveiro, D. João de Lencastre, asked the Superior General of the Franciscan Order to send a small community of friars to live in the Arrabida retreat. The duke, visiting Guadalupe, contacted an important spanish nobleman, to whom he explained his idea. This nobleman was to come the famous Friar Martinho de Santa Maria, after having founded the Arrabida Convent. The invitation was so accepted, and the recovering of the built areas (with the Memory Chapel) was studied afterwards, together with the utilization of the surrounding grounds. The New Convent is located in the hillside, its whiteness animating the prevailing green.

    About 1.5 kilometers of the convent complex, we can see the small chapel of Bom Jesus. This temple presents a singular architecture and decoration. The reasons and the sense of this building are frequently object of varied interpretations. The octagonal form of the chapel and of the altar is one of the controversial matters. The building of the chapel was ordered by D. Álvaro de Lencastre in the 14th century, and the author of its plan was the friar Afonso da Piedade.

    There are several stone figures - today very mutilated - that flank the access to the temple yard. The chapel is topped by an arched roof, with a minaret and glassed tiles covering. The four doors that opened to the celebrations area are located in the superior floor, to where lead two flights of steps. The altar is quadrangular, of artistic design and good carving, formerly gilt, and tradition says that here have been simultaneously celebrated four masses. A great tabernacle, also with four porticos, holds within a smaller one, where there was an image of a small Jesus infant.

    The nearby town of Azeitão is also a must. It is full of nice palaces and churches, many visitable wine cellars (with the renowned moscatel wine), fountains, a museum of a local poet, the typical cheeses and wonderful local sweets. You can see more in the guide http://www.azeitao.net/azeitao/guia_AZEITAO.pdf (only in Portuguese but you can see the images).

    The beaches are wonderful, although some get to the shade of the mountain at the end of the afternoon. The most known one is Portinho da Arrabida. A ver small and nice town by the sea with small hotels and a small XVI century fortress today transformed in museum dedicated to the oceans. It is open from Thuesday to Saturday from 10h-16h and at Saturdays from 15:00-18:00.

    Arrábida waters are excellent to dive. Companies such as the diving centre of Portinho da Arrábida offer this activity (Phone 212183656 or 917503669). Sal (http://www.sal.pt/) does also many activities in the park such as hiking, boat trips, trips to see the dolphins, etc...

    In the direction of Setúbal there are some fortresses and the Pousada of São Filipe with a wonderful view over the Sado River and sea.

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