Day trips: Sintra, Cascais, Alcochete..., Lisbon
With its two unusual chimneys that constitude the ex-libris of the region, it is the most important building constructed for the Royal Court, in Portugal.
Apart from historical significance, nowadays this Palace is the setting for many concerts of classical music, official receptions and historical pageants.
If you only make one daytrip from Lisbon, then I'd recommend Sintra. For only 2.50 Euros, you can take a train from Rossio Station and be in Sintra in under an hour.
Sintra is the home of some gorgeous palaces and many national treasures. Be sure to visit the Moorish Castle that is seen in this picture for spectacular views over the city. You'll also want to stroll around the quiet lanes and be sure to try the travesseiro, a great almond pastry that is specific to Sintra.
See my Sintra page for more information.
Cabo de Rocha is the most western point in Europe (remember UK is not part of Europe...haha) You can see for miles and miles from this point as the next stop west is America. This is a nice place to visit on Sunday as every motorcycle in Portugal is here showing off their bikes. Be careful when driving here on Sunday as some of the bikers are showing off on the winding roads up here. The shop here is very expensive so do not shop here and you can find the same stuff in town.
take the train to Cascais. It's a beach town about a twenty minute train ride just outside of Lisbon. It's beautiful, warm and very wealthy. My friend and I were craving a good margarita when we were there and found a little beach shack restaurant that served margaritas and nachos which we in turn ordered about three rounds of both. Run by a British man. Cascais has a quite large British population.
If you take the ferry to Cacilhas on the south side of the Tejo, you can then get a bus to Costa da Caparica - a long, white, sandy beach. The day I went it seemed the whole of Lisbon was there. The beach is a beauty, but the water is pretty chilly. It's a great place to experience a bit of the local scene - i.e. to see where and how the locals of Lisbon hang out in their spare time.
At the south of Lisbon there are many beautiful beaches. Tourist generally forget them... There are nice lagguns like Albufeira one, and an extroardinary coast full of sandy beach. If you explore well the region you might get a candy finding a beach all for yourself. At Meco there is the most known nudism portuguese beach. Avoid take this trip on weekends when all the habitants of Lisbon decide to do the same, have pacience with the access and with some awful houses you may seen around cause you'll be rewarded... Some of this areas are integrated in a natural park
Opposite to the Tróia peninsula (18 km of beaches and golf courses) lies the city of the Sado river (an important natural reserve). Places of interest: museum, churches of Jesus and São João (Manueline), São Domingos, Boa Hora, Santa Maria da Graça and São Julião. The castle includes a pousada, overlooking Setúbal.
If you have some time left, you have to visit Cascais and Estoril, two small towns between Lisbon and the westcoast of Portugal. Those places at the coastline are also known as the Portuguese Riviera. In the citycentre, there are a lot of casinos, playgrounds and sport facilities.
Take the train to another nice place called Sintra. It will cost you about 1 hour by train, and the fares are low. Around Sintra you can find a lot of beautiful sceneries, forests and wildlife. You will find some ancient buildings as well, like the Palacio Nacional and the Pena Castle.
This isn't entirely off the beaten path, but I would strongly suggest visiting Sintra, an hour's train ride outside of Lisbon.
It is tiny and far more charming, IMHO.
Tourists know about it, but not that many and it's definately kept its charm.
Very romantic spot too.
Exploring the small streets of Sintra was part of the fun visiting this lovely town. Around every corner you find something new
Winding over two ridges of the Serra de Sintra, the Moorish Castle dates back to the early days of the Moorish occupation of the Peninsula - the 8th century.
Mafra is a small village 30 kms North of Lisbon. It has a big palace and a huge park. More information: www.ippar.pt (in english version too),www.mafranet.com/convento.htm,
Pleasant circuit by ferries and buses.
1 Ferry to Montijo
2 Bus to Setubal
3 Bus to Sesimbra
4 Local bus to fishing port (return)
5 Bus to Cacilhas
6 Ferry to Lisbon
Photo of Sesimbra.