Paradise close to Lisbon
Less than an hour by car south of Lisbon, the Arrábida holds a natural park, that embraces some wonderful beaches.
Portinho da Arrábida (with some access restrictions) Galapos and Figueirinha (Fernanda's favorite) are an alternative, very hard to choose. So, go there, enjoy the magnificent sights, and... decide for yourself.
In your way there's no need to go up the mountain, but if you don't know it, make a detour and enjoy the sights.
- National/State Park
Built in the 16Th century, this convent for long used by the monks was abandoned and ruined. In the 19th century it was sold to private owners, that 60 years ago decided to recuperate it.
In 1990 it was sold to Fundação Oriente, that now manages the place.
The visits are allowed from Wednesday to Sunday, in groups and by previous reserve. I never entered, and read that the contents hardly justifies the 5€ (3€ for groups >10).
- National/State Park
- Historical Travel
Convento da Arr?bida
Half-hidden among the trees on the southern slopes of the Serra, overlooking the sea, this 16th century building was once a Franciscan monastery.
Whenever I see this monastery I don't know why but I always remember The Mists of Avalon.
One of the best details of Arrábida is the small beach of Portinho.
After the revolution irregular construction took place of the sand, spoiling the views and turning the visit a nightmare to enter, park or exit.
Demolition was ordered, and the beach turned back to its natural beauty, though, in the best summer days, the traffic may continue very congested.
Just across the river from Setubal, a tiny stripe of sand, holds a long and desert beach, only here and there punctuated by accesses and public services.
The northern tip of the peninsula is under reconstruction, with some luxurious facilities promised to the place. But, unless they stop the ferry, it will continue to be a very popular destination.
I had some very good swims there, but I must admit that I never saw so many jellyfish in other occasions.
So, enjoy but be careful.
The foundation of the Arrábida Convent is wrapped up in a pious legend. It began in 1215, when a english merchant called 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. However, the ship succeded in turning the Espichel Cape, 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. He soon found the miraculous image. Then he 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 New Convent is located in the hillside, its whiteness contrasting with the prevailing green.
Along the cliffs of the Arrabida Mountain there are a lot of beaches like the one on the picture that can't be seen from the road. So everytime there is a stair near the road... probably it goes down to a beach like this one.
Portinho da Arrabida
This is probably the best known beach in the Arrabida Mountain cliffs. Portinho da Arrabida is definately a stop for everyone visiting the area.
Portinho da Arr?bida
Sheltered cove with a beach of fine white sand and crystal clear sea, popular with underwater fishermen.
Arrábida Convent - Small Chapels
These chapels in number of six and located on top of the mountain used to serve the pilgrims and hermits of that arrived to the convent