For residents of Lisbon, the Setúbal Peninsula is a favorite quick escape from the city. It has several notable wineries, but most Lisboetas come for the beaches backdropped by dramatic green mountains. We spent two days exploring the peninsula, but you could squeeze the highlights into one memorable day trip.
Start with a visit to the medieval Castelo de Palmela, which affords panoramic views of the surrounding countryside (the castle’s interior is not especially interesting). Don’t miss the terrace below the pousada, which presents another lovely vista.
It’s a short drive from there to the Tide Mill of Moorish — which has no Moorish connection whatsoever. The mill’s wetland location, in the Sado Estuary, is extremely picturesque, but a restoration of the interior was overly aggressive.
For lunch, opt for one of the casual seafood restaurants along the Port of Setúbal, where you can point to the fish you want prepared, or dine in the restaurant of Hotel Casa Palmela, ideally on the patio overlooking vineyards and cork groves (reserve ahead).
Continue along the coast of the Arrábida Natural Park. Stop at the wide Figueirinha Beach, and farther down the coast, ascend the bluff for a spectacular overlook of the Convento de Nossa Senhora da Arrábida (tours of the interior are by appointment only on Wednesdays, Saturdays and Sundays).
Return inland, and if azulejos are even remotely of interest, stop at the São Simão-Arte Azulejos Decorativos factory, where tiles are still made and decorated entirely by hand.
If time permits, visit one of the excellent Setúbal wineries for a tour and tasting. If you choose only one, make it the Quinta da Bacalhôa, which has a palace displaying artworks from the impressive Berardo Collection in addition to a winery producing dry and fortified wines. From the winery, it’s about 50 minutes back to Lisbon.