Coastal Day Trip From Lisbon: Castles, Beaches, Wine and Art

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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.

The view from Castelo de Palmela - Photo by Hideaway Report editor
Castelo de Palmela - Photo by Hideaway Report editor

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.

The Tide Mill of Moorish
The Tide Mill of Moorish - Photo by Hideaway Report editor

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).

Dining room of Casa Palmela - Photo by Hideaway Report editor
Lobster carpaccio with purple cabbage at the Casa Palmela restaurant - Photo by Hideaway Report editor
An individual Maria cookie cake, Casa Palmela - Photo by Hideaway Report editor

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).

The coast along the Arrábida Natural Park - Photo by Hideaway Report editor
Arrab Convent in Arrábida Natural Park - Photo by Hideaway Report editor

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.

The tiles painting room at the São Simão-Arte Azulejos Factory - Photo by Hideaway Report editor
Tiles being hand painted at the São Simão-Arte Azulejos Factory - Photo by Hideaway Report editor

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.

The exterior grounds of Quinta da Bacalhôa winery - Photo by Hideaway Report editor
Art exhibitions at the Quinta da Bacalhôa winery - Photo by Hideaway Report editor
The tasting and aging room at Quinta da Bacalhôa - Photo by Hideaway Report editor
Tasting room at Quinta da Bacalhôa - Photo by Hideaway Report editor
By Hideaway Report Editor Hideaway Report editors travel the world anonymously to give you the unvarnished truth about luxury hotels. Hotels have no idea who the editors are, so they are treated exactly as you might be.
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