Lisbon is the beautiful capital city of Portugal, an amazing and ancient country that has a history dating back thousands of years. The city sits right on the water within the Tagus Bay that feeds straight into the Atlantic Ocean. There are hundreds of places with historical significance, religious, historical sites, and newer places for the family to have a ton of fun. CDC information for travelers. Hours/availability may have changed.
1.Arrábida National Park
This national park is located south of Lisbon across the bay, which is about a 50-minute drive down the coast of the Atlantic. The entire park is protected land along the beach that spans several hundred square miles. The area is pristine, and visitors love to visit the park to hike, swim, go scuba diving, and to do many other outdoor activities.
The beach is full of white sand and very calm weather most of the year. Since the beach is located within a bay-like part of Portugal, there are virtually no waves, even though it is right on the Atlantic Ocean. There are bird observatories, museums, and other historical places to visit within the park.
R. 25 de Abril, Portugal
This day trip requires a drive of about 2 hours and 30 minutes to the north along the Atlantic coast. The town of Aveiro is located within a network of water channels that flow out to the Atlantic Ocean. The channels are one of the primary means of travel within the town. Boat rides are available to take you about while you visit all the places in Aveiro. Free bicycles are also available for anyone.
There are many historical places and churches, the Museum of Aveiro, mausoleums, and convents. You can find the Convent of Jesus, The Mausoleum of Princess Saint Joana, Chapel of Senhor das Barrocas, and the Misericordia Church.
Cais da Fonte Nova, 3811-904 Aveiro, Portugal
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From Lisbon, people love to drive up north about 1 hour and 45 minutes to Batalha, Portugal. The drive goes right through the western part of the Serras de Aire e Candeeiros Natural Park. The most prominent place in Batalha is a monastery that was built just after the final battle for Portugal’s independence in 1385. The gorgeous building is the Mosteiro da Batalha, located within the center of town. Tours are available of the monastery.
If you want a guided tour of all of Batalha, there are services available right in Lisbon that take you to every great place in Batalha.
Largo Infante Dom Henrique, 2440-109 Batalha, Portugal
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The vineyard is located within the Lisboa Wine Region that is roughly a 45-minute drive from Lisbon. The region sits just off the Tagus Bay and over the Tagus River, in the Serra Montejunto Hills. The Bucelas Vineyard is the most modern and has been completely renovated within the last decade.
The vineyards were first introduced by the Romans about 1,000 years ago. The climate is perfect, and tours are available. The vineyard holds many wine-tasting events and other special events throughout the year. The region is famous for making top-class red wines.
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5.Cabo da Roca
This picturesque beach town marks the most western point of Europe. There are many white-sand beaches along some of the coastline, and then it turns into jagged cliffs where the Atlantic pounds the rocks. The cliffs overlooking the ocean have some of the most incredible views in the world. There, you can find hiking and walking trails that are accessible to anyone.
The beaches and the land surrounding Cabo da Roca are very isolated. While some people live there, there are only a couple of hotels, grocery stores, coffee shops, eateries, gift shops, and a single lighthouse overlooking the docks. It’s only about a 40-minute drive from Lisbon, and there’s still plenty to do inside a day.
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This town was originally formed as a summer getaway for the nobility of Portugal. For centuries, the town has kept its grand scheme and luxurious attractions. You can travel the cobblestone streets to see enormous mansions, shop at the finest stores, eat amazing fine Portuguese cuisine, and spend time on the pristine white-sand beaches that are just meters away from the town.
Tours are available for the historical sites located within the town. A large and ancient fort overlooks the town where visitors are welcome to visit during regular hours. There are also a few museums that hold many old artifacts. Cascais is only about a 30-minute drive from Lisbon.
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This gorgeous town has a history dating back several centuries. The town sits upon a cliff overlooking the Tagus River where there are beaches and other places to view the beauty of the landscape. The hills in the mainland provide excellent hiking, walking, and biking adventures. The shops in town are unique.
The streets are paved, and the buildings are whitewashed, which makes for traditional Portuguese scenery. The major square holds events throughout the year, and the shops are always open. There are also massive gardens throughout the town that both residents and tourists love to explore. Constância is only 1 ½ hour from Lisbon.
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8.Costa da Caparica
This beautiful resort area is only about a 20-minute drive from Lisbon. It offers miles of white sand beaches, unique shopping experiences, and many square miles of pristine outdoor area for any kind of fun outdoor activity.
The docks and fish market aren’t far away, where tourists can charter a boat for ocean fishing trips. Fresh fish is available daily at the fish market. There are plenty of other eateries and restaurants within the area. The resort is also home to Meco Beach, which is a famous nude beach in Portugal for adults.
This historical destination is only about an hour and a half away from Lisbon. Portugal’s centuries of history are located with Évora and the surrounding area. Visitors can find monuments and buildings with Portugal’s famous Mediterranean/ Spanish old architecture still standing.
Évora is a city located within ancient walls from hundreds of years past, and all the wonderful historical sites, unique stores, and excellent restaurants serving authentic Portuguese cuisine are within those ancient walls. The surrounding is covered with miles of olive groves and smaller settlements that provide even more to explore during a day trip to Évora.
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This wonderful town is located north by northwest of Lisbon, and only requires an hour and 20-minute drive to go and see the grand Shrine of Our Lady of Fátima. The area is believed to be the place where a true miracle occurred, which draws Christians from all over to see the site and pray within the prayer area of the shrine.
The entire site includes many places of historical significance and an enormous temple that was built with the same world-famous Portuguese architectural art form. Within the site, the Basilica of Our Lady of the Rosary of Fátima, Monument to the Sacred Heart of Jesus, and the Chapel of Apparitions stand tall and welcome visitors to explore everything within them.
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Ilhavo is an ancient town that was originally founded by the Greeks on their trek to explore the unknown world. The town is located just south of Aveiro, located on the Vouga River. The local Sea Museum has kept centuries of history and artifacts from the area since the Greeks founded the popular fishing town.
The local church was built in 1785 and is dedicated to Saint Salvador, whom the faithful see as the Lord of Sea Navigation. An old porcelain factory still operates and offers people a place to learn about the factory, and it has shops and tours available. Of course, there are also beautiful white sand beaches for relaxation. Ilhavo is only 2 ½ hours away from Lisbon.
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This incredible work of architectural art is among the most ornate and one of the largest monasteries in the world. The front entrance is a 32-meter-high doorway that is encircled with sculptures of saints and biblical figures. The gothic type of architecture provides a lot of open space, vaulted ceilings, incredibly high spires, and ornate features on every square inch of the building.
People are welcome to visit the Monastery during regular business hours to explore the huge building for themselves. Guided tours are available upon request. There are many rooms that offer many works of art created right into the walls, floors, and ceilings. In the main hall, an amazingly ornate altar stands for people to come and pray. The Jeronimos Monastery is located in the Belem district within Lisbon.
Praça do Império 1400-206 Lisboa, Portugal, Phone: 35-12-13-62-00-34
Mafra is a smaller town located north of Lisbon about 45 minutes up the Atlantic coast. The town is fantastic on its own, but it is a significant town because it houses one of the largest palaces ever built. The Palacio de Mafra consists of an enormous monastery, an even larger basilica, and an ancient library that contains over 35,000 ancient tomes, books, and scripts. The baroque-type architecture makes it one of the grandest structures in the world.
The palace offers guided tours and provides entertainment and welcomes self-guided tours of all the wonderful places within the gigantic structure. The streets of Mafra have traditional dining options and unique shopping experiences, along with many other historical sites to visit during a day trip.
14.Mosteiro Pálacio Nacional de Mafra
The Palace of Mafra is an ancient structure located within the center of the city of Mafra that was built in the year 1717. The palace has been used by Portuguese Royalty and features a basilica, a massive courtyard with a 220-meter façade, a monastery, a convent, an ancient library, gardens throughout, and of course, the Royal Palace itself. All of the buildings are attached and make up the entire palace.
The whole structure is measured to be about 38.000 square meters. There are a little over 1,200 rooms, over 4,500 windows and doors, and about 150 stairways throughout the palace. Most of the palace is open to visitors for self-guided tours and for prayer time. But there are also guided tours available for groups and others who contact the palace curators directly. The palace is a 45-minute drive from Lisbon.
Terreiro D. João V 2640-492 Mafra, Phone: 35-12-61-81-75-50
Óbidos is the best version of a classic Portuguese town. It was founded more than 800 years ago and had been thriving as a relaxing destination for all people. Visitors are welcome to explore the unique and authentic shops and eateries, traveling down the narrow cobblestone streets amongst the traditional white-washed Portuguese buildings.
A medieval castle looms over the town that is available to explore. The town is close to pristine white-sand beaches with boat docks. Fishing is a prominent pastime and career in Óbidos, so the fish market is always full. Óbidos has many more attractions around the town and is only about a one-hour drive from Lisbon.
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16.Pálacio Nacional de Queluz
The Queluz Palace was built around 1787 for Queen Maria and her husband, Dom Pedro III. The structure is an enormous place, complete with a great music hall, The Queen’s Apartments, dozens of staterooms, dozens of guest rooms, and gardens everywhere. The Portuguese Royalty used the Queluz Palace as their main residence in the 18th century, so there is a massive throne room featuring a golden throne, priceless artwork, mirrors, and incredible architectural design.
For a day trip, it may take most of the day to get through everything within the palace while learning about its history. Self-guided and guided tours are available during normal business hours. The Palace of Queluz is located within the town of Queluz and is only 15 minutes from Lisbon.
Largo Pálacio de Queluz, 2745-191 Queluz, Portugal, Phone: 35-12-19-23-73-00
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Palmela is a very old town that has a great number of historical places to visit. It is located to the southeast of Lisbon, across the Tagus Bay, about 45 minutes away. The town is a humble one, with narrow cobblestone streets, small authentic shops, unique restaurants, and many other places for people of all ages.
The most famous of sites within the town is the Castelo de Palmela, which is a looming fortress built many centuries ago to provide protection for the townspeople and its soldiers. It can now be explored by anyone during regular business hours.
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18.Pena Palace and Park
This massive park that houses an amazing palace is only about 45 minutes away from Lisbon. The palace began as a monastery built atop a large hill within the Sintra Mountains that was built mid-13th century. In 1842, it was in ruin and was rebuilt as the palace that stands today. It features many balconies with breathtaking views, gateways with a drawbridge, a convent, a clocktower, staterooms, a great hall, and much more.
The park is a forested area that encompasses the hills where the palace stands where a labyrinth of paths and roads lead to places of interest within the forest, including The Queen’s Fern Garden. The entire park spreads out just under 500 acres of forested wilderness.
Estrada da Pena, 2710-609 Sintra, Portugal, Phone: 35-12-19-23-73-00
Porto has an ancient history that they proudly display throughout the city, and within the oldest district in town, the Ribeira District. The buildings, shops, and streets are all very old and hold their own history within. Porto is most famous for creating a rich wine called Port, hence the name of the town. The wine is made and aged within ancient caves that exist right alongside the Douro River.
The Douro River runs directly through Porto, giving the scenery a truly magical scene. Boat tours are likely the best way to experience the wonderful views of the city. There are also museums, other historical sites, many restaurants serving Port and other wines, and a bustling downtown area both during the day and at night.
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20.Reserva Natural do Estuário do Sado
This estuary is a natural and protected reserve that is open to the public for exploration, fishing, swimming, and much more. It is located across the Tagus bay, heading southeast along the coast, about a 1 hour and 15-minute drive from Lisbon. The estuary has white sand beaches with crystal clear, calm waters that are perfect for swimming and fishing.
For animal lovers, there are over 200 species of birds and a very large dolphin population that can be seen from the beach and by boat. Not far from the beaches are vast ancient Roman ruins that can be explored at any time. The entire estuary has plenty of hiking and walking trails to get to every point of interest easily.
21.Serra da Arrabida
This incredible nature reserve is located about 45 minutes from Lisbon, going south across the Tagus Bay. Visitors sunbathe on the white sand beaches, swim in the calm Atlantic waters, go exploring both on boats and under the water by scuba diving, hiking the coastline to see all the wonderful animals that live in the reserve, and so much more.
There are viewpoints along the road in the mountainous area where historic places like the Palmela Castle, Sesimbra Castle, Cape Espichel, and the various beaches can be seen. All the points of interest within the reserve close together, making a day trip quite eventful.
Sesimbra is a large and fancy resort town with many activities and attractions for people of all ages. The most ancient and toured attraction is the Sesimbra Castle located within the town. Many other historical landmarks are posted throughout the city, and at the local museum. Sesimbra is a 45-minute drive south across the Tagus Bay from Lisbon.
There are many hotels and unique shopping within the town, but the most prized attraction of visitors are the restaurants. Fresh seafood is made daily in several locations that serve many kinds of food, including traditional Portuguese cuisine. There are white sand beaches, boat docks, and charter and tour companies to take you around the area.
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Setubal is about a 45-minute drive south from Lisbon and is located on the eastern side of the Serra da Arrábida Nature Reserve. The town operates day and night as a commercial fishing center, where many surrounding areas get their fresh seafood. Some parts of the town are a modern, industrialized place with factories and manufacturing plants. Other parts have the traditional, ancient look and feel of most of Portugal. In between, there is unique shopping experiences, excellent dining options, and many historical places to visit.
Setubal is a coastal town, which has miles of white sand beaches and fun activities located right on the Atlantic Ocean. There are guided tours and charter boats available for oceanic adventures.
Sintra is a bustling city located just outside the Park and National Palace of Pena, which is only about 30 minutes from the center of Lisbon. The hills in the Serra de Sintra provide incredible views overlooking the pristine landscape. One of the grandest attractions is The Palácio Nacional de Sintra, a gothic structure with history and beauty that is fancied world-wide.
The tram system takes visitors throughout the city, showing them all the history and amazing architecture of the old days. It goes through downtown, where the best shopping and restaurants in Portugal are located. Sintra is a town that is perfect for everyone. There are kid’s activities, museums and historical sites, and a busy nightlife.
Tomar is a beautiful city located northeast of Lisbon, about a 1 ½ hour drive, next to the Parque Natural das Serras de Aire e Candeeiros, which features miles of trails and ancient caves to explore. Tomar sits right on the Nabão River, which provides boating and fishing adventures. This history of this town is unique, as it was the central place in which the famous Knight’s Templar operated. Visitors can tour all the places of significance to learn about the bloody history of the Knight’s Templar and how they changed Christianity forever.
While historically significant, Tomar is a modest town that provides visitors with traditional Portuguese experiences, attractions, food, and places to stay. There is still much to do within a day at Tomar.
25 Best Weekend Getaways and Day Trips from Lisbon
- Arrábida National Park, Photo: LMspencer/stock.adobe.com
- Aveiro, Photo: daliu/stock.adobe.com
- Batalha, Photo: aamulya/stock.adobe.com
- Bucelas Vineyard, Photo: Anton/stock.adobe.com
- Cabo da Roca, Photo: cge2010/stock.adobe.com
- Cascais, Photo: jasckal/stock.adobe.com
- Constancia, Photo: Alexandre Rotenberg/stock.adobe.com
- Costa da Caparica, Photo: StockPhotosArt/stock.adobe.com
- Evora, Photo: Lucas/stock.adobe.com
- FAtima, Photo: saiko3p/stock.adobe.com
- Ilhavo, Photo: Paulo Resende/stock.adobe.com
- Jeronimos Monastery, Photo: saiko3p/stock.adobe.com
- Mafra, Photo: Jakub/stock.adobe.com
- Mosteiro Pálacio Nacional de Mafra, Photo: moedas1/stock.adobe.com
- Obidos, Photo: e55evu/stock.adobe.com
- Pálacio Nacional de Queluz, Photo: fotobeam.de/stock.adobe.com
- Palmela, Photo: Philippe GRAILLE/stock.adobe.com
- Pena Palace and Park, Photo: mrks_v/stock.adobe.com
- Porto, Photo: joyt/stock.adobe.com
- Reserva Natural do Estuário do Sado, Photo: moedas1/stock.adobe.com
- Serra da Arrabida, Photo: Liliana/stock.adobe.com
- Sesimbra, Photo: Helissa/stock.adobe.com
- Setubal, Photo: malajscy/stock.adobe.com
- Sintra, Photo: saiko3p/stock.adobe.com
- Tomar, Photo: alexanderkonsta/stock.adobe.com
- Cover Photo: SeanPavonePhoto/stock.adobe.com
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