Back from my trip to Portugal, I want to share with you all my tips and tricks to make the most of this beautiful country. I had already the chance to visit Lisbon in the past, but this time, I also had a rental car and a full week to spend in this region of Portugal. So I quickly did my research to find out which places around Lisbon to visit absolutely. And as I have all discovered, I give you my top 6 gateways less than two hours drive from Lisbon.
If you want to know more about my trip to Portugal, you can find all my articles on the topic here.
The 6 best places to visit around Lisbon
Discover the magical Sintra
Sintra is one of the most popular excursions around Lisbon. The scenic town, 30 kilometers away from Lisbon, is known for its many castles and palaces. Within the Sintra-Cascais Natural Park, you will find more than ten palaces, castles and historic houses. The best known of all is the extravagant National Palace of Pena perched on top of a hill. This palace is recognizable by its bright colors, yellow and red, and is one of the 7 wonders of Portugal. I loved visiting this unusual place and enjoying the views of the surrounding hills and the ocean as a backdrop. Here are some tips for your visit.
- Book your tickets online before your visit : €13,50 per adult for the Park and Palace of Pena
- Arrive early in the morning : the palace opens at 09:30 and is quickly stormed by hundreds of buses.
- Go directly to the parking of the National Palace of Pena, at the top of the hill. Most signs will show you the car park of the city of Sintra, but you have to walk more than 50 minutes to reach the palace on the hill.
- To get to Sintra, it takes 34 minutes by car. If you choose public transport, a train that leaves from Rossio station about three times an hour joins Sintra in 45 minutes.
The historical village of Obidos
Sintra is not the only picturesque city around Lisbon. The small village of Obidos is a fortified city that was once the property of the Queen of Portugal. Located 84 kilometers away from Lisbon, Obidos charmed me with its narrow cobbled streets and bright blue and yellow colors. You can around the city from the top of the ramparts to enjoy exceptional views and to stock up on souvenirs in Rua Direita. Be aware that you can tour Obidos in a few hours, so it’s more interesting to combine your trip with one of the other points of interest around Lisbon (see the map below).
Beaches of Peniche
Peniche is a port city located 100 kilometers from Lisbon and is known for being one of the largest fishing ports in the country, as well as a pleasant seaside resort. In Peniche you can visit the historic city center and the 16th century citadel. It is also a high-ride surfing spot in Portugal, thanks to long beaches and numerous waves for all levels. The best know is the Supertubos beach which hosts international surfing competitions. In short, it’s a perfect place for a day trip around Lisbon or an opportunity to try surfing.
Perched on the cliffs at Azenhas do Mar
Azenhas do Mar is a small village perched on a cliff overlooking the ocean that does not lack charm.As it is located not far from Sintra, you can very well visit the Palace of Pena, then go eat in a restaurant in Azenhas do Mar and enjoy the view. I recommend the restaurant Agua e Sal for these delicious tapas and its affordable prices. There is not much to do in Azenhas do Mar, just enjoy the view of the picturesque houses and the ocean and relax.
World’s biggest waves in Nazare
120 km north of Lisbon is a place known to all surfers in the world. This is where you can see the biggest waves of the planet crash down a cliff now famous. It was here that the record for the biggest wave ever surfed about 35 meters high was broken ! It is essential to go to Sitio, the top district of Nazare perched on a cliff, to have a magnificent view of the huge beach of Nazare. Then you can walk to the Fort of St. Micheal Archangel and admire the view or Praia do Norte, where the huge waves crash on the beach.
Romantic gateway in Cascais
Cascais is a small port city located 30 kilometers from Lisbon and easily accessible by public transport. This is the perfect place for a relaxing day at the beach. The historic center is also charming and you will love to stroll through the alleys to discover the authenticity of this fishing village. There are many restaurants, but note that prices are slightly higher than in Lisbon.
Some other places
- Cabo da Roca : 40 km from Lisbon, Cabo da Roca is the westernmost point of the European continent. You will find beautiful cliffs with a huge lighthouse at the top. I advise you to park your car and go directly to the right of the car park. You will find several small paths to admire the cliffs and the shredded beaches. On the left, the view is not that great because of the barriers.
- Fatima : Fatima is a small town located 130 km from Lisbon and it is the fourth place of Catholic’s pilgrimage in the world. Indeed, 100 years earlier, three shepherds have repeatedly seen the Virgin Mary. Today, this picturesque village welcome millions of pilgrims each year.
- Evora : 132 km from Lisbon, Evora is a city full of charm with many historical monuments. This will allow you to take a dip in authentic Portuguese culture, discover a Roman temple or menhirs and enjoy the delicious Portuguese cuisine.
- Azeitão : do you like cheese and wine? The province of Azeitao is the perfect place for you. Take the direction of the Natural Park of Arrabida Mountain to discover this region of incredible beauty. Do not forget to try the fabulous cheese of the same name!
And you, have you been to Portugal before ? What is your favorite place ?