The Setúbal Peninsula, a few steps away from Lisbon, offers places of incomparable beauty, ideal for family outings or a romantic getaway.
Enjoy the view of Cape Espichel, sipping a glass of Moscatel from Setúbal, a delicious liquor. The memories of these holidays will stay with you forever.
Very close to Lisbon, the Setúbal Peninsula offers places of incomparable beauty, ideal for family outings, but also for the romantic hearts of lovers.
Cross the 25 de Abril Bridge towards Sesimbra, and then take the road to Cabo Espichel. On reaching the headland, you’ll be impressed by the isolated Shrine of Nossa Senhora do Cabo (Our Lady of the Cape). It’s a place that will induce you to contemplate the sea and the long Fossil Cliff of Costa da Caparica that you see to the right, on the west coast.
Go on to Sesimbra castle. Before heading down to the beach, enjoy the view over the bay from this south-facing viewpoint, with the colourful fishing boats on the horizon.
Whether or not it’s a good day for bathing, it's worth taking a walk along the beaches, strolling through Portinho da Arrábida, Galapos and Figueirinha, in the Serra da Arrábida Natural Park.
Close by, Vila Nogueira de Azeitão is known for its wine production. You simply must taste the Moscatel in one of the famous wine cellars, accompanied by a typical buttery cheese.
In Palmela, a new viewpoint awaits you in the castle, now transformed into a Pousada, from which you’ll enjoy a splendid evening watching the sunset.
Finally, you arrive in Setúbal. From the Castle, nowadays the Pousada de São Filipe, you have a great view over the Sado Estuary Nature Reserve. Being near the sea, the city blossomed during the Discoveries, a time of great wealth that is reflected in the São Julião Church and the Convent of Jesus/Setúbal Museum, which you will find by strolling through the oldest part of the city. You must also visit the Michel Giacometti Labour Museum and the Albarquel Urban Park, a leisure area facing the river. From here you can see the estuary and, on the other bank, the complex of Troia.
The day will also be a perfect opportunity for you to enjoy the culinary specialties of the Setúbal region, like fried cuttlefish, grilled fish and seafood, and to taste the Moscatel; and thus end your trip in the best possible way.
Romance in Arrábida
Arrábida, with its fabulous mountain and ocean scenery, is perfect for a romantic weekend.
Less than 50 kilometres from Lisbon, you have a Natural Park at your disposal for tranquil unhurried walks, or for spending the evening on the terrace. The São Filipe Fort, in Setúbal, and its mediaeval summer nights are an idea worth considering. There’s nothing quite like a romantic dinner by the sea, sweetened by tortas de ovos (egg tarts) and "esses" (cinnamon biscuits) from Azeitão, accompanied by a sweet, fruity Moscatel.
But you could also have some more energetic days in the clear waters of the beaches at the foot of the Arrábida hills. These are idyllic settings for canoeing or diving. After all, you are in one the marine reserves of the Portuguese coast, with unique features.
Halfway up the hillside, you will see the Arrábida Convent, now owned by Fundação Oriente. Overlooking the sea, with its small chapels in the middle of the greenery, it is an oasis for spiritual contemplation.
Visits to the Arrábida Convent are by prior appointment only. Contact www.foriente.pt.
50km from Lisbon via the 25 de Abril or Vasco da Gama Bridges.
There are also regular trains (www.fertagus.pt) and buses (www.tsuldotejo.pt) .
Catamarans and ferries run regularly between Setúbal and Troia. Information at www.atlanticferries.pt.