Portugal’s capital, Lisbon, is one of my favorite cities. There’s so much to see in and around the city. On our recent trip to Portugal we decided to make Lisbon our base and visit some of the surrounding towns as day trips. Here’s some places you can add to your Portugal travel list to visit as a day trip from Lisbon.
Cascais is a beautiful beach town a short train ride from Lisbon. It makes for a perfect day trip from Lisbon, especially if you want to have a beach day. The beaches from Estoril to Cascais is beautiful and there’s a few to choose from. Cascais is also where the rich nobility came in the summer to escape the city, so you can marvel at some of the amazing houses. There’s many seafood restaurants on the beach and shops selling ice cream and cocktails. The old part has narrow streets filled with touristy shops and curiosity items.
How to get to Cascais: Take a direct train to Cascais from the Cais do Sodre train station in Lisbon. Or if you already have a hop on hop off bus ticket, one of the routes also covers Cascais.
5 Awesome day trips to take from Lisbon – Travel GuideTweet
Sintra and Cabo da Roca
If you’re planning a trip to Portugal, you have probably heard of Sintra. A visit to Sintra is possibly the most popular day trip to take from Lisbon. Why? Well, situated at the foot of the Sintra mountains, Sintra was a popular resort town and place to escape the blazing summer heat of Lisbon. Hidden in the valleys you will find fairy tale palaces, beautiful convents, Moorish remains, wineries and even a hiking trail to the most western point of Europe.
Beware! Do not make the mistake we did – sites in Sintra are not close to each other. The walk from the train station is uphill for about 2km, and not recommended if you’re not fit (or struggled in Lisbon’s Alfama district). Pena Palace is amazing, but very cramped and extremely busy. There wasn’t a lot of emergency exits and if you get anxious in big crows and low roofs, be careful. A bus trip to Cabo da Roca takes around 40-50min, and we ended up losing time on transportation throughout Sintra and did not manage to see all we wanted to see. Also people fight in the lines to get on the bus to go back to town. You need to plan your visit carefully.
Explore the town center with cute shops and visit the famous sweet shop Casa Piriquita and try the queijadas and a strong coffee.
Try to see the National Palace, Quita da Regaleira, Pena Palace and Cabo da Roca in one trip.
How to get to Sintra from Lisbon: Take the train from Lisbon’s Rossio or Oriente Stations for about 5 euros. If you are in Cascais you can take bus 417 to Sintra. Once in Sintra we took the tourist bus from the station, it goes all the way to Cabo da Roca too.
Aveiro and Costa Nova
Aveiro is a picturesque city which is actually closer to Porto than to Lisbon. Termed the ‘Venice of Portugal’, it has one main canal with beautiful decorated boats. It is not like Venice at all, so don’t be fooled. The town is filled with narrow streets and beautiful tile work, including the stunning old murals of the train station. You can also rent a bike and cycle from Aveiro to the lagoon and even the beach. The Costa Nova is not too far away either, and there you’ll find the famous striped houses in the town of Ilhavo.
How to get to Aviero from Lisbon: Take the train from Santa Apolina station, it will take about 2 hours.
The beautiful medieval walled town is just an hour-long bus ride away from Lisbon and a must visit as a day trip from Lisbon. The old houses and cobble-stoned streets are a marvel to wander through, and the beautiful castle and it’s walls make for a picturesque scene. You can even have a walk on the castle walls if you want. Obidos is also known for premium ginja, a type of cherry liqueur you can drink from chocolate shot cups.
How to get to Obidos from Lisbon: Catch the express bus from Campo Grande bus station. The bus takes around 1 hour. Try to go early as the streets can get cramped with tourists.
The beautiful university town of Coimbra is a must-visit when you are in Portugal and can easily be done as a day trip from Lisbon. The old town of Coimbra is situated on the Montego river and on top of the hill you will find the stunning old and UNESCO Heritage site, Coimbra University, which also houses one of the oldest libraries in the world, Biblioteca Joanina. There’s also the Sé Velha, a Romanesque Cathedral, aqueducts, monasteries and modern bridges to see.
How to get to Coimbra from Lisbon: The best way to get to Coimbra from Lisbon is the train from Lisbon Oriente Station. You can take the faster Alfa Pendular (1h30) or the normal intercity rail (1h50). The station is at the foot of the hill next to the river and you can slowly start your climb up the medieval old town.
Portugal has so many beautiful towns that can be discovered as day trips from Lisbon. Other popular day trips that I would like to do on my next visit include trips to Evora, Tomar and even the coastal town of Nazarre.
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