From Beaches to Castles: The Best Day Trips from Lisbon

Lisbon, the capital of Portugal, is a must-visit destination. It’s both a dynamic city and a sun-soaked, hilly paradise that boasts romantic charm, rich cultural history, and mouth-watering food culture.

But while there’s plenty to see and do in the city itself, Lisbon also serves as a perfect base for exploring picturesque coastal towns, awe-inspiring nature spots, and historic villages – all easily accessible by car or public transport, on a multitude of day trips from Lisbon.

With no further ado, here’s the ultimate guide to exploring beyond the city.

1. Budget-friendly day trips from Lisbon

During your day trips from Lisbon to Sintra, pay a visit to the Pena Palace.
Pena Palace, located outside of Lisbon. Photo by DaLiu

For travelers looking to stretch their budget, there are plenty of Lisbon trips that won’t break the bank. One popular option is a day trip to Sintra, a charming town located just outside of Lisbon.

Sintra is easily accessed by train – they leave regularly from Rossio station. This town has long been known as a magical enclave and when you see it, you’ll understand. The Quinta da Regaleira — once an aristocratic summer house, is a must-see, boasting underground grottos (including a jaw-dropping masonic initiation well) and romantic statue gardens.

The glorious Pena Palace, sitting on the hilltop like something from a fairytale, is also well worth a visit. Consider booking our Lisbon Sintra Pass – which includes public transport and access to key attractions. You can also book a guided tour for both of these sites with Tiqets.

Life’s a Lisbon beach

Include Praia da Ursa to your day trips plan from Lisbon.
Praia da Ursa in Sintra near Lisbon in Portugal. Photo by rui vale sousa

Depending on how much time you have to spare, and how strong your walking legs are, you might want to take a detour to Sintra’s – and arguably one of the world’s – best beaches, Praia da Ursa. Europe’s most westerly beach is accessible by car or the 403 bus from Cascais – which drops you off near the trailhead by the Cabo da Roca lighthouse.

If you take this detour, wear good shoes – it’s a formidable 30-minute trek down to the beach. Once you reach the secluded sands, surrounded by cathedral-like rock formations, your efforts will feel well worth it.

Make sure to return before the sun goes down. Not only is it much safer, but it will also give you a chance to take in the awe-inspiring sunset from the Cabo da Roca. A real wow moment!

2. Group day trips from Lisbon

There are several amazing costal towns close to Lisbon for a day trip.
Seaside cityscape of Cascais city close to Lisbon. Photo by Evannovostro

If you have a bigger group to organize, a day trip to the stunning coastal towns of Cascais and Estoril could be just the ticket. These spots offer beautiful beaches with plenty of opportunities for water sports, as well as shopping, eating, and drinking – meaning there’s something here for everyone.

Both towns are also easily accessible from Lisbon – with trains taking 30 minutes, and taxis readily available that will also take you to and from the city.

For groups of history buffs, we highly recommend a trip to the ancient town of Óbidos, known for its well-preserved medieval castle. The town is also a haven for literature lovers – everything from the market, to the church, and even a wine cellar has been turned into book shops!

If you’re heading out here, try to include a visit to the nearby town of Fatima – a Catholic pilgrimage site that boasts some incredible religious architecture. You can also book a trip that includes both towns and a stop off to see the monster waves at the coastal town of Nazaré.

3. Couples’ day trips from Lisbon

Sesimbra is a great destination if you want a romantic getaway from Lisbon.
Beautiful view of the beach in Sesimbra, Portugal. Photo by Luis Louro

Looking for a romantic getaway from Lisbon? Pucker up on a day trip to the picturesque town of Sesimbra, which offers a beautiful beach and plenty of opportunities for hand-in-hand hiking in the incredible Serra da Arrábida Natural Park.

The views here are so unspoiled that it can be hard to believe you’re just a 30-minute drive from Lisbon! Keep your eyes peeled for the large pod of dolphins that live around the bay.

Try the food and wine at Setúbal

If you take a trip to Setúbal, Choco frito and green wine are a must-try!
Choco Frito with local beer and French fries in Setúbal. Photo by makasana photo

Romantics could also take a jaunt to Setúbal. Here you can sample delicious wine and local dishes like sardines and Choco frito (fried squid).

Make sure to try Setúbal’s acclaimed moscatel wine, as well as a glass of Vinho Verde – a green, slightly bubbly wine that is as refreshing as a dip in the wild Atlantic. You can also take the hassle out of organizing and book a wine tasting day trip with Tiqets.

Take a beer-infused detour to Marvilla

If you’re more of a craft beer lover, take a detour to Marvilla – a once rundown area on the outskirts of Lisbon that is now home to the Portuguese craft brewing scene. Here you’ll find four world-class breweries, all within easy stumbling distance of each other.

4. Lisbon day trips for families

Bring your kids to Lisbon Zoo and Lisbon Oceanarium to have a great time.
Kid in Lisbon Oceanarium

For families looking for a fun and engaging day out, you might consider a tour of the Lisbon Zoo, which is home to a huge range of creatures and plenty of interactive exhibits that kids will love.  

Lisbon Oceanarium is also highly recommended. Considered one of the world’s best aquariums, it features a huge main tank full of sharks, eels, and a famous giant sunfish, as well as adorable penguins and otters. If you’re keen to see sea life in the wild, consider taking an organized tour – kids will never forget seeing their finned friends up close on a dolphin-watching cruise.

You could also take the whole clan to the Costa da Caparica – an area on the Setúbal peninsula that offers plenty of family-friendly opportunities for swimming, sunbathing, and water sports. There are tons of great surf schools for kids and grown-ups looking to hit the waves, while smaller children might enjoy the calmer waters at Praia da Mata.

Day trips from Lisbon offer no end of opportunities! Whether you’re looking to explore charming towns, enjoy scenic coastal views, or discover the rich history and culture of Portugal, you won’t regret some time out of town, and Lisbon will seem even more exciting when you back.

Need more inspiration? Here are some great things to do in Lisbon. Need some tips for Lisbon with kids? Check out this fun-filled guide for kids in Lisbon!Lastly, if you’re on a budget, take a read of 8 of the best things to do for free in Lisbon.

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