The greatness of Lisbon isn’t confined within its boundaries but stretches far beyond the city limits. What makes this city such an incredible place to visit is the wealth of opportunities to see so much of the rest of Portugal from a base in the capital. If you’ve got limited time in Portugal and want to make the most of it by seeing more than just Lisbon, then you’re in luck!
Some of the most beautiful gems of Portugal are easily reachable from Lisbon. From ancient castles, palaces, and heritage sites, to imposing mountains, surfing hubs, and stunning natural beaches, you can find them all, less than 3 hours from the city.
If you want a break from the hilly sights and cobblestone streets of Lisbon, we suggest hitting the road and giving yourself a mini-holiday within a holiday! There are plenty of day trips from Lisbon that you are bound to fall hopelessly in love with:
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Getting Around Lisbon & Beyond
To make the most of the Lisbon day trips you decide to take, you should get to know all the different transport options available to you. Thankfully many of them are easy and reliable ways to reach your destinations and be back in good time. be sure to base yourself in Lisbon somewhere close to public transport. b
Lisbon has an efficient public transport system that can take you downtown or outside the city lines. If there are places you can’t access by public transport, renting a car is an easy process.
- Almost all of the attractions in and around the city are easily accessible by foot, bus, tram, metro, and Elevadores & Ascensors.
- It is highly recommended to explore the city on foot or by public transport. Taxis and cars inside the city are not ideal due to heavy traffic.
- The quickest way to reach anywhere is through the metro that runs from 6.30 am to 1:00 am.
- For uphill journeys in the city, the tram is the smartest choice. They run from 5:00 am to 11:00 pm.
- A single metro ticket costs 1.45 euros, making Lisbon quite affordable.
- A day pass costs 6.30 euros and includes buses, trains, and trams.
- A Lisboa Card gives access to all public transport, including the metro, and offers unlimited travel.
For day trips outside Lisbon, the subway is the best option. The metro stops at 55 stations and the train runs every six to nine minutes. When planning your trips, make sure you know where the nearest station is.
If you prefer cars for your day trips, you can easily rent one from the kiosks at the airport or from city centre offices. You must get an international driver’s permit before setting out on your journey.
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Half-Day Trips from Lisbon
The vibrant culture of the capital, the colonial houses, coastal shorelines, and the lively nightlife are pretty awesome it must be said and there’s so much to see in Lisbon. Not to mention the wealth of tasty seafood to indulge in. The energy of this city makes you want to embark on explorations like those of the legendary Vasco De Gama. Luckily, adventures are just a short distance away and easy to organise even if you only have a weekend in Lisbon.
Day Trip to Fátima
The best way to spend half a day outside of Lisbon is a trip to the pilgrimage town of Fátima. It’s one of the most relaxing day trips from Lisbon and a place where you can just lose yourself in the spiritual aura and experiences.
What makes the little town so popular is the devotional shrine of the Sanctuary of Fátima. The sanctuary was built around the sport where the apparition of the Virgin was supposedly seen. Even the non-religious people would enjoy this trip as the architecture of the sanctuary is a stunning example of Portuguese neo-baroque.
In front of the chapel, there’s a huge esplanade – it’s even more expansive than St. Peter’s Square in Rome! If you’re trying to escape the crowd then you might want to avoid visiting this town on the 12th and 13th of May and the same days in October. This is the time when the town and the sanctuary are flooded by religious devotees. Then again, you might enjoy the energy and fascination these large events bring.
If you still have some time after visiting all the religious sites in Fátima, head over to Nazaré, a town on the Silver Coast, famous for its big waves and surfing opportunities.
Day Trip to Cascais
Lisbon is a pretty fun place to live, but if you want a place that is even more chill and laid back, grab a 40-minute train ride to the beachside town of Cascais.
While the beach calls to you, put that off for a while and visit the Citadel of Cascais. The construction of the citadel started in the 15th century and wasn’t finished until the 17th century! This citadel was built to protect the city from invading army fleets attacking from the sea. After that, stroll the historic streets of the town and gaze upon the modern mansions that represent the wealth of this town.
Ok, then you can hit the beach and spend the rest of the day topping up your tan and enjoying the water alongside locals and tourists alike. It’s a great way to recharge after all those hills in Lisbon!
You can stay here for half a day or you can devote an entire day to this town if you like. You might even want to stay a little longer or use it as a base to explore Libson from. Choose an accommodation that lets you in on the town’s vibe and allows you to make friends with strangers.
Day Trip to Sesimbra
This is the day trip from Lisbon that allows you utmost peace, a place to truly unwind after an overwhelming week pounding the pavements of the capital.
Nestled on the foothills of Arrábida, Sesimbra lies on the coasts of a stunning turquoise bay and is known for its seafood and rich fishing culture. Less than an hour away from Lisbon, Sesimbra is the favoured weekend getaway destination for the locals. The pristine beaches, calming ambience, mouthwatering seafood, and ancient architecture appeals to the masses.
Once you have thoroughly enjoyed the beach activities of this traditional fishing town, head over to the 17-century Fortaleza de Santiago and be enchanted by the Museum of the Sea, inside the fort. Explore then the imposing Moorish Castle dating to the 13th-century, set in a hillside location where you can admire the stunning view of the town.
Then, if you still don’t feel like heading back to Lisbon yet, sit by the shores and watch the vibrant fleet of boats bob in the harbour and the water gently laps at your feet. You might even want to put some Otis Redding on to complete the scene!
If you happen to be in this town in March or June, prepare to be drawn into the jovial spirits as the locals prepare delicious food, crafty decorations, and play some lively music during local festivals.
Suggested Trips – Arrabida and Sesimbra Small-Group Day Trip from Lisbon with Wine Tasting
Day Trip to Herdade do Moinho
If you feel strongly about saving the environment and have a love for all things wholesome, head over to Herdade Do Moinho. It’s a serene farm-stay less than an hour away from the city. This day trip from Lisbon is highly recommended if you’re with the family and have little kids to entertain.
Spread over 60-hectares of property, this place has a lot to offer. You can sit by the lake and admire the verdant grounds, or take a tour of all the environmentally-friendly practices around the farm, including the aesthetically pleasing wooden boxes around the lake.
If you and the kids want to feel like a part of the farm, you can even feed the livestock and actively participate in taking care of them.
There’s plenty of opportunities to go hiking, horse riding, or cycling around the property and enjoy some uninterrupted views of the countryside. It’s also a great place to visit with your significant other and make some lasting memories together.
Perhaps the best part of this day trip is the fact that you can entirely make yourself feel at home here, by cosying up in the farm’s highly rated cabins and villas and themed bungalows.
Day Trip to Queluz National Palace
Want to know exactly what it’s like to ‘to live like a king’? Well, make the 20-minute drive to the northwest of Lisbon to visit the very popular Queluz National Palace and you’ll find out!
The opulent palace was built for King Pedro and his wife, Queen Maria during the late 17th to early 18th century and took over 45 years to build. Every surface of this palace screams royalty and clearly, no expenses were spared when it came to building a home for the monarchs. No wonder it took them so long, Grand designs eat your heart out!
The architectural era and the creative design of the palace embodies a combination of baroque, rococo, and neoclassical style. This fantastical palace is not just a historic monument, but also a museum that houses a collection of extravagant paraphernalia from the 18th century.
Inside the palace, you get to see the courtroom from the 19th century and the majestic throne room which dates to the late 17th century. The latter is truly mind-boggling with all its gilded statues, high ornate ceilings, and exceptional paintings. Truly fit for a king!
This is quite a popular day trip from Lisbon, we suggest you book your tickets in advance so you can skip the line at the front entirely.
Full-Day Trips in Lisbon
Staying in Lisbon means that your options for full-day trips are endless. You can also have your pick of it. Do you want an authentic old European experience, or do you want beach days full of surfing and swimming in crystal clear waters? Whatever you want, it is all within reach of Portugal’s capital, so be sure to include some of them in your Lisbon itinerary.
Day Trip to Sintra
When reading medieval fantasy novels, we often dream that places like that would exist in real life. A place where castles sit on top of rocky hills. Where the charm and allure of the town are mixed with monumental history and romance, and where the crystal-clear waves crash against the ancient stone walls of the town.
Here’s news for you: Sintra is that place! Once you see it with your own eyes, you’ll realise that your imagination couldn’t do it justice. The first chance you get to plan a day trip from Lisbon, get on the train at Rossio Station, and reach this magical place in less than an hour.
The mesmerizing Sintra is home to numerous UNESCO World Heritage Sites and is situated amidst lush forests and huge mountains. What gives it that fantastical ambience? The fact that it was once a place where esotericism and secret rituals were galore. The place oozes mystery and magic.
You might not know where to begin on what to do in Sintra because you’ll be spoilt for choice. We suggest getting on the bus and taking the ride uphill. On top of the hill are two magnificent sites, the Castle of the Moors and the National Palace of Pena (Parque e Palácio Nacional da Pena). Don’t forget to stroll through the old town and visit the 14th-century palace, once the enchanting home to the kings and queens of Portugal.
Day Trip to Coimbra
Coimbrais one of Portugal’s largest and most alluring cities and is just 2 hours from Lisbon. One glimpse at the old university here and you’ll feel like you’ve travelled back in time to this institution where you could study at a palace. Bit better than a red brick uni on a rainy winters evening in Stoke!
The University of Coimbra was moved to the Royal Palace in 1537 and has been graduating students ever since. The architecture of the institute both inside and outside will leave you speechless. If you love to read, then be sure to visit the Baroque Biblioteca Joanina. This library is one of the most extravagant and beautiful in the world. If you’re not yet a bookworm, then this library just might be the inspiration you need!
The old university and the modern-day students place this city at a juxtaposition of past and present. Once you have forced yourself to part from the university building, stroll through the old town and explore the medieval churches and cloisters with their mesmerizing mosaic tiles.
Coimbra is the best choice for a day trip from Lisbon if you want to dig deep into Portugal’s past and transport yourself to the past centuries for a day.
Day Trip to Evora
If ancient architecture, Roman ruins, and gruesome religious lessons from the past interest you, then this day trip from Lisbon is perfect! Even if you just like food and wine (who doesn’t!), then this destination won’t disappoint.
The medieval town of Evora is the olive-growing, food-centred, sunny capital of Alentejo. Amidst the rolling greens of this city lie some of the most monumental historic landmarks of the country, dating as far back as 57 BC.
With just a day to explore, three places in this city should take your priority. Begin with the Roman Temple from the 1st century. This temple is one of the best-preserved Roman structures in the whole of Portugal. You’ll be awestruck and you stare at the magnificentmarble columns of the building, recanting the glories of bygone eras and empires.
Your next stop needs to be the Bone Chapel. The macabre chapel is decorated with over 500 human bones and skulls. Spooky! The idea behind the striking interior of the 17th-century chapel was as a lesson for the Catholics of that era, that life is fleeting and death is sure. Well, that, and the fact that the cemeteries were overcrowded. So hey, why not decorate the place a little with all those spare bones lying around!
The last stop of your trip has to be the 18th-century Sé Cathedral. This ancient Roman Catholic church boasts incredible history and magnificent architecture.
Day Trip to Porto Covo
The old sleepy Portuguese fishing villages that relied solely on those industries might no longer exist in the modern-day. However, if there’s any place that comes close, it would be Porto Covo, meaning, port of the fishing net.
This day trip from Lisbon is so different from the rest on this list and offers some unique experiences. You won’t find any medieval or baroque palaces here. Instead, you’ll be greeted with the sight of whitewashed cottages standing side by side all along the streets. Then there are the cobbled streets, pretty squares, and the view of the Alentejo coast from the low clifftops where the village sits.
The smaller population of this fishing town, the closely placed houses, and the holiday villas give this day trip a very different vibe from the other trips. You’ll get to interact with locals, spend time around the beach, and just enjoy the laid-back atmosphere of this wonderful town. The cool breeze of the sea makes it a very popular destination in the summers, so much so that this town is now less dependent on fishing and much more dependent on its thriving tourism these days.
If the calm and slow life of this town allures you, spend another day and choose some accommodation that is just a stone’s throw from the beach. You just can’t put into words the feeling of waking up to the smell of coffee and the view of the beach.
Day Trip to Obidos
A visit to Obidos is one of the mostconvenient day trips from Lisbon due to how well connected the two are.
There’s something truly magical about this town. From the moment you step onto the beautiful streets and youreyes fall on the terracotta rooftops, it will hit you.
The vines and roses peeking from every corner, the vibrant aesthetics, the narrow staircases alongside the traditional houses will leave you mesmerised as you meander the streets at a leisurely pace.
The walled old town of Obidos has been preserved wonderfully and offers a lot to its visitors. Begin your exploration of the town with a shot of Ginja, in the Obidos style. The town is known for the special drink in a chocolate cup which you can eat once you’re done with your drink. Talk about reducing waste, now this is the way to do it!
After eating your drink! Explore the town on foot and make sure to begin with the dramatic city walls. The narrow paths on the fortification will give you some amazing vantage points of the town and its charming architecture. However, there are no hand railings so be careful if you are bringing the kids or older people along.
We suggest booking accommodation and experiencing the true spirit of spending a night in an old Portugal town.
Suggested Trips – From Lisbon: Obidos and Mafra Palace Private Tour
Day Trip to Parque Natural Da Arrabida
If you really want to escape the cities and the towns of Portugal and just desire long drives along scenic roads, then plan a day trip from Lisbon to Parque Natural da Arrábida (Arrábida Natural Park) is the perfect getaway to Portugal’s southern coast.
You won’t be disappointed because the experiences you’ll have here are unmatched. Make sure to rent a car and drive around the park yourself, because along the route there’s plenty of pretty little cafes and unexplored beaches to discover. Doing them on your own terms is the ideal way to make the day your own.
Once you reach the Natural Park, prepare to have your breath taken away. This park is a protected site, next to the sea, and has incomparable natural beauty. The water is clear and azure blue, the cliffs white and chalky, and the mountain ranges surrounding are draped in lush green forests.
If you happen to love the place, and how could you not, then extend your visit and spend the night at Casa Castanhos.
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Taking a trip to Lisbon is synonymous with visiting half of Portugal. The city is well-connected to nearby destinations and enjoys the perfect location being close to some of the most legendary sights around the country.
What’s the best day trips from Lisbon? Well that depends on you and your interests, but don’t fear, there’s something for everyone. If you have a love for all things historic, places that tell tales of the past, then go for a day trip to Evora. Here, you’ll meet ancient history at every turn and you’ll love every bit of it. There might be some amazing places to visit in Lisbon, but there’s even more to see in the areas surrounding the city.
However, if you are a bibliophile, you simply can’t miss out on Coimbra and the glorious library that exists there. And lastly, if old and archaic places don’t particularly interest you, head over to the sandy beaches of Porto Covo and start your summer the right way instead.
Whether you’re backpacking in Lisbon or on a luxury break, there are trips for all budgets and interests.
Bye for now, but not forever!
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