Day trips from Lisbon: the perfect getaway
Day trips from Lisbon are short trips you can make from the capital of Portugal which is the biggest city in the country with 600.000 residents and more than 6 million visitors every year. Since many of the most iconic and interesting attractions are located here most people who visit the country end up staying in Lisbon .
However there are many day trips from Lisbon worth your time so lets dive into some of the most popular places. All of them are just a 1 / 1,5-hour drive from the capital and can easily be visited during a day trip .
Just a 30-minute ride is all that it takes to get to Sintra , in fact the distance is so small that a large number of people live there and work in Lisbon.
There are many interesting places to see and visit in Sintra like the Pena Palace, Quinta da regaleira, Monserrate palace, castle of moors .
Also worth your time is the nature and spectacular views you have there especially when you go up to the mountain where Pena palace is located.
Sintra has a large number of restaurants and pastries so plenty of offer and prices for all wallets. Try the delicious local pastries at Piriquita café or let yourself go into another era and book a table at the Lawrence Hotel restaurant.
It is usually the same you find in Lisbon, however the mountain creates some micro climate effects that can make a sunny day turn into a heavy rain out of nowhere so be prepared and bring a light rain coat and waterproof shoes.
In the Winter the temperature feeling tends to be lower because of the higher humidity in the air .
Don`t try to visit everything in one day if you like to take your time to see everything in a relaxed way. Pick 2 or 3 places to visit and that is enough as you will spend some time going between attractions.
When to go
Spring and Summer are the best tomes to get there, avoid weekends and arrive early so you won’t spend too much time in lines for buying tickets.
Fatima is located 120 kms to the north of Lisbon and it usually takes 1.5 hours to get there and its one of the most popular day trips from Lisbon especially for Catholics.
The sanctuary and the houses where the little Sheppard’s lived are the most popular places to visit and have a very special meaning for Catholics from all around the world.
Since you can visit everything in 2 or 3 hours it is worth to make a detour to Batalha where a beautiful monastery similar to the Jeronimos in Lisbon is located. Allow at least one hour to visit the glorious Mosteiro da Batalha monument.
On the way back to Lisbon it is worth to stop at Nazare, a small fishermen`s village with beautiful views over the Atlantic and many great restaurants that have fresh fish/seafood.
If you prefer to go there in the winter you may be able to see some giant waves that attract surfers from all around the world especially after the American big wave surfer Garet Macnmara ride one of the biggest waves of all time at praia do Norte ( Nothem beach).
Plenty of traditional Portuguese food restaurants to choose from. For fish and seafood lovers Nazare is a heaven on earth.
Usually 3 or 4 celsius degrees lower than Lisbon so don`t forget to wear warmer clothes.
You will spend at least 3 hours traveling so 2 hours in fatima, one hour in batalha and one hour in Nazare is a good estimate.
When to go
The weather is never too cold and the places never get too crowded in any part of the year so anytime is good for a visit. If you want to see those giant waves in Nazare try going in the winter months.
Fatima is the center of the catholic world on the 13th of May since thousands of people gather there for the Holy Mary celebrations so its a beautiful time for a visit.
Arrabida is the name given to a group of mountains that are located near the city of Setúbal and are just a 45minute drive to the south from Lisbon.
Here you can visit some castles in Palmela and Sesimbra, enjoy the view to the Atlantic or explore the wildlife habitats that exist in this protected area.
This is also a region with many good wine producers and cellars so a guided tour is a great option for some wine tasting and a visit to the old palaces where those wines have been made for years.
Since the area is located near the Atlantic coastline , fish is king here so go for a lunch in Sesimbra or Setubal and you cant go wrong since there are plenty of options for all prices.
Usually warmer and dryer than Lisbon so don`t worry. In the summer, especially in July and August, make you sure you put some sun protector , wear a hat and of course bring your swimsuit for a refreshing swim !
Since its so close to Lisbon you can stay there for as long as you want to and can visit the castles in 2 hours, the wine cellars in one hour and possibly the statue of Cristo Rei in another hour ( the one you see by the 25th April bridge).
When to go
The summer is the best time since you can enjoy the beach but every month is good since the weather is warmer that Lisbon and there are usually fewer rainy days.
This region covers a big area that goes from the Setubal region until Algarve , so there are many day trips from Lisbon options from 80 until 200 kms south of Lisbon
Since there is a lot of ground to cover the best option is to pick one of the main cities in the region like Èvora, that has lots to see and visit. Évora has some magnificent remains of the Roman empire occupation from 2.000 years ago, and also pre historic marks in the form of cromlechs located just 5 km from the center.
A magnificent cathedral of the 15th century or the haunting bone chapel are also attractions not to be missed in Évora.
This area is also known for the excellent wines so its worth a visit to some of the cellars and wine producers that run guided tours like Ervideira or Cartuxa.
Évora and the Alentejo region as a whole has a long history of traditional Portuguese food so a day trip is an excellent opportunity to try it. Usually meat is more common because of a large number of cattle breeders in the area.
You can expect unsophisticated food but won`t be disappointed because it has lots of soul. Black pork ( a breed typical of the region), cod, mushrooms and the hundreds of different cheeses make Alentejo a unique place for tasty food.
Expect a dry hot weather in the summer and chilling breezes in the cold with few rainny days. Like other day trips from Lisbon spots compared to Lisbon its hotter in the summer and a bit colder in the winter months.
Expect 1h30m from Lisbon to Evora, around 2 hours to visit the city and the surrounding areas, another 2 hours to visit a wine producer and you will certainly call it a great day .
When to go
Avoid the hottest months ( July/August) when temperatures usually top over 40Cº. The best time is the spring and autumn so you still have long days without suffering a lot with the heat.
Our last option considering day trips from Lisbon is the central Portugal region , which is one of the less explored but still it has lots to see and visit.
The city of Tomar is renowned to be the place where the templar knights established their base from where they helped Portuguese kings to reconquer territory from the moors that occupied the Iberian Penisula until the 15th century.
Templars ruled a large portion of central Portugal that was to be defended from Moorish attacks .
A templar 12th-century church, the castle , the convent, the 15th-century synagogue are the top attractions not to be missed in Tomar.
If time allows visit the Castle of Almourol, a small fortress built on a small island in the middle of the Tagus river just 30kms south of the city.
Expect typical Portuguese food without any particular dish specific to the region that stands out. The conventual sweets are a must like in any Portuguese city that has a strong religious presence.
A bit colder and hotel than Lisbon in the winter and the summer, although nothing for you to worry too much about.
From Lisbon to Tomar is a 140km so its the longest of the day trips from Lisbon on this selection, therefore expect a 1h45m trip each way. Allow at least 3.5 hours to see everything in Tomar and another 30m for the Castle of Almourol
When to go
Since the weather and touristic high season is not a concern here anytime of the year is a good one for a visit.