Are you looking for the best day trips from Lisbon (in Portuguese, Lisboa)? Search no further, as I’ve rounded up the top places to visit near Lisbon, whether you’re traveling by car, train, or bus. From Sintra to Cascais – not to mention Óbidos and Évora – get ready to discover tours and excursions to amazing, beautiful, and jaw-dropping sites!
Lisbon is one of the best places to visit in Portugal and I recommend that you dedicate (at least) three days to fully explore the city. But once you experience all the unique activities that the Portuguese capital has to offer, it’s normal that you want to know the most popular destinations around Lisbon, right?
So, do you want to know more about the 17 Best Day Trips From Lisbon? Keep reading!
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- Best Day Trips from Lisbon
- Map of the Best Day Trips from Lisbon
Best Day Trips from Lisbon
Of the 17 destinations in this list of the best day trips from Lisbon, 5 are located in the Lisbon district and another 5 in the Leiria district, 3 are part of the Setúbal district, 2 are situated in the Santarém district, 1 belongs to the Coimbra district and the last one is in the Évora district:
- Lisbon District – Cascais, Ericeira, Mafra, Queluz, and Sintra
- Leiria District – Alcobaça, Batalha, Nazaré, Óbidos, and Peniche
- Setúbal District – Costa da Caparica, Sesimbra, and Setúbal
- Santarém District – Fátima and Tomar
- Coimbra District – Coimbra
- Évora District – Évora
1. Sintra (+ Cabo da Roca)
Considered the first center of European Romantic architecture, the town of Sintra was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1995, thanks to its countless monuments and historic buildings. I, personally, recommend a cultural tour to the National Palace of Pena, Moorish Castle, Quinta da Regaleira, Palace of Monserrate, National Palace of Sintra, Chalet of the Countess of Edla, Convent of the Capuchos, and Villa Sassetti!
Sintra is the perfect choice for a day trip from Lisbon – although it’s worth taking 2 or 3 days to see all its points of interest. And after exploring the palaces, why not hike one of the trails in the Sintra-Cascais Natural Park, relax on an idyllic Atlantic beach (Big Beach, Magoito Beach, Apple Beach, Adraga Beach, and Bear Beach, for example), or visit the Cabo da Roca, the westernmost point of Continental Europe?
Read my complete guide to Sintra, one of the best day trips from Lisbon!
If you think Sintra‘s Atlantic beaches are paradisical, just wait until you see those of Cascais! This is because the most touristy town on the Portuguese Riviera is known as one of the best beach day trips from Lisbon – mainly because of Conceição Beach, Guincho Beach, Carcavelos Beach, Cresmina Beach, and Queen Beach!
And if the beach is not your cup of tea, don’t worry… You can spend the day on cultural activities at the Citadel of Cascais, House of Stories – Paula Rego, Condes de Castro Guimarães Museum, Luis I Foundation (Cascais Cultural Center), House of Saint Mary, Saint Martha’s Fort, Sommer House, Church of Our Lady of Assumption, and more!
If you’re wondering what day trips can you do from Lisbon, let me tell you that Óbidos can be an excellent option. Despite being more than 80 km away by car (or more than 2 hours by regional train) – while Cascais and Sintra are about 30 km away by car (or less than 1 hour by suburban train) – when you visit this town, you’ll understand why it’s so popular among tourists!
First of all, Óbidos Castle was elected one of the “7 Wonders of Portugal” – a list that also includes the National Palace of Pena. Afterward, Óbidos still preserves its centuries-old walls, as well as a large part of the so-called Usseira Aqueduct. And of course, it’s impossible not to mention its annual festivals: the Óbidos International Chocolate Festival, the Óbidos Medieval Fair, and the Óbidos Christmas Town!
Read my complete guide to Óbidos, one of the best day trips from Lisbon!
Did you know that the Historic Center of Évora integrates the UNESCO World Heritage List? Once the official residence of the Kings of Portugal, the capital of the Alentejo Region or Alentejo is home to a vast number of cultural attractions, from the Évora Cathedral to the Chapel of Bones, not to mention the Roman Temple of Évora, the Frei Manuel do Cenáculo National Museum, the Palace of King Manuel I, and the Água de Prata Aqueduct.
The city of Évora is one of the best one-day day trips from Lisbon, as it’s located close to 2 hours by bus from the Portuguese capital. Alternatively, you can visit it on a road trip through Alentejo by car or campervan. Or perhaps, venture to the neighboring Spanish autonomous communities of Estremadura and Andalusia (in Castilian, Extremadura and Andalucía) – as Spain is the closest country to Lisbon and Portugal!
In my opinion, the city of Fátima – or rather, the Sanctuary of Fátima (officially, the Sanctuary of Our Lady of the Rosary of Fátima) – is a place worth visiting, whether you’re a religious person or not. After all, we’re talking about the most important pilgrimage site in Portugal, with thousands of devotees and visitors every day of the year, both national and foreign!
In Fátima, it’s mandatory to stop by the Chapel of the Apparitions, the Basilica of Our Lady of the Rosary, and the Basilica of the Most Holy Trinity, but I suggest that you combine the entrances to the religious temples with a trip to the Museum of the Sanctuary of Fátima and the Wax Museum of Fátima. In addition, there are dozens of excursions departing from Lisbon that combine Fátima, Batalha, Nazaré, and Óbidos in a single one-day trip!
Read my complete guide to Fátima, one of the best day trips from Lisbon!
Until the beginning of the last decade, Nazaré was just one of the many fishing towns in Portugal, attracting a small number of local tourists in the summer and amateur surfers in the winter. However, in November 2011, everything changed when the American surfer Garrett McNamara entered the Guinness World Records, for having surfed a wave of 23.8 meters at Nazaré’s Praia do North (ie, North Beach)!
Since then, other surfers have broken the world record for the biggest wave surfed, namely the Brazilian Rodrigo Koxa in November 2017 (with a wave of 24.4 meters) and the German Sebastian Steudtner in October 2020 (with a wave of 26.2 meters). It’s needless to say that, nowadays, Nazaré is sought after by lovers of surfing, bodyboarding, kitesurfing, and windsurfing, from the four corners of the world!
The Monastery of Batalha (ie, Battle Monastery, officially designated the Monastery of Saint Mary of the Victory) is one of the most fascinating monasteries in Portugal and one of the best examples of Manueline architectural style, the Portuguese version of late Gothic. Built by King João I, the monument was dedicated to the Virgin Mary as a form of gratitude for the Portuguese victory in the Battle of Aljubarrota against the Castilians (hence the name).
In terms of validation with regard to its high historical and patrimonial value, the Monastery of Batalha has very little competition in the country: it was classified as a National Monument in 1910, inscribed in the UNESCO World Heritage List in 1983, elected one of the “7 Wonders of Portugal” in 2007, and recognized with the status of National Pantheon in 2016!
Do you like surfing and/or the beach? Then, Ericeira can be the ideal choice among the best day trips from Lisbon – even more than Nazaré or Peniche – as it’s found less than 50 km by car from the Portuguese capital. On top of that, the town has a great tourist offer in terms of fish and seafood restaurants.
Ericeira has more than a dozen beaches, even though the most frequented are Whale Beach, Ribeira d’Ilhas Beach, Fishermen Beach, São Sebastião Beach, and Matadouro Beach. Other than that, you can take advantage of the various viewpoints to watch the sunset or the sidewalks to walk along the seaside.
9. Sesimbra (+ Arrábida Natural Park)
Sesimbra is the first destination on this list of the best day trips in Lisbon, which is located to the south of the Portuguese capital – unlike the previous ones, which are located to the north. Now, this town and municipality is included in the Arrábida Natural Park, a biogenetic reserve with mountains and beaches of stunning beauty!
In terms of cultural heritage, I suggest Sesimbra Castle, the Fortress of Santiago, the Church of Santiago, the Chapel of Espírito Santo dos Mareantes, and the Sanctuary of Our Lady of Cape Espichel. If you prefer the beach, you have the Ribeiro do Cavalo Beach, Bicas Beach, California Beach, Lagoa de Albufeira Beach, or Gold Beach.
10. Costa da Caparica
If you visit Lisbon in the warmer months of the year, you’ll for sure hear about Costa da Caparica, as it’s one of the best-loved beach destinations of Lisboners. I mean, even I used to go to Costa da Caparica in the summer, when I lived in Lisbon! By the way, my favorite beach is Castle Beach, however, try CDS Beach, Morena Beach, Cova do Vapor Beach, São João Beach, Health Beach, or Mermaid Beach!
Apart from the beaches, the city of Costa da Caparica offers its visitors two other tourist options: the Minicomboio da Caparica (or Transpraia, a historic train that connects several beaches in this area) and the Passeio Marítimo da Costa da Caparica (perfect for lovers of hiking).
Portugal is one of the cheapest countries to visit (and travel to) in Europe and the town of Mafra is an excellent example of that. For just €6, you can visit the largest palace in Portugal, with almost 40,000 m2! Similarly called the Convent of Mafra, the National Palace of Mafra began to be erected in 1717, at the request of King João V.
In 2019, the monument was added to the UNESCO World Heritage List, as part of the “Royal Building of Mafra”. In fact, this architectural ensemble comprises the National Palace of Mafra, the Convent of Mafra, the Basilica of Mafra, the Cerco Garden, and the National Hunting Park of Mafra!
12. Tomar (+ Almourol Castle)
Even if it’s one of the most distant cities on this list, there’s no way not to choose Tomar as one of the best day trips from Lisbon. The city was founded by the Knights Templar in the mid-twelfth century, in the context of the Christian Reconquista. From that time, the medieval castle remains, which today integrates the Convent of Christ.
The Convent of Christ was not only one of the first sites declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site in Portugal, but it’s also one of the most visited monumental complexes outside the Lisbon and Porto Metropolitan Areas. And the historic center of Tomar has more cultural attractions waiting for you: National Forest of the Seven Hills, Church of Santa Maria do Olival, Synagogue of Tomar, Matches Museum, Church of Saint John the Baptist…
Read my complete guide to Tomar, one of the best day trips from Lisbon!
13. Peniche (+ Berlengas Natural Reserve)
Let me tell you about one of the best beach getaways from Lisbon: the city of Peniche! The others are Sintra, Cascais, Nazaré, Ericeira, Sesimbra, and Setúbal and are (obviously) listed in this guide of the best day trips from Lisbon. The difference is that Peniche is within walking distance of the Berlengas Natural Reserve, a protected area that comprises the Berlengas Archipelago.
The Berlengas (or the Berlenga Grande Island, as the Estelas Islands and the Farilhões and Forcadas Islets aren’t visitable) are still one of the so-called “hidden gems” for foreign tourists. So plan your day in Peniche with a trip to the Berlengas and a visit to the Peniche Fortress – National Museum of Resistance and Freedom, the Cabo Carvoeiro Lighthouse, the Supertubos Beach, and the Consolation Beach!
Of all the best day trips from Lisbon mentioned here, Queluz is the easiest and fastest to visit for two main reasons: the first is because it’s about 13 km by car from the center of Lisbon (or less than 1 hour by suburban train or bus); and the second has to do with the fact that the city’s major tourist attractions come down to the Gardens and National Palace of Queluz.
The National Palace of Queluz was the residence of three generations of the Portuguese Royal Family since its construction in 1747. Interestingly, its architectural, landscape, and decorative elements from the Baroque, Rococo, and Neoclassicist periods make it one of the most luxurious palaces in the country. So, don’t forget to explore all the sumptuous halls, rooms, and corners of this former royal palace!
Coimbra is another of the best places to visit in Portugal, largely because of the University of Coimbra, the oldest in the country and the seventh oldest in the world. Declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2013, it’s one of the few universities on this prestigious list. And this is where you’ll find the Joanina Library and the Botanical Garden – apart from the Old Cathedral, the New Cathedral, and the Santa Cruz Monastery, also in the historic center.
The city of Coimbra is doable like the other best day trips from Lisbon, but it requires you to get up early and travel Alfa Pendular. This fast train is the same one that many tourists use to get to know Porto on a day trip from Lisbon – but I don’t think it’s worth wasting so many hours “commuting”!
Did you know that the Monastery of Saint Mary of Alcobaça was the first major structure in Gothic architecture to be built in Portugal? Yes, the works began in 1172 and were carried out by the monks of the Cistercian Order. The Monastery of Alcobaça has been a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 1989, one of the “7 Wonders of Portugal” since 2007, and the best reason to discover Alcobaça since… ever!
In the historic center of the city, there are other lesser-known points of interest, such as Alcobaça Castle, the Love Garden, and the Alcobaça Wine Museum (formerly the National Wine Museum). Nevertheless, the best tip I can give you is to sit on a terrace on 25th April Square, admiring the Monastery of Alcobaça, while enjoying a conventual sweet!
Read my complete guide to Alcobaça, one of the best day trips from Lisbon!
The city of Setúbal is roughly 50 km from Lisbon and immediately invites you to swim on one of its numerous beaches, such as Galapinhos Beach (elected as the “Best European Beach of 2017”, by the European Best Destinations website), Figueirinha Beach, Rabbits Beach, Galapos Beach, and Portinho da Arrábida Beach.
In the historic center of Setúbal – which you can reach by car, train, or bus – you have to stop at the Fort of Saint Philip, Saint Julian’s Church, the Setúbal Museum – Convent of Jesus, and the Michel Giacometti Museum of Labour. Or, take a ferry to the Tróia Peninsula, another seaside paradise!
Map of the Best Day Trips from Lisbon
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What Photography Gear Do I Use?
- Camera Body: Fujifilm X-T4 Mirrorless (Silver)
- Camera Lens: Fujinon XF 18-55 mm F2.8-4 R LM OIS
- Tripod: Manfrotto Compact Action
- Small Tripod: Manfrotto PIXI Mini
- Smartphone Adaptor: Manfrotto PIXI Clamp
- Memory Card: SanDisk 128GB Extreme PRO SDXC
This blog post uses stock photographs (Getty Images)