5 Weekend trips less than 1h from Lisbon

Life in Lisbon is great, but sometimes you long to see nature and want to escape the bustling city and the crowd. Here is my list of 5 places to see outside of Lisbon that are less than 1 hour away!

Óbidos: medieval town with culture and history

Castle of Óbidos. Image by Diego Delso under license CC-BY-SA

Óbidos is a well-known town for the Portuguese. The town itself is still surrounded by the old walls which used to protect it from enemies during the Middle Ages. It can be reached by bus or by car. Óbidos is also said to be the place where the Ginjinha is from. This delicious cherry liquor is usually served in a small chocolate cup which is eaten after finishing the drink. They serve it in the street and should not cost under 4€. Óbidos is also located close to the seaside so great if you want to also go for a dip!

Example of how a gijinha can look like. Here the glass itself is made of chocolate which can be eaten. Image by J.Morales CC-BY2.0
The coast outside of Óbidos has great beaches with beautiful cliffs

Serra da Arrábida: hidden beaches and nature

The mountains (or hills) of Serra da Arrábida are located south of Lisbon just west of Setúbal. You can either take a bus to the village of Azeitão and walk over the hills to reach the coast or you can go to Setúbal and go westward between the mountains and the sea along the coast. The mountain range is beautiful as it gives a great lookout over the coast and sea.

View from the Serra over the coast with the Tróia peninsula in the background. Image by V. Oliveira CC-BY2.0

Sintra: town with palaces in the mountains

View of the Palace atop the mountain. The image was taken by S. Hitam CC-BY2.0

Sintra is located to the northeast of Lisbon and can be easily reached by either train or car. The town is associated with the beautiful village of Colares in the mountain and the Palacio da Pena. The story is that the chapel that used to be located on the site of the palace was built after the apparition of the Virgin Mary.

Apart from the Pena palace, Sintra offers more wonders like the Quinta da Regaleira and its beautiful park as well as the Castelo dos Mouros which was a medieval fort built by the Moors who conquered most of Portugal during the Middle Ages.

View over the Moors' castle located on top of the mountain next to the Pena Palace. Image taken by D. Delso CC BY-SA

Serra de Montejunto: national park with great scenery

View of the mountain Serra de Montejunto. A meteorological station is at the top. The image is by V. Oliveira CC-BY2.0

Serra de Montejunto is located about an hour away by car from Lisbon. The mountain range offers a decent hike up the hill and should take you some time but not an entire day. Make sure to pack your bag with water and a camera! The view from atop the mountain is great especially when the sun sets. From here you can even see the mountain range south of Lisbon: Serra da Arrábida!

View of the sunset from the top of the Serra de Montejunto. Image taken by M. Domingos CC-BY4.0

Ericeira: where fishermen and surfers meet

The village of Ericeira is located about 40min by car or an hour by bus. The bus can be taken from Sete Rios and is free if you have the Lisbon-Greater Area transport card. The village has always been a fishing village but due to the perfect settings for surf waves, a lot more foreigners have come in recent years to enjoy the sea and the great surfing it offers. Ericeira has, therefore, a lot of nice hostels and restaurants which are great if you want to spend a night here away from the busy Lisbon. Perhaps, if you can manage to get up early, it could also be a good time to finally take that surfing lesson you always wanted!

View over the harbour of Ericeira. Image by V. Oliveira CC-BY2.0

To sum-up

While Lisbon has a lot to give, there are great connections to the nearby towns. Portugal has so much to offer and too many people that visit Lisbon know too little about the rest of the country. Get yourself a weekend to explore the many hidden faces of Portugal. It will be worth it!

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