5 top-rated day trips from beautiful Lisbon, Portugal you shouldn’t miss

Despite so many new countries and places to see on this planet, we always find our minds drifting back to Portugal.

I’m not entirely sure what it is that keeps dragging us back to this country, but one thing I am aware of, coastal views, great food, and good waves never fail to disappoint.

Although Lisbon lost many of its important monuments during the 18th-century earthquake, due to its charm and authenticity,  the city has become a top travel destination in Europe worthy of your time.

Pastel aesthetics and world-famous attractions are some of the reasons why Lisbon tops the list as a seductive travel destination. But there are a couple of more incredible places everyone that visits Portugal’s capital should see, some of them located just a short train ride away. 

City breaks, although wonderful, can be intense. If you feel the need to unwind then hop on the train and head over to seaside to wash it all away.

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Evora is home to second oldest University in Portugal, and its students keep the town young.
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Beautiful wooden bookshelves filled with thousands of books in Mafra, Portugal.

 

 

#1. Visit charming Cascais Village

Have you ever been someplace and it looked much better than you imagined? For us, it was visiting Cascais! We were on a surf trip but needed to have some culture on the side. This place stunned us more than we ever anticipated because arriving in Cascais was like stepping into a dreamy scene.

If you choose to visit Cascais, the finest resort town of the Lisbon coastline, be prepared to be amazed by fascinating museums, grand mansions and perfect beaches. Once a little fishing village, Cascais became home to Portuguese wealthy, when King Luís I proclaimed the town as the summer residence of the Portuguese nobility.

The best way to explore Cascais is on foot as all the attractions are located near each other. You can wander around its main square, check out the beaches, visit Museu Condes de Castro Guimarães and make your way to the lighthouse and  Boca do Inferno. After you’ve seen all the highlights take a seat on the bench, eat ice cream, read a book and watch the world go by.

  • How to get to Cascais |The best way to travel from Lisbon to Cascais is with the train which departs from Cais do Sodré train station. The train ride is 40 minutes long and very scenic as it follows the coastline. The ticket costs EUR 2.25, and you don’t have to worry about when to get off because Cascais is the last stop on the route.
  • Entrance fees | The Casa de Santa Maria and Santa Marta lighthouse can both be visited with the same ticket which costs €5. Entrance fee to the Museu Condes de Castro Guimarães costs €4 and Centro Cultural de Cascais will set you back at €5.
  • Good to know | Cascais gets busy during the summer month, and there is limited parking in town that why there’s no need to rent a car. But, if you have one, you can add Guincho beach and Cabo da Roca to your itinerary.
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Within a short drive from Lisbon are a couple of truly amazing and divine places to visit.
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For beach haired and sun-kissed kind of break travel to Cascais Village.

 

#2. Explore beautiful Mafra Town

Why not treat yourself to a day trip to Mafra town who’s one of greatest treasures is its beautiful library decorated in Rocco style and has well over 30.000 thousand books?

Mafra, a little pretty Portuguese village, is home to one of Europe’s largest and most extravagant palaces, and anyone that wishes to see its incredibly decorated rooms, where the royal family invited their guests in the 19 century and gawk at its library, can pop a bus in Lisbon and be in town in 40 minutes.

The main boulevard of Avenida da Liberdade is beautifully covered with the traditional black-and-white Portuguese pavement, and the town itself is very very quiet.

Mafra National Palace Library is known as one of the most spectacular libraries in the world, it dates back from the XVII and contains 36,000 books including some rare ones such as the first encyclopedia. 

What makes it so unique the library has become home to a large number of bats who hide behind the bookshelves and come out at night to eat the insects who would damage the books.

  • How to get to Mafra | Situated 30km to the north-west of Lisbon Mafra is connected to the city by inexpensive bus service. You can also join an organised tour or even rent a car to go on a mini road trip.
  • Good to know | The beautiful Mafra Palace is the only tourist attraction in town, and besides it, there isn’t much else to see.
  • Entrance fees |The Palace is closed on Tuesdays and is free for children under 12 and costs EUR 6 for adults.
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The beautiful Palace contains two carillons with 114 bells made in Belgium.
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It was pretty incredible seeing the 90-meter long library in person.

 

 

#3. Wander around historical Evora

Evora, a UNESCO World Heritage city, is a bundle of Roman ruins, old-world charm and a wealth of classical buildings. Located in beautiful Alentejo region known for its olive trees and rolling plains, Evora has become a very popular day trip from Lisbon and Algarve.

The city dates back more than 5,000 years and once was an important Roman trading town, still partially enclosed by medieval walls today. Despite its size, you’ll find lots to do because the city has the second-highest number of national monuments in Portugal.

The biggest tourist attractions in Evora are Roman Temple, Evora Cathedral, the Gothic-style Church of St. Francis, Evora’s main square, Praça do Giraldo, Evora museum and the Bone Chapel Of The Church Of St. Francis. 

For foodies, Evora is like heaven on earth, the city is known for its wine and olive oil tasting and for notorious rich Alentejan Cuisine. The main delicatessen is a variety of cheeses, bread soup, lamb stew and the Alentejo bread.

  • How to get to Evora |Evora town is located 135 km/80miles southeasts of Lisbon, and there is a regular bus service between the two cities. The journey takes up to 1hour and 45 minutes and tickets cost around Eur 12 one way.
  • Entrance fees | Most of the attractions in Evora are free to explore, and a visit to the cathedral allows access to the roof from where you can enjoy amazing views.
  • Good to know | If you are travelling to Evora by public transport, be prepared for a very long day trip. If you travel during the summer season, the weather in Evora is much, much warmed than in Lisbon and makes walking around in the scorching sun very challenging.
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Once in Evora, pay attention to the architecture of the white houses, beautiful tiles and little balconies.
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Evora is extremely inviting for those who look for tranquillity in their visit.

 

 

#4. Explore castles and hills of Sintra

One of the most awe-inspiring parts of your trip can be found outside of Lisbon city walls. Panoramic views, incredible castles and fairy tale vibes are some of the few reasons why  Sintra is often regarded as the finest day trip from Lisbon.

Sintra is beautiful. Seriously beautiful. If you wish to see incredible Moorish castles perched high atop leafy green hills and wander through cobbled streets, then this is a place for yoU.

The highlights of Sintra are its four castles, including the colourful Pena Palace, a UNESCO World Heritage Site and one of the main Portuguese cultural attractions. The castle is a fusion of various styles from Neo-Gothic and New-Islamic to New-Manueline and Neo-Renaissance.

In addition to Pena Palace, there are the ruins of the Castelo dos Mouros, the Quinta da Regaleira, a Franciscan monastery the Convento dos Capuchos, the National Palace, the Palacio de Monserrate and the Palacio de Monserrate.

Sintra town is well set up for visitors, and you can use the 434 tourist bus that connects the train station to the historic centre, Pena Palace and Moorish castle before it goes back to the starting point. A ticket costs €6.90 and the bus is the best way to explore Sintra.

  • How to get to Sintra | Located 25km to the west of Lisbon, Sintra can be easily reached by train. There are two train lines, Rossio Station to Sintra and Oriente station to Sintra, both equally good for visitors.
  • Entrance fees | If you wish to see the main castles and have lunch in town, expect to pay around  €60. Entrance fee to Palácio da Pena is €14.00, to Castelo dos Mouros €8.00 and to Palácio Nacional de Sintra is €10.00.
  • Good to know | Sintra is a very popular day trip and tends to get really busy during the summer month, that’s why it’s good to start your day as early as possible.  Also, with so many palaces and castles to see, plan your trip accordingly and bring sunscreen, and good walking shoes.
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The central feature of the gardens at The Quinta da Regaleira is the ‘initiation’ well.
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The Moorish Castle in Sintra, Portugal.

 

 

#5. Relax at Ericeira Village 

If you had to take a trip just for delicious seafood and an ultra-cool surfing ambience, Ericeira would be it. Because this little fishing village, located 45 minutes from Lisbon, can unexpectedly surprise you.  Loaded with great restaurants, cafes, Ericeira and beautiful sandy beaches, the town is adorned by Portuguese and can be even used as a base for exploring Sintra, Peniche, Obidos and Azenhas do Mar.

If you are visiting Lisbon in summer, you need to know it gets unbearably hot, but in coastal areas, the weather is much cooler, and you’ll get to enjoy the dramatic coastline. Escaping cities heat and heading to surf town surrounded by stunning beaches is a fantastic idea even if you arent interested in surfing.

You can easily explore the town on foot and seek out beautiful azulejous that Portugal is so famous for. They date back to the 13th century when Moors invaded the country, and you’ll be able to see many of them in Ericeira too.

  • How to get to Ericeira |Ericeira can be easily visited as a day trip from Lisbon by car. The driving distance is around 50 kilometres via A8 and A21. If you don’t feel like renting a car, you can use public transport. The buses depart from Lisbon every 90 minutes and cost EUR 7 one way. Nearby town Mafra is on the same bus route which departs from Campo Grande and takes on  Lisbon-Mafra-Ericeira route.
  • Good to know | Ericeira is a lovely seaside resort town and besides its beaches, surfing activities, restaurants and a few churches, you won’t find any other attractions.
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Ericeira is a charming Portuguese fishing town with a lively nightlife and chilled daytime scene.
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The best surf season in Ericeira is from October to May, but surf schools remain packed throughout summer.

 

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Now, over to you!

Have you ever been on a day trip from Lisbon? Let us know in the comments!

Let us know if you are plotting a visit to Portugal and have travel-related questions!

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Our Crossings follows the daily adventures of Latvian expats living in Sligo as they surf and explore the world

63 thoughts on “5 top-rated day trips from beautiful Lisbon, Portugal you shouldn’t miss

    1. Thank you. Portugal has a fascinating, vast, and very rich history. There are plenty of other good wines in Portugal, and the weather is fantastic. It’s an amazing country to explore. Thanks for stopping by. Aiva

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    1. Thank you, my friend. There are so many reasons to visit Portugal, and its cute little towns are certainly one of them. It can be surprising how a small country as Portugal has such a rich diversity to offer. There aren’t many countries that can provide this variety of delights and experiences with such quality. Thanks for stopping by and have a good day. Aiva

      Liked by 1 person

  1. We have not yet made it to Portugal (or Spain). When the world returns to “normal” we hope to get there. We have friends in Portugal right now, hoping to get home by the end of the month. Thanks for sharing and stay well Aiva. Allan

    Liked by 1 person

    1. You would love Portugal, Allan. It’s an amazing place to visit and has a history, culture, nature, warm climate, and friendly people. For nature, Gerês is the place where you should go. For beaches, the most famous are in the Algarve region. I hope your friends will make it back home to Portugal; it’s the place to be during these uncertain times. Thanks for stopping by and stay safe. Aiva

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Lisbon and its surroundings has pretty much you need for a perfect holiday – historic cities, world-renowned cuisine, natural landscapes, and spectacular beaches. I hope you get to visit one day. Thanks for reading and stay safe. Aiva

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Thank you, Aiva. My younger had planned to travel from Chicago to Portugal in April. But, of course, that adventure was postponed. I’m sure he will visit someday. I’m sending him a link to your website for future reference. Take care!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I’m sorry to hear your sons holiday to Portugal was postponed due to the outbreak. Being home is the best place to be, as non-essential travel has been cancelled all over the world. I wouldn’t want to be stuck in a foreign country without any outbound flights.

      Little by a little pandemic is changing the way we see the world and people around us. My only hope is we come out of it much wiser, more compassionate and caring human beings. Thanks for stopping by and stay safe. Aiva xx

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    1. Hi, Maggie! How are you guys doing today? I hope all is well! One of the things we love about exploring Portugal, you can go from bustling cities to quiet fishing villages, without any tourists, in a matter of time. It’s so easy to find awe-inspiring beaches with no one around. I hope you get to visit one day. Thanks for stopping by and have a good day. Aiva xxx

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    1. We had a chance to visit Faro too and loved every minute of it. As we explored south of Portugal in early spring, we were the only people wandering around, and it was such a memorable experience. Wouldn’t mind going back for much-needed sunshine. Thanks for stopping by and have a good day. Aiva xxx

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      1. We went in the july and its weather was wonderful, we explored to a few towns just a couple of bus rides away. It was incredible and so quiet, I guess where we left the touristy places.
        Agreed, I need some sun too!
        Thanks for the great read 🙂 xxx

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  3. I’ve only been to Sintra on this list, and I wish that I knew about the other villages back when I was in Lisbon! It would’ve been really nice to venture out to see more of Portugal, and your gorgeous photos make me want to return for more!

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    1. Going on a day trip to see what else Portugal has to offer besides beautiful Lisbon, will only add more meaning to your trip. There are lots of Unesco World Heritage Sites, ancient buildings and picture-perfect beaches! Can’t wait for things to go back to normal so we can start travelling again. Thanks for stopping by, Rebecca. I hope all is well with you and your family. Aiva xxx

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  4. I’ve not been to Mafra or Ericeira, Aiva, but I’ve stayed in Cascais and liked it very much. Evora too, and impressive Elvas. I would like to overnight in Sintra because it tends to get crowded in the daytime. Though not at the moment!! Thanks for the ideas 🙂 🙂

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    1. Portugal is one of those countries that just keeps on giving. Staying overnight in Sintra is a great idea because it’s one of the busiest places near Lisbon and big crowds can take away its magic. Can’t wait for fo things to go back to normal, so we can start exploring again. I hope all is well with you! We are making pancakes, reading lots of books and doing puzzles while waiting for the storm to pass. Aiva xxx

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    1. Same here, same here! We can’t wait to see the world again and explore new places. As all our this year’s travels are cancelled and postponed, we are fueling our wanderlust by reading our favourite travel books! Thanks for stopping by and have a good day. Aiva

      Liked by 1 person

    1. I’m sorry to hear your trip to Lisbon was cancelled; it would’ve been an amazing experience to explore Lisbon. Our road trip to Scotland was cancelled too, and we are reading books and licking our wounds. Thanks for stopping by and have a lovely day. Aiva

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    1. Thank you very much! I know the feeling ”so many places to see, so little time, I want to do them all’ very well. Once this pandemic is over and we are allowed to travel again, I am going to fulfil my biggest travel dreams, there’s no way I am waiting for the right time. I hope you guys are doing well considering these uncertain times. Stay safe and positive and thanks for stopping by. Aiva xx

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    1. Exploring Sintra and seeing its beautiful castles is an experience, unlike any other. By now we have been to Portugal countless times, yetI can’t get enough of it. I could easily book a flight just to go and eat all the freshly baked Pastel de Natas. Thanks for stopping by and stay safe. Can’t wait to travel again once this pandemic is over. Aiva

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you kindly, Daniel. The world is such a beautiful place worth exploring, but we have to wait for a while to do it too! I hope all is well with you, considering sweeping pandemic. We are still allowed to go for a walk. It’s not challenging to get away from crowds in rural Ireland, and with a sunny forecast predicted for upcoming days, we are sure to take advantage of it. Thanks for stopping by and stay safe. Aiva

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    1. Hi, Paula! We love Portugal too! Just remembering the time we send swimming and exploring makes me very grateful. Especially considering the pandemic situation. Thanks for stopping by, I hope all is well. Aiva

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  5. I’ve never been to Portugal and it is on the top of my bucket list, so I’m planning a road trip there in September with some friends and I couldn’t be more excited! This post came at the perfect time!! Thanks for sharing 😍

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi, Juliette. Either you are looking to visit its biggest cities or quiet fishing villages, you would love Portugal. In addition to beautiful castles and stunning coastal views, Portugal still remains one of the budget-friendly destinations in Europe. I hope the pandemic crisis will come to an end soon so we can start travelling again. Can’t wait to read all about your trip. Thanks for stopping by and stay safe, my friend. Aiva

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you! Yes, we are forced to stay at home, yet we can still dream and plan and be grateful for all the previous trips. Portugal is our happy place; we love everything about it. Thanks for stopping by and have a good day. Aiva xxx

      Liked by 1 person

  6. Gorgeous Aiva! What beautiful pics you have posted here and in such a great article, so full of important and useful information about a lovely country rich in history and in natural beauty. You really make me want to travel to these places…although Portugal is my neighbour, I have not gone there in a million years and I was planning on going, during these days of Spring, if only there was no pandemic, as I was planning also on visiting your lovely Eyre…in any event, we cannot do anything other than stay home and wait until this is all over…take good care and stay safe. All the best to you,
    Francisco 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you very much for such lovely words, Francisco. For decades, Portugal’s southernmost region has been an alternative to the busy beaches of Spain, beloved for both its stunning scenery and affordability. While you could easily have a great time simply eating and drinking, it’s countries natural wonders and UNESCO sights that are must-see places and sights.

      Although we are not allowed to go anywhere at the moment, we can still be grateful for past trips. I hope you and your family are doing well during the pandemic. Stay safe, my friend. Aiva

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Thank you Aiva, we hope you and your family is safe as well and enduring the best one can through this pandemic. We are all fine, thank God and we are already on our 17th day of the 30 day quarantine, so we are more than half way there and the peak has been reached and cases are going down in Spain…take good care and stay safe and home. And as soon as we can travel, I tell you, I am going to Portugal! Loved your pics and your perfect information. All the best from Spain,
        Francisco

        Liked by 1 person

      2. I’m glad to hear you are doing well. Ireland expects its peak in around two weeks and today we received an email from Ericeiras preschool saying they are staying closed untill April 27th. Don’t really see how kids are going to go back to school until September.

        The weather was dark and moody in the first part of the day, but now the sun is out and we are relaxing in our campervan that’s securely parked in our driveway. Pretending we are somewhere else – definitely helps with wanderlust issues 😂😂😂Have a good evening, Aiva 😊

        Liked by 1 person

      3. That is a good way to spend time and exercise the imagination. Stay well, safe and away from crowds and better home, or in the campervan. That was the way we were able to stop the spread here, although it took a state of alarm order to mandate people to stay home, it is not much of a sacrifice to stay alive and to prevent contamination. All the best to you and your lovely family,
        Love and all the best from Spain,
        Francisco

        Liked by 1 person

  7. Portugal is a top contender for our next trip to Europe and you’ve made me very excited with your beautiful photos and descriptions. That final photo is especially calling out to me today. What a gorgeous coastline. Thanks for the tour Aiva!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Visiting Portugal is like stepping into a dreamy scene. Either you choose to go on a beach holiday or prefer a city break you are going to have heaps of fun. It’s a culturally rich country with many amazing UNESCO sights, and the Portuguese know how to make terrific baked goods too. Thanks for stopping by and have a good day. Aiva

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  8. Really enjoyed this! I’ve been to Lisbon once but spent all of my time in the city. I figured when I go back I’ll take a day trip somewhere but I only ever hear Sintra recommended. It’s useful to mow have a few other options. Thanks!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. You can easily spend a whole week in Lisbon and not get bored. There’s so much to see and do that even after five separate visits we haven’t been able to see it all. I would love to go back one day and explore more of the northern part of the country. I hope you are doing well, considering the pandemic. Thanks for stopping by and have a good day Aiva

      Liked by 1 person

  9. One of the issues with us in visiting Portugal is its relative inaccessibility to the European mainland. If you could choose two places to best connect by rail with Lisbon other than Madrid, what would they be?

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    1. That’s so true! There is one train between Porto and Vigo. Nearest international airport near Vigo is Santiago de Compostela Airport, located 100km away. Or you can fly into Seville and catch a bus to Faro. Eurolines runs all Seville to Faro buses. All Seville to Faro buses is direct, depart from Estación de Autobuses Plaza de Armas and arrive at Faro Terminal Rodoviário bus station. Travelling from Seville to Faro by bus takes as little as 2 hours and 15 minutes to arrive in Faro.

      Thanks for stopping by. I hope all is well with you and your family. Aiva

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  10. I was fortunate enough to see Sintra! Thank you for the reminder too. I’m in quarantine and working on a post about beautiful places to help pass the time. Which brought me to your post! Thank you for the reminder of a beautiful place I loved getting to see.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks so much for stopping by, Brandy! Portugal is an amazing country to explore and there is definitely more to it than Lisbon. We’ve been fortunate to visit many many times and always find something new and exciting to do. Wouldn’t mind going back once more. Have a good day. Aiva

      Liked by 1 person

  11. I visited Portugal for the first time last year and fell in love with the country! I made it out to Sintra, but would love to get back there as soon as we can and visit some of the other places too. Plus, I can’t believe they let bats stay in the library, that’s so funny!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi, Becks and thanks for stopping by! Portugal is our favourite European country and we had plans to go back this autumn, but due to the coronavirus, our plans got cancelled and we are set to explore Ireland instead. Apparently, the bats eat all the little insects that invade the library and damage the books. At the University of Coimbra in central Portugal, there are bats in the library too, snapping up bugs. Thanks for reading and have a good day. Love your blog! Aiva

      Liked by 1 person

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