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Enjoy!

4 Day Trips to Take From Lisbon

4 Day Trips to Take From Lisbon

This past June, my friend Fi and I spent a week exploring the picturesque country, Portugal. Lively cities, medieval castles, pristine beaches, and delectable food-- Portugal has a lot to offer. We were based in Lisbon, but ventured out to explore a few surrounding areas.

Here are 4 day trips to take from Lisbon:

Praia do Ribeiro do Cavalo

How to Get There?

When I was preparing for my trip to Portugal I reached out to a few friends for suggestions. My friend Felix raved about Praia do Cavalo! He described it as paradise, said it is less crowded and touristic compared to other Lisboa beaches, but cautioned that it is a bit far and hard to reach (I will come back to this later).

My friends and I took an Uber from the Baixio Chiado neighborhood to Praia do Ribeiro de Cavalo. It was about an hour drive and it cost 37 euros (9.25 euros per person). The beach is in a remote area where cell service was non-existent. We all had a "oh crap" moment, and realized that we probably wouldn't be able to request an Uber back because of the spotty service. Our awesome driver offered to pick us up if we gave him a specified time.

Now back to the "it's a bit far and hard to reach" statement my friend made. I thought he was referring to the hour long commute it took to get to the beach, but nope! He was referring to the 30 minute hike down to the beach area, which he failed to mention! When we got out the car to start walking to the beach, we were greeted by tons of signs reminding us how unstable the cliffs are. The path to the beach wasn't the easiest to navigate, but we made a few friends along the way and we helped each other climb some of the more difficult patches.

Driving on the 25 de Abril bridge!

What to Bring?

  •  Sneakers - Since my friend didn't mention the intense hike to the beach, most of us weren't prepared. I brought my swim sneakers with me, but the rest of my friends wore flip flops, which made hiking incredibly challenging for them.
  • Food & Water - There are no businesses within close proximity to Ribeiro de Cavalo. We bought sandwiches and water in Lisbon. Trust that the hike and the heat will make you hungry and thirsty.
  • Sunscreen & Sunglasses - No explanation needed.
  • Beach towel- As mentioned, there are no businesses, so you must bring any essential items with you.
  • Miscellaneous items- Beach umbrella and animal floats! As someone who was in Portugal for a limited time, I wasn't keen on buying a beach umbrella or a float for a day trip, but there were many people who had these items (kudus to them for hiking with that stuff). One of our Portuguese friends we made on the way down to the beach kindly let us borrow her swan float.
We hiked back up with our new friends from London!

We hiked back up with our new friends from London!

Overall, the surprise intense hike to the beach was a very special experience, and it made us enjoy it even more! The good news is the hike back was way easier!


Sintra

Sintra looks like a scene from your favorite fairytale. This resort town is nestled in the pine-covered hills of Serra de Sintra.

How to Get There?

The train to Sintra departs Lisbon from the Rossio train station, which is located in central Lisbon. It is about a 45 min ride and costs 4,30 euros. It's a popular route, so expect the train to be crowded. We were there between 1pm-7pm and were able to see most of the main attractions.

How to See Sintra?

When we arrived at the Sintra train station, we were annoyingly haggled by people trying to sell us tours. There are three main ways to see Sintra: public buses, city sightseeing hop-on/hop-off buses, and private driver. Since we got to Sintra in the afternoon, we didn't want to be at the mercy of bus schedules, so we decided to go with a private driver. I highly suggest you speak to multiple drivers before committing to one. Just when we were about to go with one guy, we saw a man with a sign that advertised tours for 10 euros cheaper. We ended up going with Ana's Adventures in Sintra with Ruben as our guide. We customized our tour and paid 20 euros each (not including admission prices for some of the attractions). Some people prefer to see Sintra in a Jeep or Tuk Tuk, but we were fine in the car. 

Sights to See

Moorish Castle

The Moorish Castle is a military fort built around the 10th century by the Muslim populations that lived in the area. It served as a control tower for the Atlantic coast and land to the north. Per the suggestion of our guide, we didn't go inside to see the castle, but we walked around the castle's lush grounds.

Moorish Castle

Pena Palace

The Pena Palace is a Romanticist castle built in 1836. I was obsessed with the castle's bright bold colors. We didn't go inside the castle, we just bought a ticket (7,50 euros) to explore it's perimeter.

Cabo Da Roca

Cabo da Roca is the westernmost point of Europe. Although it was really windy, it was nice to soak up this glorious view.

Cabo da Roca

Things to Eat

Please don't leave Sintra without trying Queijadas! It's a local treat made with a mixture of flour, sugar, egg yolk, fresh cheese (unsalted) and cinnamon. I could eat these all day!

Queijadas de Sintra

Porto

Porto is a coastal city in Portugal famous for it's Port wine, which I couldn't taste because of my wine allergy :-(. It is the second largest city after Lisbon.

Porto, Portugal

How to Get There?

We caught the train at Lisboa Santa Apolonia station to the Porto Campanha station. The ride was 2.5 hours, and the ticket was 49,50 euros. The trains were WiFi equipped!

Sights to See

Beautiful Buildings

We spent a lot of our time walking through Porto and admiring the stunning tile designs on the residential buildings.

Dom Luís I Bridge

This iconic double-decker bridge spans the Douro river and connects Vila Nova de Gaia and Porto. For the best views of Porto, walk to the Gaia side of the bridge. If you aren't allergic to wine, you should visit the Port wine houses in Gaia.

Dom Luís I Bridge

Church of Saint Ildefonso

This 18th century church has a beautiful exterior decorated with blue and white ceramic tiles.

Livraria Lello

Livraria Lello is considered to be one of the most beautiful bookstores in the world. Unfortunately, we arrived 10 minutes after they closed. But the security guard did allow me to take one picture from the outside. J.K. Rowling lived in Porto for 10 years, and was a frequent visitor of the bookstore. It is rumored that Livraria Lello served as inspiration for Hogwarts.

São Bento Railway Station

São Bento Railway Station is the most beautiful railway station I've been in. Inside it has intricate tile work that highlights key events in Porto's history.

What to Eat?

Francesinha

Francesinha, or "little Frenchie" is a Portuguese sandwich that originated in Porto. It's a meat lover's dream! It contains bread, wet-cured ham, linguiça, fresh sausage, steak or roast meat, and is smothered with melted cheese and a hot thick tomato and beer sauce. It's definitely not something I would eat everyday, but it was tasty!


Belém 

Belém is a district in western Lisbon. It is a cultural and monumental center as it has the largest concentration of museums in Portugal.

How to Get There?

Belém is not on a metro route. We took the 15E tram from Baixia Chiado and arrived in about 30 minutes.

Sights to See

Jerónimos Monastery

This monastery is one of the most visited attractions in Lisbon and is a UNESCO Heritage site.

MAAT Museum

The Museum of Art, Architecture, and Technology was phenomenal! The museum was very interactive. If you are looking for a cool experience, you can sleep at the MAAT. One of the art installations is a domestic space that is listed on AirBnB.

Monument to the Discoveries

This monument is a tribute to some of the most famous Portuguese Navigators.

What to Eat?

Pasteis de Belém

As my friend so eloquently put, Pasteis de Belém is the Cafe DuMonde of Portugal, a.k.a you have to eat here. They are famous for their custard tarts, pasteis.

Pasteis de Belém

I thoroughly enjoyed my time exploring Portugal and loved how easy it was to navigate to different areas from Lisbon.

Have you been to any of these cities? Which one was your favorite?

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