During my 1-month long stay in Lisbon in November 2020, I was able to take it slow and enjoy some day trips from Lisbon, Belem, to be more specific, where the Airbnb was located. I was lucky enough to be in Lisbon just before the strict lockdown and the rainy winter days start, therefore, to have the popular sites all for myself, it was fun and exclusive experience for me, because I never really enjoyed the crowdedness and overtourism.
Lisbon is a great city for day trips, even outside renting a car. Public transport is great in Greater Lisbon Region. There are quite a few urban beaches within reach along the Lisbon-Cascais train ride, the Moorish castles in Sintra are also just one hour away by train. Train connections in Portugal may not be the most convenient but around Lisbon area, trains work quite well, plus Uber is popular, you can easily find one from the train station to some remote beaches.
Here is a list of day trips I’ve done during my stay in Lisbon:
Due to its rich history, you find a mixture of architecture style in Sintra, Neo-Gothic, Neo-Islamic, Neo-Renaissance, Moorish Castle etc. There are several sites worth visiting, for those who have more time, I’d suggestion at least staying overnight in Sintra. I’ve been to Sintra before and visited the famous colorful Pena Palace. This time, I did a day trip to the mysterious Initiation Well inside Quinta da Regaleira, and I liked it more than Pena, partly because of far fewer tourists in 2020. You can take a train from several train stations in Lisbon (I took one from Benfica Station), train tickets are extremely cheap, only 3ish euro for a return trip!
- Praia de Galapinhos
Beaches along Parque Natural da Arrábida are all remote and idyllic, in the summer it can get full but in November it’s calm. In times when we can’t travel outside Europe, this gave me a feeling of tropical holiday. From Setubal you can easily find a Uber there, in the summer months, access isn’t possible for private vehicles though, there should be alternative shuttle bus service available. From Lisbon you can take a train to Setubal.
Nazaré is another popular coastal city in Portugal, it’s famous for its huge waves, sometimes waves can go up to 100 ft! Remember to check the wave report to watch the big wave. I took a public bus from Lisbon to Nazaré.
- Praia do Guincho
If you are planning to check out Cascais, well, also consider drop by Praia do Guincho, one of my favourite beaches in Europe, it’s raw and remote. I took a Uber from Cascais, there are plenty of them available.
- Costa da Caparica
Not so many people are talking about Costa da Caparica, but it’s one of the most popular local beach, with 26km coastline, great surf beach, the region is also famous for its surf schools. Take a ferry from Belem, you can even use the Lisbon Viva card to take the ferry.