The capital of Portugal has seen a sudden rise in popularity over the last few years, and it is easy to see why. Its cheerful and colorful colonial architecture, thriving nightlife and stunning and accessible nearby coastline mean it lets old European lovers make their money.
There is plenty of possible diversion to the city center, from hopping and getting out of the trams raging along cobbled streets, to soaking up the sun and tasting the freshest seafood from one of the many bars on the side of the street.
Then, after you are filled with great food eating, surfing the churches, photographing all the beautiful buildings and visiting the local castle, check out some of these day trips to add something special to your trip to Lisbon.
1. Palace and Park turned
Pena’s Legendary Palace is perched on a rocky outcrop between the Sinatra hills.
The second highest point in the landscape, the views from here will be stunning even without the magnificent and multi-colored palace that dominates the façade.
Today a national monument, Fanya Palace is a former Hieronymite monastery, built in the early sixteenth century and then purchased and renovated by King Ferdinand II in the 18th century.
The site was granted UNESCO World Heritage status in 1995, as part of Sinatra’s cultural landscape.
2. Cabo de Roca and Cascais
Visit the westernmost point of Europe on this day trip to Roca Cape, as well as take the opportunity to explore the mystique of the palace at Cinta de Regalera.
The gothic façade of this magnificent building is visually appealing, but the real treat is in the gardens behind the residence.
Inspired by myth and legend, the vast areas include secret passages and include great symbolism.
While you are around, take a look at the attractive name Halmoth, and stop at the former royal refuge towns, Kaskais and Astoril.
These two in times past were the favorite holiday places of the nobility.
3. Fatima and Nazara
Fatima of Religious Meaning is the site where it is said that the appearance of our Lady of Fatima appeared before two shepherd children in the early 20th century.
Find out more about the story in the Chapel of Revelation and the nearby Holy Trinity Cathedral, as well as a glimpse into the former shepherds’ house.
From there, you can continue to Nazaré for a completely different kind of tour: Nazare is famous for its waves and attraction to surfers around the world.
Here McNamara won the world record for the biggest wave ever surfed.
See if you can spot others trying to outdo it.
4. Geronimos Monastery
Geronimus Monastery is extensive enough that it is well worth a full day trip from Lisbon.
This magnificent example of ancient architecture was given the status of a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1983. Located near the Tagus River, the monastery was commissioned in the late 15th century by King Manuel I to honor our Lady and St. Jerome.
The building has since undergone many incarnations, and served as a school and orphanage for about a century before becoming a national monument in the 19th century.
Explore further towards the Extremadura region of Portugal, and on the way you will cross the longest bridge in Europe, the Vasco da Gama Bridge.
This area is a great place to explore the quieter places: have lunch at the peaceful fishing village of Sesimbra, where you can of course taste some excellent seafood from today’s catch.
This is a great place to take in the atmosphere and just relax; Stroll along the coast of the village and just see the world go by.
You can also visit the village’s beautifully restored main church, or make the trek up the hill to Sesimbra Castle.
If you have time on the way back, you can also stop at the Cristo Rei statue in Alameda, which provides spectacular views over Lisbon.
The historic medieval village of Ovid is definitely worth a day trip of its own.
Without a doubt one of the most preserved ancient cities in Portugal, visitors will enjoy the cobbled streets and sun-painted houses.
Ovid has a fascinating history: it was founded a few hundred years before Jesus, it was conquered by the Portuguese king Alfonso I in the twelfth century, and in the eighteenth century it was a favorite holiday spot for royalty.
Key points of interest include the Posada de Ovidos, the city gate, the Church of St. Peter and the Church of St. Mary, which was formerly used as a mosque.
7. Cheleiros and Bucelas wine regions
For a trip to this intimate wine tour, head out to the wine regions north of Lisbon for a fun day of sampling Portugal’s best grapes, including the “Prince of Portuguese Wines”. The cellars you visit along the way will allow you to try some of the rarest wines that Portugal has to offer, including one that has become extinct in many wineries.
Along with a sip of wine, you will get delicious local breads and olive oils.
During the tour you will also learn about the history of the area, like the stories of the famous Portuguese explorer Vasco da Gama.
You will also have the opportunity to admire the stunning countryside and beautiful villages as you make your way north.
8. Wine tasting at Stubal
If a wine-based trip in the north was not enough for you, good grapes are also offered in the south of the region.
Visit the perfect Azeitão, located in the Stubble municipality, famous for both its wines and cheeses – a good combination in everyone’s books! You may also get to taste other local delicacies, like sweets.
Tour around three different wine cellars and in between, prepare yourself for some spectacular mountain views in and around Arabida Nature Park.
9. Kayaking in Arrábida National Park
For something a little different from the usual leisurely tours, why not take a kayak trip to Arabida National Park? Explore its natural beauty and admire the views straight from the water as you cut into its serene river systems.
On this exciting day tour you will have the opportunity to discover many hidden caves and water entrances, and if you wish you can pack a picnic to eat at one of the secluded beaches.
This is an idyllic way to spend a day.
10. History of Wellington
For anyone who wants to brush up on their knowledge of local history, this is a great day trip option from Lisbon.
From Lisbon you can easily visit the strategically important Torres Vedras lines – a fortification system combined with an ingenious communication system.
These were an integral part of the defense of Lisbon in the nineteenth century.
To learn in more detail about the peninsula wars, which lasted from 1807 to 1814, you can access the Torres Vedras Museum and the Vimeiro Interpretation Center.
The tour can be booked here: Private tour of Wellington Full day
11. Knights Templar
A truly fascinating day trip from an experience from Lisbon is this time travel, back to the days of the Knights Templar.
Visit the villages of Kostança and Tomer and explore their historical beauty, and learn about the intriguing story of the holy order of the warrior monks.
Tomar hosts the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Tomar Monastery, an important building on one of the most important Templar sites in Europe at the time.
The stunning Almorol Castle is also a short walk away, another monument that is simultaneously ruled by the Knights Templar.
12. Evora and Palma
Evora’s World Heritage Site is worth a visit for many reasons.
Medieval walls surround the city, and within the city limits sit fascinating sites like the Chapel of the Bones, filled with real human remains; The magnificent Church of St. Francis; And the Roman Temple.
Once filled with beautiful architecture, you can take time to sample some of the region’s local wines in the spectacular surroundings of Elentaho.
On your way back, there will be some time to stop at the impressive medieval castle of Palmela.
Take a trip back through the ages as you visit the historic village of Ashtray for the day.
The highlight, and the main reason to visit the village, is the intriguing Ashtray Palace, the largest Baroque palace built in the 18th century.
Sponsored by Brazilian gold, this significant building spans nearly four hectares, and includes the longest tunnel ever built in the palace.
You will be amazed at its sheer size – you certainly can not miss it.
The second city of Lisbon Porto is the highlight of any trip in Portugal, and within easy reach for a day trip.
Although it is definitely worth a separate trip on its own, its highlights can also be done on a day trip from Lisbon if you lack time.
On a day tour you can wander the beautiful streets of Porto and check out its main attractions, from the Cathedral, to Dos Eliados Avenue, to Liberada Square and the bridge of Dom Luis I. Take your time to stroll along the Riviera district by the river, with its charming cobbled and winding streets.
Inevitably you will also need to take time to sample one of the city’s most famous exports: Fort Fortified Wine.
15. Aviro and Ilhabu
For a day food tour, what better place to choose than the home of the Portuguese delicacy, codfish? In Ilbo you will experience a unique museum dedicated to this delicious fish, where cod is displayed in a large container.
Once the food of the poor, cod has now evolved to be a symbol of class, and a major component of Portuguese cuisine, especially at special occasions like Christmas.
On your way back you can also visit the Venice of Portugal, Aveiro, where you should definitely try the dreamy and ceramic egg pastries that are a local specialty.
Where to stay: The best hotels in Lisbon, Portugal
Guarantee the lowest price.