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Day trip to Sesimbra (1 day itinerary and tour)

Sesimbra is a charming resort town that is adored by the Portuguese and is famed for its seafood. Sesimbra is situated in a region of outstanding natural beauty with the hills of the Serra de Arrábida to the east and the dramatic cliffs of the Cabo Espichel to the west. Within the town is a busy fishing port, a delightful fort, a wonderful sandy bay and an ancient castle that provides fantastic views over the region.

The Praia da Califórnia in Sesimbra

The Praia da Califórnia in Sesimbra

Sesimbra makes for an enjoyable day trip from Lisbon and is connected by a reliable and inexpensive bus service. Those visitors with rental car, can explore the region surrounding Sesimbra as part of the day trip, and this area contains many fascinating tourist attractions. In the hot summer months most visitors head to Sesimbra for the beaches of the Serra de Arrábida, which are considered as some of the finest in Portugal.

This article will provide a guide to a day trip to Sesimbra from Lisbon, including suggested itinerates (for visitors with and without a rental car), details of the sights and travel information.

Suggested itinerary for a day trip to Sesimbra visitors who have a rental car

The following is a suggested 1-day itinerary for a day trip to Sesimbra. Due to the limited public transport around Sesimbra a rental car is required for this itinerary.

• Drive from Lisbon, crossing the Ponte 25 de Abril suspension bridge

• Cabo Espichel – unique pilgrimage church, dinosaur footprints and dramatic cliffs (1hour)

• Castelo de Sesimbra – Moorish castle with amazing views (30 minutes)

• Sesimbra town – Glorious beaches, fishing harbour enjoyable town (1 hour)

• Shellfish lunch in a Marisqueira restaurant – head to the backstreets of Sesimbra to find where the locals eat

• Drive through the rolling hills of the Serra de Arrábida – follow the scenic N379 road for stunning views (40minutes), for a guide to the Serra de Arrábida please click here.

• Praia da Figueirinha and Praia do Creiro – Two beautiful beaches at the base of the Serra de Arrábida hills (1 hour, or longer)

• Wine tasting at Bacalhoa Vinhos de Portugal or Jose Maria da Fonseca – (1 hour) (Portugal has very strict drinking laws if you are the driver don’t drink! )

• On way home stop at the Cristo Rei to watch the sunset

This is a very busy itinerary and it may be advisable to split it into two days, with Cabo Espichel in day one and the Serra de Arrábida in day two. Also, the day trip could include sections of Setubal; for a guide to a Setubal day trip please click here.

Sesimbra castle views

The view from Sesimbra castle

Day trip to Sesimbra using public transport

This itinerary details a suggested day trip for Sesimbra which is based around public transport.

• Catch the bus from Lisbon to Sesimbra (details later on) (45minutes)

• From the bus station walk to the beach front, passing the Park Jardim Público and Câmara Municipal (20min)

• Visit the Fortaleza Santiago fort, which overlooks the two beaches of Sesimbra (20min)

• Museo do Mar (€3.00 entrance, closed Mondays) which details the fishing heritage of Sesimbra (30min)

• Walk along the beach promenade passed the Praia do Ouro to the Porto do Abrigo fishing harbour

• On the return stop at one of the many beachfront cafes.

• Hike up to the Castelo de Sesimbra; the footpath starts from the Rua do Valparaíso (GPS: 38.45009, -9.10426) (30 min it’s a steep climb)

• Explore the Castelo de Sesimbra a (guide here)

• Have a delicious shellfish lunch in a Marisqueira restaurant in the centre of Sesimbra.

• Catch the bus to Cabo Espichel (see details later on)

• At the Cabo Espichel, visit the Igreja de Nossa Senhora do Cabo and the Ermida da Memória, which perches on the edge of the towering cliffs.

Cabo Espichel church

• Visit either the Cabo Espichel lighthouse or the dinosaur footprints (Monumento Natural da Pedra da Mua) but don’t miss the only bus back to Sesimbra.

• Catch bus back to Sesimbra

• If you do not wish to go to Cabo Espichel consider joining one of the boat tours which depart from the fishing harbour.

• Relax on the Praia da Califórnia beach after a busy day of sightseeing

• Catch bus back to Lisbon

In the hot summer months visiting both the Castelo de Sesimbra and the Cabo Espichel maybe too much for one day.

Sesimbra castle views

The Praia do Ouro in Sesimbra

Visiting Cabo Espichel using public transport

The Cabo Espichel are the dramatic cliffs at the south-western tip of the Setúbal Peninsula. This barren and wild coastline is completely different to peaceful Sesimbra, and is an enjoyable addition to a Sesimbra day trip. There is very limited public transport from Sesimbra to the Cabo Espichel, with just a single suitable daily connection.

The 205 bus service (operated by TST) departs Sesimbra bus station at 13:50, and the 201 bus departs Cabo Espichel at 15:30 (correct Nov17). This gives around 1 hour to explore Cabo Espichel, and is just enough time to visit the church and lighthouse or the church and dinosaur footprints (but not all three). The bus runs seven days a week but please don’t miss the connection as it is either a walk to Azóia or expensive taxi fare to Sesimbra. The latest bus timetables are displayed in Sesimbra bus station and can be seen on the TST website:

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Lisbon to Sesimbra

Lisbon is connected to Sesimbra by the 207 and 260 bus routes. In Lisbon the buses depart from Praça de Espanha bus station, which is connected to the blue metro line by the Praça de Espanha metro station. The bus tickets are purchased from the driver and a single costs €3.95. For the latest timetable, please see the TST website:

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