Things to do in Sesimbra and Setubal

The small beach resort of Sesimbra and larger fishing town of Setubal make for a great alternative destination for a Portuguese holiday. This guide will detail the top things to do in the Sesimbra and Setubal region. To make the most of a Setubal Sesimbra holiday it is recommended to hire car as there is very limited public transport in the region.

Things to do - Go to the Regions Beaches

Setubal and Sesimbra offer a varied selection of picturesque beaches. The Praia do Figueirinha is the most natural stunning by being set in the midst of the Parque da Arrabida national park. To the northwest is the Praia da Lagoa de Albufeira, three huge lagoons that open onto a great surfing beach. Setubal's best beach is across the Sado Estuary on the Troia Peninsula and here golden sands stretch for miles.

Praia dos Coelhos

The soft sands of the Albarquel beach

Things to do - Eat Fresh Fish at the Restaurants of Setubal

Fishing is Setubal's main industry and every day the fresh catch is served in the many great restaurants that line the harbour. The fish served is exceptional value and always guaranteed to be as fresh as physically possible. The restaurants tend to conjugate along the western edge of the Avenida Luisa Todi with each displaying the days fresh catch.

Hiking in the Serra da Arrabida

The Arrabida national park offers some fantastic hiking trails through the pine covered hills of the Serra da Arrabida. Popular signed hiking routes from depart from the north eastern town of Palmela or around the Convento da Arrabida. These shorter hikes provide stunning views over the Sado estuary.

Arrabida national park

The lush forests of the Arrabida national park

Things to do - Sesimbra Nightlife

Sesimbra is a favourite with Lisbon's population of a reason; there are great bars, fine restaurants and a surprisingly buzzing nightlife for such a small town. Friday and Saturdays are always the busiest but mid-week in the bars is more personal and social.

Hunting for Setubal's Dolphins

The Sado estuary is home to a growing population of bottle-nose dolphins and half day boat cruises go in search of these elusive animals. Even if the dolphins are not spotted it is a pleasant trip.

fishing fleet  Setubal

The colourful fishing fleet of Setubal

The estuary is part of the Natural do Estuário do Sado, which has greatly improved over the last few years and now colonies of birds including flamingos have started to thrive. To read a guide about the boat tours please click here.

Explore The Stunning Castle of Palmela

The Castelo de Palmela stands high above the plains of central Portugal on the eastern most edge of Serra da Arrabida. Palmela castle commands amazing panoramic views and is a perfectly maintained castle that is surprisingly untouristy. In the castle the battlements, church and keep can be fully explored but the main draw are the wonderful views over central Portugal.

Castelo de Palmela

The anceint Castelo de Palmela

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Sesimbra & Setubal