Do you want to get out of the city centre and find the best places and villages around Lisbon to get deeper in touch with Portuguese culture? Then we will share our favorite spots around Lisbon where we usually go with our family or friends. If you want to know also what to visit around Porto check our other blog post.
Portugal’s varied geography ranges from the verdant mountains and vineyards to the rolling farmland and medieval villages. So in just one hour from Lisbon you can find yourself in a completely different atmosphere and feel the weight of Portuguese history and traditions.
We already wrote about Romantic Sintra so this time we’re mentioning some least crowded and not so famous spots.
How to visit Évora from Lisbon
Évora is just 1-hour drive from Lisbon and, although is a small town in the Alentejo plains, its worth a visit. With more than 2 000 years, Évora was one of the most important Iberian cities under Roman rule. Today, Évora has a well-preserved Old Town, sheltering more than 4 000 historic structures, including old Roman walls and temples. The 13th century Cathedral of Évora, one of Portugal’s most important Gothic structures, is another big highlight. The macabre Bones Chapel is decorated with bones from more than 5 000 people that are artistically and impressively exposed.
If you happen to love stillness and a slow paced living style, than go further deep into Alentejo. Travel through its almost deserted roads and feel its plains and hills, seeing, from time to time, a house splashed in the landscape. The villages with a few hundred inhabitants are walled with whitewashed houses and paved floors.
If you love pre-historic monuments, not far outside the city is Europe’s largest complex of prehistoric megaliths. Just remember that during the summer, the weather is always more extreme than the weather in Lisbon and it can be quite hot during the day.
Óbidos – Go west and travel to medieval times
Óbidos history is as beautiful as the place. It is one of the most beautiful and preserved villages in Portugal with its citadel encircled and protected by an old fortified stone wall.
Located on a hilltop in the Centro Region of western Portugal, Óbidos with its magnificent medieval castle is a travel machine. You walk in a labyrinth of narrow, cobbled streets that leads you along busy squares, inviting cafes, quaint shops and whitewashed houses spruced with colorful flowers. The castle with its commanding quarter, huge gates, towers and battlements, is now a luxurious hotel and a marvel to behold.
The big wall used to provide soldiers a way displace quickly along the fortification. Today visitors use this path of 1.5 km to circle around the city with spectacular views in every direction and it’s the best way to enjoy the citadel architecture.
Óbidos is just 80 km north of Lisbon and there are plenty of buses and excursions in that direction.
Óbidos deserves, at least, a full day. It takes time to truly taste the village, its precious medieval architecture, food, wines and, specially, its history.
Why did the chicken cross the river?
To visit Tagus River south bank. On the other side of the river you get the best Lisbon views. Cristo Rei (King Christ) Statue is probably the most iconic place to visit since it’s seen from all over Lisbon and from up there you can see the entire city and River Tagus bay and mouth. Sunsets in Spring and Summer are astonishing from there since you can see the sun laying at Atlantic horizon. There are also some more incredible view points like:
This beautiful 18th century house, is a contemporary art centre where exhibitions are held. From its magnificent gardens it is possible to enjoy the view over Lisbon and Tagus River.
The panoramic lift takes you 50 m down until the River Garden, where you find the Pipa Fountain and the Naval Museum. From the belvedere you enjoy an amazing view over Lisbon.
The scenic overlook of Almada’s Castle, built during the Arab occupation, give us stunning views of Lisbon’s seven hills.
The surrounding environment, overlooking the sea, surrounded by pleasant gardens, away from the hustle and bustle of the great centers, just a few minutes from Lisbon, makes the Convento dos Capuchos a must visit for lovers of heritage and nature. The privileged location you can contemplate Lisbon, Sintra Mountain, Cascais Bay, Bugio, S. Julião Tower, Arrábida Mountain and Cabo Espichel. The simplicity and frugality of the building reflect the principles of the Franciscan friars. Today, more than 400 years later, the Capuchin Convent has the stillness and peace, perfect for meditation sought by its first inhabitants.
Most people discover Arrábida by accident getting or following wrong directions on their GPS. Suddenly you’ll find yourself facing crystalline waters surrounded by vegetation and white sand that will make you look again to you device, while thinking you’ve ended up in Sardinia. The hikes around the mountains and hills are completely embraced by nature and the end is almost a dream. You’ll find beautiful and protected sandy beaches that you’ll make you think you caught a plane to the Caribbean’s, except, of course, the water temperature.
The sea urchins gave the village its name are making a come back to Portuguese gastronomy. Ericeira become famous worldwide for its surf quality waves. But, besides surf, is also best known for the great and fresh grilled fish and sea food, especially lobster, raised in nurseries along the coast rocky.
Ericeira is a charming village, located about 30 kilometers west of Lisbon and still retains a beautiful historical part, labyrinthine streets and an excellent fishing port.
With a history that dates back to the Phoenicians, Ericeira was the most important port of the region during the 19th century and in 1910, while the Republic was being proclaimed in Lisbon, King D. Manuel II was fleeing to exile from from the Fishermen’s Beach.
The quality of the beach and surf made Ericeira one of the first surfing reserves in the world. So if you’re into surfing or willing to give it a try, you must visit Ribeira d’Ilhas beach, the mecca of surfing.
Distinguished as one of the most “cool” European villages Ericeira is fashionable and recommended. More than a simple typical Portuguese fishing village, you must look down while walking in Ericeira. You’ll step on the most beautiful displays of Portuguese Calçada art. Looking up, you’ll find buildings covered with traditional Portuguese tiles.
If you need some extra pointers or some other region or cities near Lisbon that you want to know more, just send us an email.