Lisbon itself is a beautiful city. However, if you are in Lisbon for more than a few days I definitely urge you to get out and explore a little further. I was lucky enough to be staying in a hostel that had the perfect day trip available as a small added extra when booking. It included the few places I’d read about and was dying to go to, complete with adorably passionate and talkative Portuguese local guide.
Lisbon – Belem
In one of my previous posts I mentioned that visiting Belem and eating a world famous custard tart was one the the top things to do in Lisbon. Naturally, when we saw this day trip included a stop at the Pasteis de Belem we were sold! While our small group of day-tour mates munched on one of the delicious custard tarts, we opted for the ‘6 for 3’ bundle to last us the rest of the trip (or the rest of the day…). While only a quick stop in the morning of the tour, it is well worth stocking up on these culinary delights.
Belem – Cascais Beach
Driving along the coastline from Lisbon and Belem we eventually hit Cascais. Cascais beach is a beautiful (and somewhat deserted in mid May) beach with gorgeous views of the mountain ahead. As an Australian who misses the beach and the sand every day, even though it was a little cooler than we would have liked, I threw off my shoes and ran along the sand, much to the dismay of some of the others on the tour. Cascais is extremely popular in Summer as it is a pretty coastal town, close to Lisbon and perfect for locals on holiday. I’m definitely planning a trip back in Summer to properly take advantage of the white beaches and finally get my tan back! (or actually get a tan, some might say…)
Cascais – Cabo De Roca
As the day tour continues on we were met with a surprise as we pulled into Cabo De Roca, the western most point of continental Europe. There are beautiful views as you can imagine, and just something special about saying you have been to this point.
Cabo de Roca – Sintra
The last stop on the day trip is the main event – Sintra. Often called the Portugese Riveria, Sintra is the gorgeous little fairy tale town with more than just a couple castles and mansions. Pena Palace is the most popular and well known castle in Sintra. It stands at the top of a hill on the Sintra mountains and includes massive gardens surrounding the castle. The classic castle is very photogenic with bright primary colours peaking out at you as you walk up the hill- perfect for that insta-worthy shot of the day.
From Pena Palace you can even catch a glimpse of the Castle of the Moors, the hilltop medieval castle built in the 8th and 9th century.
But my favourite was the Quinta Da Regaleira, a magical and mysterious castle that’s castle gardens are more intriguing than the castle itself. The entire grounds were built specifically to act as an ‘adult’s play ground’ even with mazes and wells and caves and stone crossings.
Check out my previous post completely dedicated to this mysterious fairy tale place complete with mazes, moss, turrets and waterfalls.