Portugal entails more than 900kms of coastline where one can find paradise beaches and enjoy the diverse landscape that mixes extensive shores and noticeable cliffs, as you’ll have the opportunity to witness throughout this tour. We’ll start by revisiting millions years of History through the footprints of dinosaurs that are visible on the cliff of Cabo Espichel, located near the village of Sesimbra. At the cape one can visit the Sanctuary of Nossa Senhora do Cabo Espichel, as well as ruins of forts, such as that of São Domingos da Baralha.
Moving on to visit Sesimbra, a fishing village which shelters delightful beaches mainly for those who practice water sports. It was built around the Castle of the Moors conquered by D. Afonso Henriques in 1165. Visiting the castle provides a spectacular view over the village and the sea around this region. We’ll then head to one of the best kept secrets in Europe - Arrábida Natural Park – where the semi-natural beach of Galapinhos is situated. Galapinhos was recently nominated as the best beach in Europe by the European Best Destination.
While exploring the Natural Park, one can find the famous Portinho da Arrábida, which also shelters paradise beaches. Driving towards this small port is often a must Sunday walk for Portuguese families who want to drive away from Lisbon to enjoy this unique landscape. When driving here, one must stop in the city center of Setúbal to taste the region’s fresh fish, seafood and the traditional kind of fried squeed served at every restaurant.
This is where we stop for a lunch break before heading to Palmela and Azeitão. These neighboring regions’ gastronomy is extremely rich as some of the best cheese and wine in Portugal are produced here, such as Piriquita or Moscatel de Setúbal. Azeitão, in particular, is also known for its delicious cakes – tortas de azeitão – and it was indeed its gastronomic richness and natural beauty that made the region very attractive for some of the noblest families in Portugal to settle here. These families built the fantastic farmhouses and palaces that are part of Azeitão’s current landscape, such as Quinta da Bacalhoa established by the King João I in the 15th century.
When returning to Lisbon, we’ll drive by the Portuguese version of Christ the Redeemer – our own Cristo Rei - which can be seen from far as it measures in height. Dedicated to the Sacred Heart of Jesus, its foundation started on December 18th, 1949 and lasted 10 years. Several fundraising campaigns contributed to Cristo Rei Sanctuary opening celebration on May 17, 1959. The Monument, which is also a Sanctuary, is one of the best viewpoints in Lisbon.
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