8-days Lisbon area round trip
On this trip we discover the trending capital of Portugal, Lisbon, the castles of Sintra and the beaches and coast by the charming village of Cascais.
Highlights on this trip
8-days´ round trip in the Lisbon area
Day 1: Arrive in Lisbon and take the metro/Uber to your hotel
Day 2: Lisbon
Day 3: Lisbon
Day 4: Go by train to Cascais (25 minutes). Bike along the Atlantic coast
Day 5: Go by bus or Uber to Sintra (30 minutes)
Day 6: Discover the castles of Sintra
Day 7: Cabo da Roca and Praia Ursa
Day 8: Leaving Lisbon
Arrive and discover Lisbon
You have 2 full days in Lisbon and that gives you enought time to discover the most famous parts of the city. On your first day you are probably curious of the very city center of Lisbon and why not start to discover this lovely city by foot?
Walking the streets and hills of Lisbon
Following this walking guide takes you past all the lovely quartiers of Lisbon passing by all the famous spots and some great restaurants.
Start at the large square by the river Tajo at Praca do Comercio and walk east to the bairro Alfama, the oldest part of Lisbon. Then head upwards to Castelo de Sao Jorge.
"The Alfama is a lovely lush part of Lisbon with
stonecobbled narrow streets and lots of restaurants, bars and cafés."
The Alfama is a lovely lush part of Lisbon with trees along the narrow streets and lots of restaurants, bars and cafés. Stop by on your way up at the Miradouro de Santa Luzia and admire the views.
It is well worth it to enter the Castelo de Sao Jorge. From the terraces around the castel you have stunning views of Lisbon and the Ponte 25 de Abril bridge. The bridge is more or less a copy of San Fransisco´s famous Golden Gate bridge.
After visiting the Castelo head down to Martim Moniz to go with the tram number 28 for a sightseeing tour through the bairros (quartiers) of Lisbon.
The starting point for the tram number 28 is on the eastern side of Martim Moniz, a large square in the center of Lisbon. There is a queu here if you want to sit during the ride (approximately 20-30 minutes). If you are willing to stand you can pass by the queu when the driver calls for standing passengers or you can walk to the next stop on the north side of the square.
"Get off at bairro Alto even though the tram
continues to Campo de Ourique."
Get off at Bairro Alto (the high quartier) even though the tram continues to Campo de Ourique.
We went all the way to Campo de Ourique and ended up having to stand in another queu to get on the tram back or taking an Uber back to bairro Alto. We did the last thing. There did not seem to be anything to see at the end station unless you are interested in something special there.
At bairro Alto you might want to have a coffe or lunch break before you head down to bairro Baja (the low quartiers). The Abrisiliera is a famous café in Lisbon - full of tourists. You can easily find another really nice café nearby if you prefer that.
If you are ready for lunch you have the famous Bairro do Alvarez nearby. At Alvarez there are two different restaurants, Taberna and Pateo, in different price classes, from tapas to a la carte.
From bairro alto, take the instagram friendly funicular da Bica (3:80 Euros for two trips on any of the three funiculars) down and walk to the Mercado de Ribeira - the Time Out food hall.
Portugal is famous for the Fado, a sentimental, melancholic singing often performed ad bars, cafés and restaurants. The genre originated in Portugal in the 1820s. There are lots of restaurants where you can listen to Fado in the evening and it might be hard to choose.
"Fado is a sentimental, melancholic singing
often performed at bars, cafés and restaurants."
We ended up at a place in the bairro Alto called Mascote da Ataila (pre booking necessary) where you eat a three course dinner for 25 Euros while listening to Fado. Two sittings each evening, at 7 p.m. and 9 p.m. It is a simple, familiar and small place.
Most people visiting Lisbon follow the coast line to see the Belem tower and the Padrao dos Descrobimentos. These are about 5 kilometres from Praca do Comercio. You can get there by train (from station Cais do Sodre), by bike or Uber.
Nearby is also the gallery Cordoaria Nacional which attracts some famous exhibitions like Banksy.
Where to stay: We stayed at the Eurostars hotel. It is a comfortable large hotel in the middle of the city close to Placa do Comercio. The breakfast buffé contains everything you can think of. It is not so cosy or persona. If we go to Lisbon again we would choose to stay in the Alfama quartiers. You stay in your hotel for three nights.
Train to Cascais and bike along the coast
In the morning, go to the station Cais do Sodré, near the metro of the same name. From Lisbon there are trains every 20 minutes to Cascais and travel time is about 40 minutes.
After checking in at your hotel, take a walk around the village of Cascais and along the promenade.
If you feel like it, rent a bike and go all along the coast on the bike line heading west to Quincho beach and the dunes of Cresmina. If you choose to go all the way it is 18 kilometres there and back to Cascais. There is a bike lane all the way and some restaurants and cafés when you get closer to the dunes of Cresmina.
Where to stay: We stayed at the lovely Pergola house, a B&B with a beautiful garden. Try to book a room with balcony since the other rooms are really small (15 sqm). You stay here for one night.
The breakfast is not that good but there are at least both warm and cold dishes. Wine and cheese is served in the evening for around 6 Euros a person if you share.
It is really nice to sit in the garden sipping wine before going out for the evening. The Pergola house is in the middle of the town and very quiet. It is about 600 meters from the beach.
Where to eat: Hifen which is just by the beach (Praia da Ribeira) in the middle of Cascais serves great tapas. We even took a copy of their menu for inspiration at home. Hifen has some small balconys overlooking the ocean and the city beach. We loved their "tomato burgers" and have cooked them at home afterwards.
Another option is having great sushi at the Farol hotel located just by the sea after passing by the Citadel. If you are there before it gets dark you will have a perfect view of the ocean. Farol hotel also has a restaurant serving Portuguese food.
On day 5 you leave for Sintra. From Cascais it is only some 30 minutes by Uber to Sintra, a little longer by bus. Leaving Cascais in the afternoon you have well enough time to take a walk through Sintra in the afternoon/evening. Recommendation for hotel in Sintra below.
Discover the palaces of Sintra
Today is a good thing to try to get up early in the morning to visit the super famous Pena palace. Lots of people come to Sintra for the day from Lisbon to see this place so you should try to get ahead of them.
A really nice thing is to skip the buses, taxis and tuk-tuks to the palace and instead walk along the lovely path the Caminho de Vila Sassetti. It is a 2 kilometres path going uphill all the way to the Pena palace.
You will probably be quite alone during the walk. Not many people know about this path. It will take you from 30 minutes up to an hour.
Check more about which places to visit around the Pena palace and the other palaces in Sintra here.
Where to eat: Eating out in Sintra is cheap and the food we had there easily beat the food we had in Lisbon.
Incomun serves portugese food with an elegant twist. It is just across the street from the train station. Prebooking is necessary since it is very popular.
Romaria de Baco has a more rustique athmosphere and it is a very small restaurant right in old town that serves great portuguesian food. Prebooking is necessary since it is very popular.
Tascantiga serves great tapas for lunch. Not to be missed. You can sit inside as well as outside.
Cabo da Roca and Ursa beach
The coast line of the Sintra National Park is beautiful and well worth a visit. You reach Cabo da Roca and Praia Ursa by bus from Sintra.
You can also rent a moped or electric car in Sintra for the day. Highly recommended! It gives you more opportunities to discover the coast.
Bus 403 takes you all the way to Cabo da Roca, the lighthouse. It is the most western point of Europe. The bus trip is about 30 minutes from Sintra and you pass the Monserrat palace on the way.
From Cabo da Roca you easily reach the Ursa beach, a 30 minutes hike away. There are several paths leading you to the beach from the north side of the road to Cabo da Roca. There is a short and easy climb down to the beach. Totally worth it! It is one of those places that gives you a special feeling.
You then take the bus 403 back to Sintra.
If you decide to rent an electric car or a moped in Sintra for one day. You can then to also visit Azenhas do Mar for lunch at the famous and affordable fish restaurant Azenhas do Mar. Azenhas do Mar is about 14 kilometres north of Cabo da Roca.
From Sintra there is also a lovely tram three times a day to Praia das Macas. From Praia das Macas it is 1,5 kilometres to Azenhas do Mar.
Sintra is about 25 kilometres West of Lisbon and 30 minutes drive from the airport by taxi (Uber 24-50 Euros depending on choice of car).
Another (cheaper) option is public transportation for about 6 Euros. Take the Sintra train to the Orient station (about 50 minutes). From there you take the metro to the Airport (about 10 minutes).
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