I love day trips ~ that may seem obvious if you follow me on Facebook. A part of my business plan and a way for me to get out and explore my beloved Stuttgart. Additionally, daytripping around town has been a highlight of my travels around Europe. Typically, I find a few local favorites that are off the beaten path and share them with you here. Lisbon definitely has an infinite amount of daytripping options. Here’s a few I found with a little help from my new friends ~ a great tour company, restaurateurs, Uber drivers, and more… lovely Portuguese and lots of ideas!
Consequently, I am somewhat of a rebel, you might have gathered that ~ so when I saw an advertisement for “WE HATE TOURISM” tours and a bunch of bumper stickers on cars for the company, of course, I was intrigued! As soon as I called Gonçalo, I knew I met a kindred spirit and fellow “responsible” traveler friend in Lisbon ~
Thankfully, we were able to book a tour mid-week for Sintra, Cascais and the coast. I was sold! They provided transportation in a 9-passenger van….hmmm, this sounds familiar.
Again, I could tell from their website and our conversations on the phone this was not going to be a canned, boring “bus” trip around Lisbon. However, I knew it would be filled with interesting stories and insights on what makes this part of Portugal unique. Off on our daytripping adventure we go.
Our tour begins
Pedro our guide was perfect for our group. We tend to be a little inquisitive, boisterous, and “a happy to meet ya” kind of group. Our first stop was in the town of Sintra – this very old town is on most people’s must see list. It donned several gorgeous architectural beauties, but the crowds were just not my favorite. I was really fond of the handcrafted jewelry and local artisans in the market area by the park and was able to snap a few shots but maneuvering through the narrow streets, sharing with busloads of people was not my kind of fun.
Need a rest, I found a cafe and enjoyed a latte on the square just people watching. I’m sure this stop is a MUST it just wasn’t my favorite. I think I would have enjoyed it more in fall or even earlier in spring.
Park and Palace of Monserrate
The Palace of Monserrate is filled with gardens, topiaries, flowers and trails – this place was AWESOME for me. Lots of waterfalls, hillsides of green and oh, yea a CASTLE! Yup, right in the middle of property is an early 19th century eclectic style Moorish castle. With the original foundation dating back to the 1100’s around the 1800’s King Ferdinand turned it into a romantic castle overlooking the sea and is just a short distance from Sintra. Well worth the stop on our daytripping tour.
Additionally, I would absolutely recommend visiting here as the grounds were extensive, had lots to see and do but we just couldn’t fit it all in~
By the way, our lunch was fantastic but to get the details of where we ate, you’ll have to take the tour with WE HATE TOURS because I made a deal to leave that promo for their tours. Our lunch included local favorites from the area and Portugal. Yummm!!
~ Pitstop for a rest ~
Next up was the coastal town of Caiscais. An coastal harbor town brimming with activity, from markets on the square, surfers, a beach, sailboats, cafes and the list goes on. My love and memories of Cape Cod, Rhode Island and all things New England came flooding back. I could totally . Love harbors just the same. Maybe it’s just being on the coast. Here are a few pics from the area –
Our day was not quite finished – we promised Bruno (the lead principal for WE HATE TOURISM) and Gonzy that we would love to meet them at the LX Factory. A daytripping detour, always worth it to meet new people, right? Again, this place was also recommended by Tiego our driver around Lisbon.
This hip, local artisan, shopping center is located in the old shipyard area of Lisbon is so super cool. There was everything from tattoo parlors to dancing studios to pottery makers, handmade furniture, boutiques galore. If I were a young artist just starting out, I would totally live here. Definitely mark this place as a MUST-SEE!
Atop the Rooftop bar there were also spectacular views of the bay and great drinks to boot!
Touring around Belem
Once again, thank YOU Tiego! He really took great care of us in Lisbon. He recommended we travel down to the town of Belem. Then, he dropped us off near the MAAT and found out we could have taken another Tram, the 15 up and down the strip or back to Lisbon, but we found UBER to be just as easy and inexpensive.
Our first stop was the Palacio de Belem, the lines were unbelievably long to take a tour so we continued on our walk along the Promenade.
Tiego led us to his favorite food and wine restaurant in the city! PROVA!! He was right – the specialty is meat and cheese platters paired with wonderful wines. This wine tasting was very, very nice and we began conversations with Ana and José.
After our full bellies we returned to the promenade and found Museum Combante – this fortress/castle on the sea was made for pictures. The tours of this fortress are only available when you buy your tickets to the palace of Belem and are only available certain times of the day. So you’ll want to plan ahead to see the inside of this castle.
If you continue on the water heading back towards Lisbon, you will come right to Monument of Explorers. This is a spectacular monument dedicated to the years of exploration for Portugal.
More DAY TRIP ideas!
Want a cool fun side trip? Head to the mall… the Colombo Mall is a really cool mall just on the outskirts of Lisbon. We decided to check this place out since it is photographed quite a bit and has some pretty neat stores.
Maybe you need a Pandora charm for your bracelet. Here are a few of our favorites.
As you can see visiting Lisbon is not just a simple weekend away. You’ll want to carve out at least four days if not more. With lots to do and see you’ll fall in love with it too.