5 day trips from Lisbon: Must see places around Lisbon!
It’s not like Lisbon hasn’t got enough sights and highlights of its own to keep you busy for weeks, if not months. But the great thing about the city isn’t just its diversity, but also the great number of must-see destinations for day trips in the immediate vicinity.
On the one hand, there’s the close proximity to the sea, which always makes our hearts beat faster.
Several day trip destinations that you can visit from Lisbon are located right by the Atlantic, e.g. the charming coastal town of Cascais or the westernmost point in Europe.
On the other hand, Lisbon is also near the cultural landscape of Sintra, which not only has a wealth of historical castles, palaces, and other impressive buildings to offer, but is also blessed with a natural landscape of incredible beauty that we didn’t expect to find so close to Lisbon.
One of the must-see places listed in this post is actually only a ferry ride away from the city.
But before we give away too much in the introduction, let’s get started and show you the places that you really need to plan some time for during your city break in Lisbon.
Almada: From Lisbon to the Sanctuary of Christ the King on the other side of the Tagus
The city of Almada is only a few minutes’ ferry ride from Lisbon. The boat ride on the Tagus alone is worth the trip because it gives you a really great view of the city.
The main attraction on this side of the river is clearly the 28-meter-high statue of Christ the King, which stands tall on a 75-meter base. And is if that wasn’t enough, the base is also built at an altitude of 113 meters above sea level.
That makes the Sanctuary of Christ the King (or Santuário de Cristo Rei in Portuguese) one of the highest structures in Portugal, giving you a wonderful panoramic view of Lisbon.
The statue of Christ the King looks down on Lisbon with outstretched arms. The thing with the outstretched arms seems familiar and you’re wondering where you’ve seen it before?
Exactly. In Rio de Janeiro! And indeed, the former Cardinal-Patriarch of Lisbon, Manuel G. Cerejeira wanted a Jesus statue for his city just like the one in Rio that he admired so much.
Construction began about 20 years later in 1949 and another 10 years later, it was finally inaugurated. Ever since, Lisbon has had one of the highest statues in the world.
We have to admit that the statue is really impressive and had a certain impact on us. But what really captivated us was the wonderful view of Lisbon.
If the view from the observation deck at the foot of the statue isn’t enough for you, you can also take the elevator to the top of the statue base for a price of 5 euros.
Opening hours: 9:30 am – 6:15 pm
How much time should you plan for this trip: at least 3 hours.
How to get to the Sanctuary of Christ the King in Almada
To get to the Sanctuary of Christ the King from Lisbon, first take the ferry and then the bus. Your trip starts at the Cais do Sodré ferry terminal.
It’s the last stop on the green metro line and the ferry terminal is right outside the station. Just follow the signs to the ferry dock.
Then take the ferry to Cacilhas. Ferries run about every 20 minutes and the crossing takes about 15 minutes. You can pay for the trip with your rechargeable Viva Viagem card. A one-way journey will cost you 1.18 euros.
Once you arrive on the other side of the Tagus River, head to the bus station right outside the ferry terminal. Then search for bus number 101, which always leaves at 25 and 55 minutes past the hour.
You can buy the bus ticket, which costs 2 euros round trip, directly from the driver. The bus takes you up the mountain to the statue in about 20 minutes.
Guided tour of the Sanctuary of Christ the King near Lisbon
You can also visit the Sanctuary of Christ the King as part of a guided tour. We highly recommend going on a private day tour through Lisbon with Paulo – it includes a trip to the other side of the Tagus.
Cascais: A day trip from Lisbon to the sea
Did you know that Lisbon is only 35 minutes by train from the quaint coastal town of Cascais? And what do all coastal cities all have in common? Exactly, they’re right by the sea!
Not that many city breaks offer you the opportunity to smell the sea breeze and enjoying fresh fish and good wine on the beach promenade with the view of the crashing Atlantic as a picturesque backdrop.
Doesn’t that sound like a dream to you? Then you should definitely plan a day trip or even a longer stay in Cascais. The original fishing village has now mutated into one of the most popular holiday destinations of the Lisbon high society, and quite a few famous personalities have their summer homes there.
Although the weather with 15 degrees Celsius and rain wasn’t exactly what we were hoping for, we fell in love with the town during our two-day trip to Cascais.
One of the reasons was our accommodation, the Charm of Cascais, and above all Ruy and Susana, who run it with so much love that we not only wanted to stay for longer but also want to return again and again.
If you’d prefer some sea breeze and recreation to a stressful city break, you should think about staying in Cascais for the duration of your trip. After all, whenever you feel like joining the hustle and bustle of the city, it only takes 35 minutes to get to Lisbon.
During your train ride to Cascais, you’ll also pass by the town of Estoril, which is connected to Cascais by a beach promenade with Cascais: It’s also a pretty town with its own city beaches. So if you have some time to spare, you can make a quick stop here.
Cascais also has some city beaches and great sights of its own to offer. Or if you’re in the mood for some exercise, you may want to rent a bike and ride it to our favorite beach, Praia do Guincho, which is only about 8 km from the center of Cascais.
For all the sights in Cascais, plus more photos and information, check out our post on Cascais.
How much time should you plan for your day trip from Lisbon to Cascais: at least half a day. But you can easily spend a few days in the coastal town if you want.
How to get from Lisbon to Cascais
The best way to get to Cascais is by train. You can catch one from Cais do Sodre station. The journey only takes a little over 30 minutes. A train runs from Lisbon to Cascais about every 20 minutes.
Make sure you sit on the left side of the train for a great view of the coast.
The train ride to the sea only costs 2.15 euros, which you can pay with your Viva Viagem card.
Guided tour from Lisbon to Cascais
If you’d prefer to explore Cascais as part of a guided tour, there are a number of offers:
This half-day tour to Cascais doesn’t just take you through the town itself, but the guide will also take you to the Citadel of Cascais as well as to Estoril and its legendary casino.
Sintra: From Lisbon to the palaces, castles, and fabulous mountain landscapes of Sintra
Sintra is a small town only 25 kilometers west of Lisbon. It’s teeming with magnificent palaces and castles, which – as if their inherent fairy-tale flair wasn’t fabulous enough – are embedded in a truly fairy-like rich green landscape.
No wonder Sintra used to be the summer residence of the Portuguese kings for 800 years. Especially if you’re planning a city trip to Lisbon in the summer, the humid and cool air in Sintra is a great change to the heat of the city.
For the same reason, affluent Lisboetas used to make their way to their summer residences in Sintra by horse and carriage.
There are numerous castles to visit, such as Pena Palace, an absolute must-see that’s often referred to as the “Neuschwanstein of Portugal”, but also some enchanted parks and exotic gardens. The cultural landscape of Sintra has been a UNESCO World Cultural Heritage since 1995.
As you can see, a day trip from Lisbon to Sintra is very worthwhile. The good news is that you can easily get to Sintra by train. The bad news is that the local attractions are relatively far apart, so it isn’t easy to see everything in just one day.
If you’re going to Sintra on your own, you can hire a tuk-tuk guide for the day at the train station in Sintra. Alternatively, you can catch bus number 434 from Sintra station, which passes all the sights in the center of Sintra and terminates at Pena Palace (you can hop on and off all day with the ticket).
Oh, one more thing: If you’re thinking about renting a car to drive to Sintra, please forget it. You’ll be a nervous wreck by the end of your trip because of the really weird one-way street rules, narrow streets, and impossibly rare parking spaces.
Our tour to Sintra: After spending a night in Cascais, the next day we went on a private tour via Cabo da Roca to Sintra. First we went to Monserrate Palace and spent one and a half hours in the gardens alone.
Unfortunately, it started to rain in torrents, so all we could do was admire the other castles in Sintra through the car window. But the wonderful team at the Cascais Tourism Association provided us with a few photos of Sintra so we can show you what we’re talking about.
How much time should you plan for your day trip to Sintra: at least 5 hours.
How to get from Lisbon to Sintra
You can either get picked up from Lisbon by car as part of a tour or take the train to Sintra. There’s a train every 15 minutes from Rossio station. As mentioned above, you can use bus number 434 to visit the sights in the center of Sintra and Pena Palace.
From Sintra, you can take the bus number 403 to Cabo da Roca, the westernmost point in Europe, and to Cascais. Make sure to check the times though, because this bus only leaves from the train station in Cascais every 90 minutes.
Guided tour from Lisbon to Sintra
It’s especially worth booking a tour with a great tour guide for Sintra because the distances there are pretty large. That way, you can easily get from attraction to attraction while learning a lot about the region and its history.
We recommend this 8-hour private day tour: Nature and culture tour through Sintra. The guide on this tour will take you through the cultural landscape of Sintra and all the way to Portugal’s coast. On your return trip from Sintra to Lisbon, you can also visit the westernmost point of the European continent, as well as the coastal towns of Cascais and Estoril.
We generally prefer private tours without other participants. That allows us to discuss the tour itinerary with our guide in advance so we can plan it just the way we want it. Flexibility is also really important for us so we can stay in one place for longer than planned if need be to take photos.
If you’re not too bothered about taking a private tour, then check out this tour: Day trip from Lisbon: Sintra, Cascais & Estoril Coast.
Cabo da Roca: A trip from Lisbon to the westernmost point in Europe
As we mentioned above, we recommend taking a trip from Lisbon to the coast of Portugal as part of a private tour. That’s the only way to visit the must-see destinations along the coast in a single day trip.
The westernmost point of Europe isn’t just impressive because of the fact that it’s the westernmost point on the European mainland. Moreover, it’s the beautiful landscape, the sea breeze blowing through your hair, and steep cliffs that drop down vertically into the sea that make Cabo da Roca a worthwhile day trip.
Even though it was teeming with tourists and the weather was mediocre at best, there’s just something magical about Cabo da Roca.
No wonder this place inspired the Portuguese national poet Luís de Camões 500 years ago to write, “Here, where the land ends and the sea begins, and where the spirit of faith and adventure lives that led the caravels of Portugal to the New Worlds for the world”.
How much time should you plan for your day trip to Cabo da Roca: You won’t need more than 30 minutes once you get there, but you should plan at least half a day for the return trip from Lisbon. It doesn’t really make much sense to just visit Cabo da Roca on its own anyway. We’d recommend doing it as part of a day trip to Sintra or a trip to Cascais.
As we said, a private tour is the easiest way, because then you can easily check off all the sights in one go. We did the private tour in reverse, spending the night in Cascais and then heading back to Lisbon on the second day via Cabo da Roca and Sintra.
How to get from Lisbon to Cabo da Roca
You can take bus number 403 to Cabo da Roca, no matter if you’re coming from Sintra or the coastal town of Cascais.
In Sintra, the bus leaves from the town’s train station, and in Cascais you’ll find the stop on the bottom floor of the shopping center by the bus station. You can find more information on the bus connections here: Scotturb.
Guided tour from Lisbon to Cabo da Roca
Just going on a day trip to Cabo da Roca doesn’t make much sense. It’s a much better idea to combine this tour with Cascais and/or Sintra. That’s why the westernmost point in Europe is included in most tours to those places anyway.
Porto: A trip to the second-largest city in Portugal
If you want to experience two great cities in Portugal at the same time, then why not combine a city trip to Lisbon with another city trip to Porto? That might sound a bit over the top at first, but if you think about it, it’s not as crazy as it sounds. After all, Porto and Lisbon are only about 3 hours apart by train.
Even though Porto is much smaller than Lisbon, the city has a great many great sights to offer, so you should plan at least two full days for your stay in Porto.
Another reason to include Porto in your city trip planning for Lisbon is very simple: Flights to Porto are a lot cheaper than flights to Lisbon.
Porto wasn’t even on our radar at first, but when we started searching for flights for our one-month stay in Lisbon, Porto caught our eye right away. A flight from Hamburg to Porto only cost us 20 euros per person with Ryanair Apart from the fact that Porto itself is absolutely worth visiting, a flight that cheap was more than enough to convince us.
So if you have more than a few days for your trip to Lisbon, it makes a lot of sense to make it a double city trip. And if you’d like to relax a bit too, then how about you plan a few days by the sea, e.g. in Cascais? Sounds like a great plan, right?
If you want to take a closer look at Porto before you decide, then you can find some great tips, travel information, and photos in our Porto posts:
How much time should you plan for your trip from Lisbon to Porto: at least one full day to see the all the main attractions. But two days are better.
Where to stay in Porto: Baumhaus Apartments.
How to get from Lisbon to Porto
The easiest and most convenient way is by train, which only takes 2.5-3 hours total. You can buy tickets at the train station or book them in advance online. If you buy the ticket at the station, the cheapest ticket for the second class in an IC costs around 25 euros per person.
But if you already know the time and date you want to go, then you can book your ticket in advance here. The Portuguese Railways have special offers if you book your trip early.
Just switch to the English-language page by clicking on EN at the top-right of the page and click on Buy Tickets in the navigation bar. Then fill out the From and To fields. The long-distance train station for Porto is called Porto Campanha.
You can easily get there by taking the metro or the regional train from Sao Bento station right in the center of town. If you want to go from Sao Bento to Campanha by regional train, then you have to enter Sao Bento as your departure station.
For Lisbon, you have to enter its Portuguese name Lisboa to see a list of the different stations. Either select Lisboa – Oriente or Lisboa – Santa Apolonia. The latter is located right in the city center and is the terminus of the blue metro line.
But Lisboa – Oriente is also pretty close and easy to reach from the city center with the red metro line (takes about 15 minutes).
Now you can choose if you want first or second class tickets. We recommend comparing both options. We booked our ticket from Porto to Lisbon 1-2 weeks in advance, and amazingly enough, we got a 1st class ticket for less than a 2nd ticket would have cost. So it can’t hurt to at least check both options.
You can also choose between an IC (travel time about 3 hours) and an AP train (travel time about 2.5 hours).
Guided tour from Lisbon to Porto
Of course, you can also explore Porto as a day trip from Lisbon. You’ll be spending a lot of time on the train though, so you should leave as early as possible. But a day should be enough to at least see the most important sights in Porto.
If you take this tour to Porto, you can take the tour with a guide. A private vehicle with a driver will take you to Porto, where you can discover the city’s highlights.
Alternatively, you can organize your own travel arrangements to Porto and then hire a guide when you get there to show you all the most important sights in short order. In that case, we recommend this tour through the historical center or the “Tasting Adventure Tour”.
What’s your favorite destination in the area around Lisbon?
Have you ever been to Lisbon and know some great places to visit in the area? Is your favorite destination on our list? Please let us know in the comments below!