Lisbon is a lively, fun and captivating coastal city. A hilly metropolis that’s packed full of Gothic architecture, gorgeous panoramic views and charmingly cobbled lanes, it’d be hard not to be enchanted by the picture perfect Portuguese capital.
Your trip to the dynamic city of Lisbon can be made even more amazing by seeing all there is to see in the surrounding countryside.
So we’ve put together a guide to the best day trips from Lisbon to help you see more of Portugal on your trip to the capital city.
There’s a huge slice of magnificent architecture in the form of opulent royal palaces, huge swathes of incredible natural landscapes and some unimaginably charming old towns all waiting for you to explore them…
Editor’s note – Need a place to stay while in Portugal’s capital? Check out our 15 best hostels in Lisbon!
Quick Answer: Best Day Trips from Lisbon
- Day Trips from Lisbon by Train – Sintra
- Romantic Day Trips from Lisbon Couples – Mafra 8-Hour Tour from Lisbon
- Best Day Trips from Lisbon with Kids – Lisbon: Full-Day Kayak Tour with Picnic and Transfer
- Best Cheap Day Trips from Lisbon – Lisbon Surf Experience
Best Places to Stay in Lisbon
The coastal Portuguese city of Lisbon is enough to enchant people for a few days, but you might want to head out of town to explore the rest of the region too. Here’s a selection of accommodation with easy access to transport, but also in vibrant locations too, so you can soak up the life of the city.
• Best Hostel in Lisbon •
- Best place to meet other travelers
We hope you don’t actually get lost in Lisbon, but if you book into this hostel you might get lost among the sights and the sounds with all of the new friends you’re going to make. This top social hostel in Lisbon is an easy five minutes walk from the metro and train Station Cais do Sodré.
• Best Budget Hotel in Lisbon •
- Good for public transport
Staying at this cute house and feel completely at home in the city. The whole place is decorated with little artistic touches and there’s even a balcony to chill out on. There’s a choice of metro stops in the area, but the Arroios Metro station is a mere 100 metres from the front door.
• Best Luxury Hotel in Lisbon •
- Historical building
No top luxury hotel in Lisbon would be complete without elegant rooms and marble hallways. This hotel was built in the 19th century and boasts breathtakingly beautiful tropical gardens and guest suites that’ll make you want to move in permanently. Getting around Lisbon from here is straightforward, too!
Day Trips from Lisbon by Train
- Picture perfect
- Beautiful palaces
- Fairytale town
Take a trip to the fairytale town of Sintra and see for yourself why so many people love exploring this part of Portugal. A quick 45-minute train journey makes it one of the best day trips from Lisbon by train.
The magical hillside town is jammed full of iconic landmarks which will capture your imagination. There are a whole lot of sights to see in one day, but you’ll have enough time to see the main attractions.
The Moors Castle, built during the 9th century, has a complex history and will keep you entertained for an hour or two as you learn about how it fell in the Christian Crusades. Pena Palace sits proudly at the top of Sintra and is strikingly colourful.
Quinta da Regaleira’s wonderful gardens are an entwining labyrinth of passageways and wells. And then near the centre of town, there’s the National Palace with its grand interiors to admire.
#2 – Cascais
- Beach day trip
- Seaside cycling
- Coastal views
For a laid-back day near the sea, you can’t beat Cascais. The old Portuguese fishing town is the perfect place to escape the heat of the city in the summer and enjoy a cool coastal breeze.
A charming day trip from Lisbon by train, getting to the town takes less than an hour along a scenic route.
Cascais is a popular holiday destination as it boasts some of the best beaches in the region and many interest historic mansions scattered around the town’s parks.
Arriving at Cascais station you’ll instantly feel the laid-back atmosphere of this resort town. You can spend a lazy day here soaking up the sun on the sand or, if you want to be more active, there’s plenty on offer too.
Rent a bike in the town and cycle along the cycle lane, close to the marina on Avenida Rei Humberto II. A cycle path runs from here all the way along the coast 5 km to Guincho beaches. When you’re hungry you can stop off at the aptly named Mouth of Hell rocks for something to eat.
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#3 – Palace of Queluz
- Amazing opulence
- Portuguese history
- Stunning interiors
Take the train from Rossio station to make the most of this day trip by train from Lisbon. The National Palace and its ornate gardens are of course likened to Versailles and you’ll see why. The symmetrical style of the palace is delicately detailed and the gardens overflow with waterfalls, canals and decadent grottos.
The 19th-century palace is a fine example of Rococo architecture and was built for Dom Pedro of Braganza, a member of the royal family who had a complex relationship with his niece.
Described as a ‘very expensive birthday cake’, the palace is an interesting way to learn about Portuguese royalty and their eventual demise in 1807 with the invasion of the French.
Spend the day here wandering the halls and exploring the estate apartments. The amazingly ornate Ballroom along with The Hall of Ambassadors are completely over the top and incredible to see, whilst the Queen’s Boudoir will make you wonder about the years Queen Maria I resided here as she slipped into eventual madness.
Don’t worry! We put together a best cheap hostels in Lisbon article with great budget options!
#4 – Almada
- Fun train ride
- See the 25 de Abril bridge
- Amazing city views
The iconic landmark of the 25 de Abril bridge had straddled the Tagus since it was completed in 1966. Built by the same company that built the Gold Gate Bridge, which Abril bridge bears more than just resemblance to.
You can actually take the train across the bridge to Almada on the South Bank of the river which makes for a fun trip by train from Lisbon.
Once in Almada, you can see the Cristo Rei (‘Christ the King’). You’ll see instantly that it was inspired by the Christ the Redeemer in Rio. It’s 100 metres tall and sits high on a hill. You can take a hike to the top of the hill to see the statue and admire the amazing views.
After soaking up the sight of the city from above, stroll along the Cais do Ginjal riverside area for more great views of Lisbon, stopping off for a coffee and a bite to eat along the way.
#5 – Mafra
Romantic Day Trips from Lisbon for Couples
- Great for literary lovers
- Rococo architecture
- Interesting history
This romantic day trip from Lisbon for couples packs a lot of amazing sights into one day, and if you’ve only got a few days to spare in the country, is a great way to see a big chunk of what Portugal has to offer.
Start your day by being driven to the luxurious decadence of the Queluz National Palace, spend some time walking around the estate before being taken to the next stop Ericeira.
Travel through the beautiful mountainous countryside to Ericeira where you will be treated to a taste of fresh seafood surrounded by amazing scenery and the authentic charisma of the town.
After your lunch, take a drive to the Mafra National Palace where you can take in the bountiful Baroque buildings alongside Neoclassical architecture and marvel at the incredible library which holds 36,000 leather-bound books. The construction of this magnificent palace was the inspiration of the Nobel Prize-winning author José Saramago’s novel Baltasar and Blimunda.
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#6 – Fatima
- Pilgrimage site
- Important religious monument
- Scenic journey
Fatima is an important Portuguese pilgrimage site in Central Portugal. On this day trip from Lisbon for couples, you’ll get to see the world famous religious site together.
This place is highly important for Christian pilgrims who make the journey to the town see the ‘Altar of the World’.
You’ll be driven through the Mediterranean landscape, past olive groves and along valleys, to see the once sleepy town. Fatima was transformed into a place of religious importance in 1917 when three local children saw an apparition of a lady dressed in white, that was said to be ‘Our Lady of the Rosary’.
A chapel was built to honour the sightings and was consecrated by the Pope in 1953. A day in Fatima will be special for people who want to see the town for religious reasons, but it’s also an interesting place to see the various altars – and the section of the Berlin Wall that was used in the construction of the chapel.
After exploring the area, and tucking into lunch, you can visit the homes of the children and learn more about the many apparitions that are said to have taken place here.
#7 – Évora
- Incredible buildings
- Charming old town
- Old University
A wonderful place and a romantic day trip from Lisbon for couples, you can see all the wonder and history of Évora for yourselves. There are many monuments and buildings to see in the old town that a day there feels as if you’re stepping back in time.
Spend a day in this small town immersed inside the 14th-century walls. Évora’s a warren of twisting lanes and impressive architecture. The imposing Évora Cathedral is one of the largest medieval cathedrals in Portugal and boasts ornate Gothic architecture.
The Roman Templo de Diana is equally fascinating, alongside the intriguing Roman baths that can be found here, too.
Take a stroll around the small but pretty town square and learn about the darker side of the town’s history during the Inquisition. The Bone Chapel here holds the remains of 5,000 monks and is not for the squeamish.
Évora is also home to a university that was founded in 1559, whose students inject the town with liveliness. It also means there are some great places for a spot of lunch and a drink or two to round up your busy day of sightseeing.
#8 – Comporta Beach
- Amazingly romantic
- Horse ride along the shoreline
- Private nature reserve
There can’t be a day trip for couples from Lisbon that is much more romantic than this one. Picture you and your partner riding along a beautiful beach on the back of a horse as the waves crash into the shoreline. It’s like a scene from a movie – but you can live it in real life.
This is definitely a tour for horse lovers, who’ll relish the chance to ride along the pure white sands of Comporta Beach in the Setúbal Peninsula.
You and your other half will get driven to Comporta where you’ll meet your equestrian friends and get ready for your ride.
Hit the saddle and trek around the pristine private nature reserve of Herdade da Comporta. The landscapes here are beautiful and you’re both bound to have the most unforgettable ride along the clear waters of the Atlantic Ocean, past rice paddies and along the stunning Sado Estuary.
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#9 – Kayak Tour
Day Trips from Lisbon with Kids
- Beautiful beaches
- Family day out
- Perfect for a picnic
Get out and about in the fresh air on the day trip from Lisbon with kids. Make the most of your family holiday and explore the wonderful landscape around the city as you’re driven to a wild and secluded beach along the Atlantic Ocean.
The beaches along this part of the coast are particularly beautiful and you will get to spend the day together kayaking along the soaring cliffs and admiring the emerald ocean.
You’ll also have a guide who will make sure everybody knows what they’re doing and feels comfortable and safe. Paddle along and soak up the sunshine as you’re shown to some fantastic snorkelling spots.
Stop off at a secret beach for a blissful picnic lunch together and watch as your children play in the sand and splash in the waves before you spend the rest of the afternoon discovering more of the life that lives underwater in this part of the world.
Recommended reading – The 7 Best Neighborhoods in Lisbon, Portugal (for all budgets!).
#10 – Berlenga Island
- Island adventure
- Explore a nature reserve
- See if you can spot rare birds
A wild and adventurous day trip from Lisbon with kids, make the bumpy ferry crossing over the sea and spend the day on the natural wonderland that is Berlenga Island.
Part of a small archipelago, the small island is located along the Portuguese coast Berlenga Grande is the largest island is ideal for exploring with children.
Arrive with views of the craggy cliffs rising out of the turquoise water and you’ll soon understand why this is a nature reserve. The islands are home to many different species of protected birds and plant species which means you that visitors aren’t allowed to stray from the pathways.
After spending a morning of strolling around the isle, trying out some bird spotting and exploring some of the creepy caves, you can have some lunch at the island café.
Spend the afternoon on the beach together having fun in the sand and soaking up the natural surroundings.
#11 – Badoca Safari Park
- See African animals
- Go on a safari
- Fun day out
If your kids are keen to learn more about animals, or if you want to see some amazing African animals, then head to the Badoca Safari Park. It’s an easy day trip from Lisbon with kids since you’ll be transported all the way from the city to the park itself.
Since it opened at the end of the 1990s the Badoca has been a haven for animals from Africa to roam freely. As such it’s an amazing chance to get to see zebras and giraffes up close in an environment that’s as close to their natural habitat as possible.
There are fantastic birds of prey that will put on displays, too: your family can see how eagles hunt for their meals. Afterward, you can all head for your own meals at the restaurant which is creatively surrounded by the safari landscape – you might even feel like you’re in the savanna! Or you could take a picnic and enjoy it surrounded by the pine trees in the forest.
Walk the treetop boardwalk through the forest and try to spot the various types of birds that live there, from toucans to macaws and parrots.
Best Cheap Day Trips from Lisbon
- Learn how to surf
- See the amazing beaches
- Super fun day trip
If you’ve ever dreamt about giving surfing a try, but never had the chance – or the courage – to give it a go, now is the time. Make the most of your stay in the amazing city of Lisbon and see its surrounding coast while you get to learn how to surf.
This is a cheap day trip from Lisbon and will provide you with an excellent chance to see this magnificent beaches, and learn something new as well.
You’ll get picked up and driven to some of the best secret surf spots along the Costa da Caparica. A local surfer will show you the ropes and you’ll get your chance to try out hitting the waves amidst the natural scenery.
Don’t worry: you’ll be equipped with everything you need and get to learn all the best tips so that you have a fun time and make the most of your surfing experience.
- Sado riverboat trip
- Spot rare dolphins
- See the Arrábida Marine Reserve
Just when you think there are enough incredible things to do around the city you find out that you can go dolphin spotting. That’s right. Plus this cheap day trip from Lisbon is a wonderful way to explore the water around Lisbon.
Take the boat tour that takes you in search of the magical dolphins that live in the Sado River, and explore the Setubal Bay by boat, where you might be able to catch a glimpse of the group of bottlenose dolphins that live here. This highly unusual family are the only dolphins that live in a river estuary in Portugal.
This is a rare sight to see as there are only three other groups like this one in the whole of the continent.
The 3-hour journey will show you the pristine Arrábida Marine Reserve, where you’ll get to learn about the marine wildlife and the delicate ecology of the reserve before making your way back to dry land.
Bonus Trip! – Cabo da Roca
- Edge of the continent
- Coastal walks
- Natural landscapes
Travel to the ends of the earth on this cheap day trip from Lisbon. Well, not the end of the earth but the end of Europe at least: the Cabo da Roca is the most westerly point of continental Europe and is a place of significant natural beauty.
It’s simple and very affordable get to from the city – just take the bus from along the Cascais-Sintra Route all the way to the end.
When you arrive you’ll be greeted by dramatic views of the crashing sea and the cliffs. Take a walk along the coastal path and enjoy the cool of the breeze. There’s a cafe situated on the cliffs here, where you can stop for a drink and gawp at the views.
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Final Thoughts on the Best Day Trips from Lisbon
From great day trips from Lisbon with kids to see interesting animals and explore wild islands, to wonderfully romantic days out for couples, we’ve rounded them up so there’s something for everyone.
Plus if you like to travel by train, or even if you’ve got a tight budget, there are some great day trips from Lisbon for you to enjoy, too.
So go ahead and max out on the fun on your next big trip to the epic city of Lisbon and throw some adventure in for good measure!
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