Many travelers spend much of their time north of Lisbon, where there are some delightful places not to be missed, in particular the beautiful town of Sintra, dotted with magnificent palaces.
Nearby are also the beaches of Cascais and Estoril (home to Europe's biggest casino), the Versailles-like palace in Queluz, the extraordinary Mafra Palace in Mafra, and the traditional fishing town of Ericeira. All these places can be reached by public transportation from Lisbon or by driving, often along breathtaking seaside cliffs, especially by Cabo da Roca, the westernmost point of continental Europe.
South of the city, reached by ferry or the 25 de Abril Bridge, are sandy beaches and miles of dunes along Costa da Caparica and fishing towns like Sesimbra that are very popular during the summer months. Large stretches of this coast and unspoiled countryside is being protected as conservation and nature preserves, and despite rapid urbanization, small fishing and farming communities still flourish.
North or south of Lisbon, most of the beaches are clean, and although the waters may be colder and rougher than in the south of the country, they are ideal for surfing. The entire region also provides splendid golf courses and horseback riding facilities.
1. Falling under Sintra's spell, exploring fantastic palaces and parks.
2. Spending a day by the sea in Cascais, Estoril, Ericeira, or Troia.
3. Being awed by the scale and extravagance of Mafra Palace.
4. Strolling through the beautiful gardens and magnificent rooms of Queluz Palace.
5. Standing on mystical Cabo Espichel or on Europe's westernmost point, Cabo da Roca.
Sintra - Enchanting and mysterious atmosphere; romantic palaces; Europe's westernmost point
Queluz - Palace mixing Versailles' French grandeur and Portuguese eclecticism
Cascais - Playground of nobility; picturesque resort; a surfer's paradise
Estoril - The inspiration for James Bond; Europe's largest casino; spectacular golf courses
Ericeira - Traditional seaside village; surfing mecca, superb seafood
Mafra - One of Europe's biggest palaces, the building that bankrupted the nation
Sesimbra - Calm waters in a fishing town; a mystical cape
Setubal - Busy port; the birthplace of Manueline architecture; dolphin-watching
Arrábida - Mediterranean vegetation by the Atlantic
Azeitão - Sleepy village with fine mansions and wine
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