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Sesimbra Guide

A tiny fishing village and a mystical cape



Sesimbra, Portugal


Sesimbra is a tiny fishing village in a sheltered bay overlooked by a Moorish castle that also encloses a 12th-century church and affords wonderful views from its ramparts.

In the old town is a 17th-century fort overlooking the sea, a good starting point for a scenic walk before hitting the beach that, although crowded in the summer, has unpolluted waters ideal for swimming.

In late afternoon the fishing boats return, and there's a fish auction on the dockside. That same fresh fish can be sampled at one of the several restaurants along the shore.

A short drive or a 30-minute bus journey from Sesimbra leads to windswept Cabo Espichel, quite a mystical and eerie cape. The views of the coast and ocean are stunning, with cliffs dropping almost vertically several hundred feet into the Atlantic.

In such a dramatic and pristine setting, it is not surprising that large dinosaur footprints were found nearby on Lagosteiros Beach.

The cape was once an important pilgrimage site, and there is an abandoned 17th-century convent that has plans to be turned into a pousada. Behind it is a domed chapel with tile panels depicting fishing scenes.

Sesimbra can be reached by buses that leave several times during the day from Setubal, or from Lisbon's Praça de Espanha terminal.

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