17 Best Day Trips from Lisbon by Train and Car

Nadia Nadia

Written by Nadia

Portugal

Lisbon is one of the top tourist draws in Europe. It’s an incredible city to explore with its beautiful streets, bridges, history, and delicious food. 

But if you have spare time while you stay in Lisbon, check out some nearby destinations to make the most of it. With relatively short day trips from Lisbon, you can see all these nice little towns and villages around the area that you will definitely enjoy and understand the beauty of Portugal.

What day trips can you do from Lisbon?

  1. Sintra (a must-see)
  2. Cabo da Roca
  3. Cascais and Estoril
  4. Óbidos
  5. Porto
  6. Algarve
  7. Fátima
  8. Benagil Caves
  9. Nazaré
  10. Alentejo (Hidden gem! Weekend trip)
  11. Coimbra
  12. Santarem
  13. Sesimbra
  14. Setubal
  15. Tomar
  16. Spain (weekend trip)
  17. Morocco (weekend trip)

1. Sintra

Sintra Portugal
Photo by Fabian Joy on Unsplash

The most important day trip you need to take if you’re in Lisbon is Sintra. 

Sintra is a fairy tale world like no other. It is a relatively small city, a UNESCO site, and has two major historical sites.

The first one is Pena Palace, a magical mixture of Disney castles put together. The second one is a Moorish castle you can hike to and hike around its beautiful ruins — Castelo dos Mouros

The entry fee is €8 for Castelo dos Mouros and €14 for the Pena Palace, and you can also have two tickets combined for €20.

Castelo dos Mouros
Castelo dos Mouros

Tip Bring comfortable shoes if you plan to go to the Moorish castle.

There is also a beautiful Toy museum, the Gardens of Quinta da Regaleira, and the Modern Art Museum

How to get to Sintra from Lisbon

Sintra is just over 16 miles from downtown Lisbon. There are a few ways to get to Sintra: 

  • It takes 40 minutes to get there on the local train, which commutes every 20-30 minutes, so it’s easy to go back and forth.
  • The bus (line 35) takes you to Sintra in 25 minutes from the Plaza of Pombál.
  • You can take the metro and take the bus once you’re there instead of walking around the city because things are spread out a bit. So, the bus will take you to each little stop. The bus ticket is around €5.
  • There is also Uber which can take you there for roughly €20-30 one-way.
  • You can take a motorbike (€42 for 24h rental)

2. Cabo da Roca (the Edge of the World)

Cabo da Roca, Portugal
Photo by Shreyas Nair on Unsplash

If you leave Sintra, you may go to Cabo da Roca which is basically where Europe ends—it is the most western point of the European continent. 

But there is another reason why so many people come to see it. Cabo da Roca is just fantastic and very scenic, with the waves crashing right upon it and the massive 150-meter above sea level cliffs. 

On a crystal-clear day, you can literally see when the sky meets the ocean, and it’s a very magical feeling. You have to see Cabo da Roca to just get a scope of how large it is—there are people climbing rocks, and they look like ants.

You can spend an entire day just sitting out there and staring into the distance.

Tip #1 It can sometimes be windy up there, so make sure you dress in layers.

Tip #2 It is the wrong place to be afraid of heights.

Tip #3 You can also walk down to the beautiful Praia da Ursa beach at the foot of the cliffs of Cabo da Roca.

Praia da Ursa beach. Photo by Claudio Schwarz

How to get to Cabo da Roca from Lisbon

Take the train to Cascais from Cais do Sobre train station in Lisbon (line 19001), then ride the bus 403, which brings you to Cabo da Roca. The travel time is roughly 1 hour and 15 minutes.

2. Cascais and Estoril

Cascais, Portugal
Cascais. Photo by Jeroen den Otter

Cascais is a perfect spot for a one-day trip from Lisbon. It is a beach town 19 miles west of Lisbon with a panoramic view of the Marina de Cascais, a charming area for walking and beach leisure activities. 

There is also a historical center with the town museum. There are cobblestone streets everywhere, so make sure to wear non-slippery shoes.

Estoril is another little spot, just one train stop from Cascais. Or, you can just walk along the coast down from Cascais to Estoril.

How to get to Cascais from Lisbon

There is a train (line 19001) from Lisbon which goes to Cascais every 20 minutes. You can also get to Cabo da Roca from Cascais on bus 403 in roughly 40 minutes.

Óbidos

Óbidos Portugal
Photo by Katia De Juan on Unsplash

Óbidos is well-known for its 14th-century city walls and cute white houses. There are many lovely little churches with the church of Santa Maria, where they married a Portuguese king when he was nine years old. 

Since 2002, the city of Óbidos has celebrated the Chocolate festival, which makes the city the world capital of chocolate in the spring.

How to get to Óbidos from Lisbon

Train (IR 813)

  • Departs: Lisbon Santa Apolonia
  • Arrives: Obidos
  • Shortest travel time: 1 hour 59 minutes
  • Tickets: from €10

Bus 

  • Departs: Lisbon Oriente
  • Arrives: Caldas da Rainha
  • Shortest travel time: 1 hour 10 minutes
  • Tickets: from €2

Porto

Photo by Daniel Seßler on Unsplash

Known for its bridges over the Douro River and famous wine, Porto is a relatively small city easily covered in a day or a weekend trip and has nothing to envy about its neighbor Lisbon.

You can walk through the Ribeira at sunset, get lost in the Bolhao Market, climb the Clérigos Tower, and eat a Francesinha (the Portuguese sandwich) or a Bacalhau a Brás (salt cod, potatoes, and eggs). 

If you come to Porto for a few days, check out the Vila Nova de Gaia wineries.

How to get to Porto from Lisbon

Train

  • Departs: Lisbon Santa Apolonia
  • Arrives: Porto Campanha
  • Shortest travel time: 2 hours 38 minutes
  • Tickets: from €20

Bus (Flixbus)

  • Departs: Lisbon Oriente
  • Arrives: Porto, Parque das Camélias Terminal rodoviário
  • Shortest travel time: 3 hours 15 minutes
  • Tickets: from €9

Algarve

Algarve Portugal

Algarve is one of the most beautiful districts to see in Portugal and one of its most potent tourist attractions. Along the coast, you will find some of the best European beaches with turquoise waters that contrast with the golden color of the cliffs.

There are desert islands, fishing villages with cobblestone streets, and traditional restaurants. From waterfalls to castles passing through places known for their enormous biodiversity.

What to see in Algarve on a day trip

  • Formosa river natural park
  • The town of Tavira
  • The historic center of Loulé and Olhão
  • Faro
  • Albufeira and Banegil Caves
  • Silves, Portimão
  • Cabo San Vicente
Check out my Algarve Faro trip.

How to get to Algarve from Lisbon

Bus

  • Departs: Lisbon Sete Rios
  • Arrives: Lagoa
  • Shortest travel time: 3 hours 5 minutes
  • Tickets: from €13

Fátima

Fatima Portugal
Photo by Natacha de Hepcée on Unsplash

Fátima is a small inland Portuguese town and a big pilgrimage site. The Popes had gone to this city, and all the interesting places of Fatima more or less have religious roots.

The day trip to Fatima gives you a completely new understanding of the religious culture of Portugal. 

What to see in Fatima first:

  • the Sanctuary of Fátima
  • Basílica de Nossa Senhora do Rosário
  • Capela das Aparições
  • Basilica of the Holy Trinity
  • Grutas da Moeda caves

How to get to Fátima from Lisbon

Bus

  • Departs: Lisbon Sete Rios
  • Arrives: Fatima
  • Shortest travel time: 1 hour 30 minutes
  • Tickets: from €13

Benagil Caves, Portimão

Benagil Caves Portimao, Portugal

The Benagil Caves have recently become a fancy spot in Portugal (and on Instagram). It is one of the most beautiful caves in the world.

A boat tour is the best way to get there safely, and those looking for something more challenging can choose SUP (Stand up Paddle Board) tours.

A spectacular view opens inside the cave with sunlight streaming through the natural canopy and beautiful azure waters around you. It is a true natural wonder that you can’t miss! 

I recommend planning the whole day for visiting Benagil Caves, especially if you are not renting a car. The boat tours to the cave depart from the Port of Portimão. 

You can kill two birds with one stone and see the town of Portimão with its beautiful Marina promenade. 

How to get to Benagil Caves from Lisbon

Bus

  • Departs: Lisbon Sete Rios
  • Arrives: Fatima
  • Shortest travel time: 1 hour 30 minutes
  • Tickets: from €13

Nazaré

Nazare waves Portugal

Nazaré is well-known for its beautiful beachfront and the biggest ocean waves in the world. You can observe the town and probably the waves from the top of Sitio of Nazaré hill. There is a funicular that goes back and forth every 15 minutes. 

The main reason why waves are so huge in Nazaré is an enormous underwater canyon next to the coastline. Look inside the Sao Miguel Fort on the top of the hill to learn how these 30-meter waves are created.

Nazare Portugal
Photo by Jan vT on Unsplash

Enjoy the main beach, walk through cobbled streets, eat at some small and cozy restaurants, and learn the history of the town’s anglers. 

Half a day would be enough for a day trip to Nazaré. 

Tip The biggest waves don’t happen until the winter. 

How to get to Nazaré from Lisbon

Train (to Sintra)

  • Departs: Lisboa-Rossio 
  • Arrives: Sintra
  • Shortest travel time: 40 minutes
  • Tickets: from €2

Bus (lines 35, 441)

  • Departs: Lisbon Marquês de Pombal
  • Arrives: Avenida Atlantico N156
  • Shortest travel time: 1 hours 50 minutes
  • Tickets: from €5

Alentejo

Alentejo is one of Portugal’s best-kept secrets, which is often overlooked by people who come to Portugal. It covers the vast region in central Portugal and contains rice fields, vineyards, cork plantations, and marble mines. The picturesque medieval towns and villages are scattered across the Alentejo, making it a perfect location to explore on a weekend trip from Lisbon.

What is so special about the region? It’s the food, the long and solitary beaches, the farming, the wine, the sceneries, white houses, and traditional rugs. Very few people come to Alentejo, so that is the second reason to love this area.

What to do in Alentejo, Portugal

  • See the mystical and well-preserved medieval city of Évora
  • Try local food (açordas, migas, cataplanas, caldeiradas, pastéis de toucinho, and many more)
  • Taste local wine at the winery
  • Explore the untouched Alentejo coast
  • Buy traditional ceramics or rugs

Tip Alentejo has the lowest population density than Namibia (Africa).

How to get to Évora, Alentejo from Lisbon

Train

  • Departs: Lisbon Entrecampos
  • Arrives: Evora
  • Shortest travel time: 1 hour 25 minutes
  • Tickets: from €10

Bus (Rede Expressos)

  • Departs: Lisbon Sete Rios
  • Arrives: Evora
  • Shortest travel time: 1 hour 45 minutes
  • Tickets: from €10

Coimbra

Coimbra Portugal
Photo by Carlos Machado

Located south of Porto and crossed by the Mondego River, Coimbra is a prestigious university city, one of the most populated in Portugal (after Lisbon and Porto), with a little over 100,000 people. 

The Roman influence on architecture is still very evident today in Coimbra, but this is where they did a great job of mixing old and new because the feel of the city is young and present-day.

Coimbra is rich in history and perfect for spending a couple of days, so make sure to put it on your weekend trip schedule. 

What to do in Coimbra on a day trip

Visit its oldest buildings and churches, stroll through the steep streets of the historic center, relax in its gardens, and enjoy typical delicious dishes of the country, such as cod with cream or octopus “al lagareiro.”

How to get to Coimbra from Lisbon

Train

  • Departs: Lisbon Santa Apolonia
  • Arrives: Coimbra-B
  • Shortest travel time: 1 hour 39 minutes
  • Tickets: from €15

Bus (Rede Expressos)

  • Departs: Lisbon Sete Rios
  • Arrives: Coimbra
  • Shortest travel time: 2 hours 20 minutes
  • Tickets: from €12

Santarém

Santarém is another lovely town to check out on a day trip from Lisbon. 

It is an inland Portugal, about a 1-hour train ride from Santa Apolonia train station in Lisbon. 

Santarém looks out over the Tagus river from a watchtower and claims to be the capital of Portuguese Gothic. It is also a land of wines, and the scene of a reconquest resulted in the founding of Portugal.

What to do in Santarem, Portugal

  • See some exquisite examples of Gothic architecture, with an outstanding Church of Santa María da Graça
  • Enjoy the sceneries of Porta do Sol
  • Get lost in the town’s narrow alleys, perfectly cobbled and with the typical sidewalks created with care
  • Eat at Taberna Sebastiao

How to get to Santarem from Lisbon

Train

  • Departs: Lisbon Santa Apolonia
  • Arrives: Santarem
  • Shortest travel time: 1 hour 09 minutes
  • Tickets: from €5

Bus (Rede Expressos)

  • Departs: Lisbon Sete Rios
  • Arrives: Santarem
  • Shortest travel time: 1 hour 10 minutes
  • Tickets: from €9

Sesimbra

Sesimbra, Portugal
Photo by Alexandre Contador on Unsplash

Sesimbra is a very scenic spot, like many other places in Portugal. It is a tightly packed beach town with a castle on top of the mountain, lovely cliffs, and beautiful sunrises and sunsets.

What to do in Sesimbra, Portugal

  • Enjoy the finest beaches
  • Try whale-watching tours
  • Go hiking near the town
  • Eat at a seafood restaurant
  • Get to the hidden beach “Praia do Ribeiro do Cavalo”
  • Explore the Castle of Sesimbra

The hidden beach in Sesimbra

How to get to Sesimbra from Lisbon

Bus (Rede Expressos)

  • Departs: Lisbon, from Cacilhas to Cruz Pau
  • Arrives: Sesimbra
  • Shortest travel time: 1 hour 47 minutes
  • Tickets: from €9

Setúbal (Wine Tasting)

Setubal Portugal

The city of Setúbal is a fishing port that has thrived because of the fishing industry. It’s right on the Atlantic Ocean waters so that you can eat great fresh fish. The city is known for its fried fish “Choco Frito,” and they are also known for their sardines. 

It’s also not far from Arrábida Natural Park, a protected area. It does have beaches, but if you’re big into hiking or cycling, this is a place to go.

Don’t miss the chance to tase Moscatel de Setubal, a delicious dessert wine.

What to do in Setúbal, Portugal

  • Go for a wine tour 
  • Explore the Arrábida Natural Park
  • Eat local seafood dishes
  • Visit Mercado do Livramento
  • See the Church of the Monastery of Jesus

How to get to Setúbal from Lisbon

Train

  • Departs: Lisbon Campolide
  • Arrives: Setúbal
  • Shortest travel time: 49 minutes
  • Tickets: from €3

Bus (Rede Expressos)

  • Departs: Lisbon Sete Rios
  • Arrives: Setúbal
  • Shortest travel time: 45 minutes
  • Tickets: from €5

Tomar

Convent of Christ, Tomar, Portugal
Convent of Christ, Tomar, Portugal

Tomar is a UNESCO World Heritage site with the Convent of Christ, where the Knight Templars ended up going (it was the headquarters of the Order of the Templars). Inside the Convent, they have a fantastic chapel so the knights could take mess on the horses. Also, the town has some really cool festivals throughout the year.

How to get to Tomar from Lisbon

Train

  • Departs: Lisbon Santa Apolonia
  • Arrives: Tomar
  • Shortest travel time: 2 hours
  • Tickets: from €9

Bus (Rede Expressos)

  • Departs: Lisbon Sete Rios
  • Arrives: Tomar
  • Shortest travel time: 1 hour 45 minutes
  • Tickets: from €10

Spain

Cáceres, Spain

If you have a rental car, you may also want to see some Spanish towns, such as Badajoz, Cáceres, and Trujillo. It takes 2-3 hours to get there in a car, and I strongly recommend seeing Cáceres, where they filmed some Game of Thrones prequel movie scenes.

Cáceres has a beautiful blend of different architectural styles and was declared a World Heritage City by UNESCO. The Old Town looks the same as 500 years ago. It’s worth it.

Casablanca, Morocco

Casablanca, Morocco
Photo by Gabriel Garcia

If you have some more time, you may also want to fly to Casablanca, Morocco. It is only 5 hours by plane, and the flight tickets start from €65.

The Casablanca trip requires another different post which I’ll be publishing soon.

Weekend trips from Lisbon

With so many fantastic day trip locations from Lisbon, it’s sometimes hard to decide which one to choose. 

I recommend putting the more secluded destinations at the end of your Portugal bucket list. It’s because you may be too tired after the long day trip and unwilling to go anywhere even though it could be close. So, explore the nearest spots first. 

Second, if you have a free weekend or a couple of days, try going to Alentejo region, Algarve (including Benagil Caves), Porto, and Coimbra

See the table below.

Close cities and sights for a day trip from Lisbon

Distance, kmBy TrainBy Bus
Sintra3240m25m
Cascais and Estoril3340m
Sesimbra391h47m
Cabo da Roca401h15m50m (in a car)
Setubal4749m45m
Santarem821h09m1h10m
Óbidos852h1h10m
Nazaré1221h50m
Fátima1281h30m
Tomar1372h04m1h45m
Alentejo (Évora)1381h25m1h45m
Coimbra2041h39m2h20m
Algarve2823h05m
Benagil caves, Portimão284>4h3h15m
Porto3142h38m3h15m

Final thoughts

Portugal is pure love. If it is not your first time in Lisbon, you should definitely take a closer look to this small and peaceful country with many hidden gems to explore. Tell me what you think about these destinations and share your personal experiences in the comments below! 🇵🇹

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