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11 Incredible Day Trips From Lisbon Portugal

Embarking on one or more of the best day trips from Lisbon Portugal is going to enrich your visit to Portugal’s beautiful capital.

From the fairy-tale palaces and lush gardens of Sintra to the breathtaking coastlines and charming old town of Cascais, both located less than an hour away from Lisbon, there are plenty of nearby day trip destinations to explore.

For those willing to venture further, the vibrant city of Porto, a three-hour drive from Lisbon, promises a long but rewarding day trip filled with rich history, and unique culture.

These are just a few examples, and there are countless other captivating destinations awaiting your discovery in Portugal.

I’ve categorized my recommendations into two main sections: shorter day trips, reachable within a two-hour drive, most of those only take about an hour to get there, and longer day trip destinations, requiring more than a two-hour journey.

Now, let’s jump right into it.

Best day trips from Lisbon less than 2 hours journey time

If you’re looking to make the most out of your Lisbon day trip, targeting destinations that can be reached in under two hours by car or public transport is a fantastic strategy.

This way, you have plenty of time to explore the beauty and culture of your chosen destination without feeling rushed.

You might even be able to squeeze in multiple destinations if you travel by car or take a tour as some of those destinations are very close together and it doesn’t take that long to get there. However, with public transportation, this might be a bit more challenging.

1. Sintra

View down a well, there's a stairwell leading to the bottom; Is Sintra worth visiting? Yes, so you can see this amazing well
My favorite part of my day trip to Sintra, the magical gardens of Quinta da Regaleira

Sintra is one of the most popular day trips around Lisbon. It’s a picturesque town nestled amidst pine-covered hills with fairy-tale palaces, historic castle walls, and mysterious grottoes.

The best way to get from Lisbon to Sintra is by train, it’s very affordable and the train ride only takes 40 minutes.

Pena Palace is the town’s most popular attraction with its colorful design and whimsical architecture. But its popularity can make it overcrowded during peak season and I don’t think Sintra is worth visiting for this palace alone. Luckily, there are some more amazing attractions in this small town.

The highlight of my Sintra day trip was without a doubt the Quinta da Regaleira, a gothic mansion enveloped by lush gardens, intricate grottoes, and mystifying underground tunnels.

I also really enjoyed walking the walls of the Moorish Castle, from there you have the best view of the surrounding area.

🤩 Check the prices for a private tour to Sintra!

2. Cascais

Tina in front of coast Boca do Inferno, one of the must-see sights on a day trip from Lisbon to Cascais
It’s a very impressive coastline near Cascais

Cascais is a charming coastal town just a short distance away from Lisbon. A quick 40-minute train journey will bring you to this delightful town renowned for its stunning coastline, sandy beaches, and quaint, historic center.

On the day of my Cascais day trip, the weather wasn’t quite warm enough for a dip in the ocean, but usually Cascais is the best place for a beach day near Lisbon. I just had a quick look at the Cascais beaches and kept walking to the stunning cliffs just outside Cascais.

You can easily walk to the stunning ‘Boca do Inferno’, a unique sea arch and cave. There you can witness the relentless crash of the waves of the Atlantic Ocean against the cliffs. It’s one of the best things to see in Cascais.

Near the town of Cascais, you can also find the westernmost point of mainland Portugal, Cabo da Roca. The jaw-dropping cliff views, dramatic coastline, and the knowledge that you’re standing at the edge of Europe make this detour well worth it.

Most tours from Lisbon to Sintra stop at Cabo da Roca and some even add a stop in Cascais as well. So, taking a tour is a great way to combine those two destinations.

🤩 I love this guided tour to Sintra and Cascais for its extreme customizability!

3. Évora

The remains of a Roman Temple in Evora, one of the best day trips from Lisbon
Temple of Diana in Evora

Évora is a UNESCO world heritage site, which is a 90-minute drive from Lisbon. This splendid city is steeped in history. It’s a dazzling blend of Roman, Gothic, and Baroque architectural styles.

The main attractions in Évora are the famous Roman Temple, which is a compelling testament to Evora’s ancient roots, the city’s cathedral, which is the largest medieval cathedral in Portugal, and a fascinating bone chapel, which is filled with thousands of human bones.

Evora is also home to the second oldest university in Portugal which is open for visitors even during classes!

Tip: Because of its location inland it can get really hot in summer. So, if you can’t handle heat very well it might not be the best day trip for you during hot summer days.

4. Obidos

View from the city walls in Obidos toward the town
Walking on the ancient city walls is the highlight of a day trip from Lisbon to Obidos

Obidos is an enchanting medieval town not far from Lisbon. You can get there by car in about one hour or by bus in about one and a half hours. Unfortunately, there are no trains from Lisbon to Obidos.

The whole town of Obidos is nestled within fortified walls. Its narrow cobbled streets are lined with traditional white houses and decorated with colorful flowers. So, one of the best things to do in Obidos is to simply stroll through the charming town and take in the views.

Obido’s castle stands tall on top of a hill and can be seen from almost everywhere in town. A part of the castle is now a charming hotel, so if you ever wanted to stay in a castle you might want to turn your day trip into an overnight stay.

The highlight of the day trip is undoubtedly strolling along the fortified walls, taking in the spectacular views of the beautiful town and the surrounding countryside. I just love city walls!

Don’t miss trying the famous cherry liqueur, ‘Ginja’, which is traditionally served in a chocolate cup.

5. Nazaré

An areal view of a small beach town in Portugal
Best view of Nazare

Nazare is the perfect day trip destination for all surfers. It takes about 1.5 hours by car or by bus from Lisbon to Nazare.

The small town is known worldwide for its big waves that attract professional surfers from all over the world. And by big, I really mean big, in 2011 the world record was set in Nazare for surfing the biggest wave which was 30 meters!

The village itself is quite charming as well and there are a few amazing things to do in Nazare. It still shows the traditional Portuguese way of life, from its charming, whitewashed houses to the fisherwomen dressed in seven skirts, a local tradition.

Another highlight of this great day trip from Lisbon to Nazare is a ride on the funicular up to Sitio, the hilly headland of Nazare. From there, you can enjoy breathtaking views over the beach, the marina, and the white village of Nazare.

At the top of Sitia is the small chapel of Ermida da Memoria, which is worth a short visit.

6. Tomar

The courtyard of a yellow palace with intricate details in Tomar
The Convent of Christ is the main attraction in Tomar

Tomar is renowned for the magnificent Convent of Christ, a UNESCO World Heritage site that once served as the headquarters for the Knights Templar.

So, if you ever wanted to learn more about the Knights Templar a day trip from Lisbon to Tomar is the best chance to do so.

As you wander through the cobblestone streets of this charming town, you’ll also come across the 15th-century Church of Santa Maria dos Olivais, another testament to the town’s intriguing history.

It takes about 1.5 hours by car and about 2 hours by train to get from Lisbon to Tamar.

7. Fátima

A big square with a church and a lot of people
Fatima can get packed with pilgrims

Fatima, a deeply spiritual town just an hour and a half drive from Lisbon, is one of Portugal’s most important pilgrimage sites.

The small town is known worldwide among believers for the apparition of the Virgin Mary to three shepherd children in 1917. The Sanctuary of Our Lady of Fatima draws millions of pilgrims each year.

The vast square is anchored by the starkly modern Basilica of the Holy Trinity and the neo-classical Basilica of Our Lady of the Rosary.

Be sure to visit the Chapel of Apparitions, marking the exact spot where the Virgin Mary supposedly appeared.

Whether you’re a believer or simply a curious traveler, Fatima has a very unique atmosphere for sure.

Best day trips from Lisbon more than 2 hours journey time

While the day trip destinations mentioned so far are within a two-hour drive from Lisbon, there are a few incredible places a bit further away that are too exceptional to be left unmentioned.

Even though the following Lisbon Portugal day trips require a drive longer than two hours, meaning it’s going to be a very long day, their sheer beauty and historical richness make them worth the extra travel time.

However, due to the distance, it might be more comfortable to consider spending at least one night there, to fully soak in the atmosphere and explore all the attractions without feeling rushed.

You can also include some of those destinations in a longer 10-day Portugal itinerary or even a 10-day Portugal and Spain itinerary.

8. Coimbra

View of Coimbra from a bridge
View of the city of Coimbra

Coimbra, known as the medieval capital of Portugal, is a captivating city that’s a bit over a two-hour drive from Lisbon.

The city is famous for the University of Coimbra, one of the oldest universities in in the world, dating back to 1290. Wandering through the university’s grand buildings and the University’s botanical garden, you’re transported back in time to centuries of academic tradition.

The highlight of my trip to Coimbra was the Joanina Library, a stunning Baroque masterpiece that houses rare historic books. Unfortunately, you’re not allowed to take pictures inside.

The city is also home to a charming old town with narrow, winding streets, and an impressive cathedral, Sé Velha.

Beyond the rich history, Coimbra offers a vibrant cultural scene and a youthful energy brought by its student population.

This blend of history, culture, and energy makes Coimbra worth visiting as a day trip from Lisbon. However, the best way to visit Coimbra is as a halfway stop from Lisbon to Porto.

9. Aveiro

Two boats on a canal next to a palm tree in Aveiro Portugal
Aveiro is Portugal’s Venice

Aveiro, often referred to as the “Venice of Portugal”, is another fantastic day trip option, sitting just two and a half hours away from Lisbon by car or about 2 hours by fast train.

The city is known for its beautiful network of canals, traversed by colorful boats known as ‘moliceiros’, which were used to harvest seaweed. Today, these boats ferry tourists around, offering a unique perspective of the city.

Other great attractions on a day trip from Lisbon to Aveiro are the colorful striped buildings in Costa Nova, the small beach town just next to Aveiro, and the beautiful beach.

In case you visit Porto after your stay in Lisbon, you might want to consider doing a day trip from Porto to Aveiro instead since Aveiro is closer to Porto than Lisbon.

If you want that Venice feeling in Portugal, Aveiro is the right choice for you.

10. Porto

View of the old town of Porto and a steel bridge spanning a river, the best view of any 3 day Porto itinerary
View of Ribeira and the bridge

Porto, Portugal’s second-largest city, is a three-hour drive from Lisbon. This means a day trip from Lisbon to Porto is going to be extremely long and I recommend spending at least one night in Porto, so you don’t have to spend 6 hours on the return journey.

Porto is known for its impressive bridges, the production of port wine, and the city’s historic center, Ribeira, which is a UNESCO World Heritage site.

On a day in Porto, you can stroll through the narrow streets, take a boat trip on the Douro River, and see all the best attractions.

Porto is also the perfect place for a port wine tasting. A wine tasting is usually included in a tour through the wine cellars in Vila Nova de Gaia, where you can learn about the process of making port wine.

Don’t miss a visit to the iconic Livraria Lello, considered one of the most beautiful bookstores in the world.

Porto has so much to offer, you can easily spend three days in the city to explore it and the surrounding area.

🤩 Make the most out of your day with an epic day tour to Porto!

11. Algarve

A cave with a circular opening at the top and green water at the bottom; those are the famous Benagil caves in the Algarve
The famous Benagil Cave in the Algarve

The Algarve is a beautiful coastal region in the South of Portugal. It’s known for its breathtaking cliffs, picturesque coastal scenery, beautiful beaches, clear water, and charming towns.

The only downside is the considerable distance from Lisbon, it takes about 3 hours by car and even more by public transport.

Given the substantial distance, I highly recommend opting for a guided tour from Lisbon to the Algarve to make the most of your time if you’re planning just a day trip. A tour ensures you cover the highlights of this beautiful region without the stress of planning and driving.

Some of the highlights of any Algarve itinerary are the fascinating Benagil Caves, the charming town of Lagos with its breathtaking Atlantic coast, and the old town of Faro.

However, to really sink into the Algarve’s charm, I highly encourage spending more than a day, ideally, a few nights. This way, you can explore beyond the touristy west side, delving into the more authentic east side of the Algarve as well.

I spent a month housesitting there and can attest to the incredible, authentic experiences this side of the region offers.

🤩 See the most beautiful places of the Algarve on a day tour from Lisbon!

Final thoughts: Best Lisbon day trips

On a day trip from the Portuguese capital, you can experience more of the country’s history, culture, breathtaking landscapes, and regional differences.

Whether it’s the reverent serenity of Fatima, the academic richness of Coimbra, the canal-lined streets of Aveiro, the vibrant energy of Porto, or the stunning coastal vistas of the Algarve, each destination brings its unique charm and allure.

Ultimately, the best day trip from Lisbon for you depends on your personal interests, the kind of experiences you seek, and the amount of travel time you’re comfortable with. The choice is uniquely yours to make.

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Best Day Trips Lisbon Has to Offer

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