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Exploring a Coastal Paradise: Nature and Culture between Serra da Arrábida and Sesimbra

Updated: 22 hours ago

Discover the unspoilt beauty of Serra da Arrábida and Sesimbra on this exciting sightseeing tour! Explore crystal-clear beaches and breathtaking landscapes, taste the wine produced in a local vineyard while immersing yourself in the rich history and culture of this picturesque region of Portugal.


Praias Serra da Arrábida


Arrábida and Sesimbra: Where Golden Sand Beaches Meet Surrounding Vineyards

Portugal is known for its stunning coastline and world-renowned wines, and there's no better way to experience the union of these wonders than on a sightseeing tour of the stunning Arrábida and Sesimbra region. This is a destination where golden sandy beaches meet the surrounding vineyards, providing a truly unforgettable experience for nature and wine lovers.


Serra da Arrábida: A Refuge of Natural Beauty

The Sanctuary of Our Lady of Cape Espichel, located on the westernmost point of the Sesimbra coast, is a unique civil and religious architectural complex that combines the monumentality of the building with the immateriality of religious devotion. It consists of the church, guest houses, Ermida da Memória, the ruined Opera House, the Pilgrims' Gardens, the Water House and the aqueduct. The monument's landscape setting, on a plateau that ends in cliffs overlooking the sea, makes it monumental.

Santuário de Nossa Senhora do Cabo Espichel

The high influx of pilgrims to the site, fuelled by the establishment of the Confraternity of Our Lady of the Cape in 1432, led to the erection of the main buildings that make up the architectural complex between 1701 and 1770: the Casa da Água (Water House), dating from 1770 and supplied by an aqueduct, the Church, built between 1701-1707 in the ground floor style, two wings of guesthouses built after 1715 and extended between 1745-1760, and the Opera House, dating from the late 1800s.

With the Napoleonic invasions, worship went into progressive decline, halted, however, by various restoration works carried out over the last few decades.


At an altitude of 168 metres from sea level, and close to the Religious Sanctuary, we can see the Cabo Espichel Lighthouse.

Farol do Cabo Espichel

For many centuries, the Portuguese coast was known to foreign ships, especially the British, as the ‘black coast’, as there was no lighting system to help navigation. At the end of the 18th century, the Marquis of Pombal ordered the construction of a network of lighthouses to make it safer, including Cabo Espichel, one of the oldest in Portugal, built in 1790.


More than 200 years later, the lighthouse still fulfils its function and is a true symbol of Cabo Espichel. Admiring the landscape from the top of the 32-metre tower is, in itself, a unique experience worth the 135 stone and 15 iron steps you have to climb to get there, but there is much more to discover along the route.





Arrábida is blessed with some of the most stunning beaches in Portugal, with crystal-clear waters and picturesque coves. One of the most famous is Praia do Portinho da Arrábida, nestled between green hills and limestone cliffs. This unspoilt beach is perfect for relaxing in the sun, snorkelling in the clear waters or simply enjoying a stroll along the coast.

Another hidden gem is Praia dos Coelhos, accessible only by footpath, which makes it even more special. Here, visitors can enjoy a sense of isolation and tranquillity while contemplating the unspoilt natural beauty that surrounds this unique beach.



Praia da Califórnia, Sesimbra
The Charm of Sesimbra: Ancient Castles and Tasty Gastronomy

Just a short distance from Arrábida is the charming town of Sesimbra, where time seems to have stood still. Dominated by its medieval castle, classified as a National Monument on 16 June 1910, Sesimbra Castle is the last of the castles on the sea that have survived, well preserved, to the present day.

Inside there are two permanent exhibitions on its history, a heritage interpretation centre, a church and a disused cemetery. It also has a museum circuit that allows visitors to enjoy the various points of interest of the property on their own. Visitors can walk along the ramparts and enjoy a privileged view of the town of Sesimbra and the region.

This picturesque town offers a fascinating blend of history and coastal beauty. Visitors can explore the typical cobbled streets, discover ancient churches and enjoy panoramic views of the ocean from the castle walls.

But Sesimbra isn't just about history - it's also a gastronomic paradise. The local restaurants offer a variety of fresh fish dishes, caught in the surrounding waters, and delicious seafood. Be sure to try Sesimbra's famous fish stew, a comforting meal that combines the flavours of the sea with fresh, local ingredients.


Tasting the Best Local Wine

For wine lovers, a visit to the Sesimbra region wouldn't be complete without exploring its stunning vineyards and sampling the local wines. The local wineries benefit from a unique climate, influenced by the proximity of the Atlantic Ocean and the sunny slopes of the surrounding hills. This unique environment provides ideal conditions for growing high-quality grapes, resulting in distinctive and flavoursome wines.

During the tour, visitors have the opportunity to learn about the different varieties of grapes grown in the region, traditional winemaking methods and the area's viticultural history. And, of course, a wine tasting is not to be missed, where visitors can savour a selection of wines, each reflecting the unique character of the place.


Campo de Vinha

⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ Enjoy this tour of the Serra da Arrabida and Sesimbra, with a tasting of the region's wines. Find out more about our private tours around Lisbon.



10 must-see places in Arrábida and Sesimbra:
  1. Portinho da Arrábida Beach: One of the most beautiful beaches in the region, with crystal-clear waters and stunning natural surroundings.

  2. Praia dos Coelhos: A more secluded and wild beach, accessible only by footpath, offering a peaceful and unique experience.

  3. Sesimbra Castle: A medieval castle that dominates the Sesimbra landscape, offering panoramic views over the town and the ocean.

  4. Historic Centre of Sesimbra: Cobbled streets, colourful houses and a charming atmosphere, ideal for strolling around and discovering the region's history.

  5. Arrábida Convent: A former convent located in the heart of the Arrábida Natural Park, offering breathtaking views over the coast and the surrounding vineyards.

  6. Praia da Figueirinha: A popular beach with calm waters and golden sands, perfect for families and sunbathing.

  7. Cabo Espichel: An impressive promontory with a historic lighthouse and breathtaking views of the Atlantic Ocean.

  8. Vila Nogueira de Azeitão: A charming village known for its traditional wines and cheeses, where visitors can enjoy tastings and visits to wineries.

  9. Miradouro da Baleeira: A hidden viewpoint with spectacular views over the bay of Sesimbra and the cliffs of Arrábida.

  10. Santuário de Nossa Senhora do Cabo Espichel: A religious sanctuary with an impressive church and stunning views of the ocean, providing a serene setting for contemplation and reflection.


These are just a few of the many fascinating places to explore in Arrábida and Sesimbra, each offering a unique perspective on the natural beauty and rich history of this region of Portugal.





Conclusion

A sightseeing tour of the Arrábida and Sesimbra region is a truly enriching experience, where the natural beauty of the stunning beaches meets the cultural richness of the local vineyards. Whether you're relaxing in the sun in a secluded cove, exploring the historic streets of Sesimbra or savouring award-winning wines in picturesque surroundings, this destination has something for everyone. So next time you're in Portugal, take some time to discover the magic of Arrábida and Sesimbra - you won't be disappointed.

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