Arrabida and Sesimbra Day Trips from Lisbon

Lisbon is a beautiful city, that is not in doubt. However, its surroundings are also a great tourist attraction in Portugal. That's why excursions to Arrábida and Sesimbra are something you can't miss when you are in the Portuguese capital.

Keyvis Montilva

Keyvis Montilva

11 min read

Arrabida and Sesimbra Day Trips from Lisbon

Lisbon, Portugal | ©Rubina Ajdary

Plans to see and do in Lisbon abound throughout the year, as it is one of the most touristic cities in Europe. The metropolitan area of the city is the most populated in the whole country and its surroundings are home to some of the most important tourist attractions in southern Portugal. Among them is the natural park of Arrábida and the picturesque coastal town of Sesimbra.

Both towns are very important for the Portuguese wine industry and stand out in their own right thanks to the beauty of their landscapes and the friendliness of their people. Therefore, I invite you to continue reading this publication that I have prepared for you, as I will tell you everything you need to know about the best excursions to these two destinations that are just 40 km from the center of Lisbon.

1. Excursion to Arrábida and Sesimbra from Lisbon with wine tasting

Wine tasting| ©Kelsey Knight
Wine tasting| ©Kelsey Knight

The first thing you need to know about an excursion to these sites from Lisbon is that it is a relatively short trip, as both are located less than 1 hour away with a road trip via high-speed highways. Now, as for the number of participants of this type of plans you have to know that it is a small group, but it is not a private excursion either, since on average there are usually about 20 people.

The main attraction of this itinerary is to know the wine farms that are located around the natural park of Arrábida, which are some of the most important areas for the Portuguese wine industry. That means that along this tour you will enjoy approximately six wine tastings in at least two different wineries. One of them at the Casa Museu Jose Maria da Fonseca, which is one of the oldest wine cellars in Portugal.

Keep in mind that this is a guided tour so you will always be accompanied by a specialist who will tell you all the historical details about each of the sites you will visit along the way. Also keep in mind that the vehicles are usually quite exclusive and always have air conditioning.

Interesting details

  • Price: the rate for an excursion like this is usually around 80€ per adult and around 40€ for children between 12 and 4 years old. The prices are quite convenient considering that this is one of the best tours and excursions from Lisbon.
  • Duration: on average this type of excursions usually last about eight hours. The wine tasting section is usually about three hours long.
  • Means of transportation: usually it is a minibus or it is also possible to choose a bus that would not be full of people, as they are only designed for groups of maximum 20 individuals.
  • Advantages of this option: six wine tastings plus a sightseeing tour at 80 euros per person is an extremely convincing rate. In addition, the fact that there is a guide is important not to miss any detail of the places you know.
  • Disadvantages of this option: the fact that the tour lasts about eight hours on average can be a bit complicated for those who are traveling to Lisbon with time on their hands.

The best tours and excursions from Lisbon

2. Private tour to Arrábida and Sesimbra from Lisbon

Arrábida| ©Hélder Lopes
Arrábida| ©Hélder Lopes

There are always those who prefer privacy and exclusivity when touring the tourist destinations that most interest them in a trip. For this reason there are private tours that also take you to these two destinations without the need to share the vehicle with a relatively large group of people.

Keep in mind that these types of activities usually start with a pick-up directly at your accommodation in Lisbon and from there the driving starts to the first stop of the itinerary. This is usually the Arrábida natural park where you will have the opportunity to enjoy the panoramic views of this forest region. The beaches of Portinho da Arrábida, Praia da Figueirinha and Albarquel beach are other sites that could be part of the tour if you wish.

Since this is a private tour, you have the last word on which places will be visited. Keep in mind that Sesimbra will always be one of the stops on this tour and therefore you will have the opportunity to enjoy the immensity of the medieval castle located at the northern end of this town. As well as strolling the streets to have lunch on your own in some Portuguese restaurants.

I highlight the fact that a private tour in a private air-conditioned vehicle could be one of the best things to do in Lisbon in summer if you want to tour the surroundings and I also highlight again the fact that this tour is reserved exclusively for your group of companions.

Details of interest

  • Price: as this is a private tour the price is always a bit higher than a shared tour. The rate is usually around 300 euros in the case of a private car, if there are more participants then the price reaches 400 or 500 euros and is divided between each of the passengers.
  • Duration: this type of private excursions also last about eight hours approximately from the departure from Lisbon to the return. Keep in mind that if you wish, you can also visit the wineries in the wine-growing areas around the Arrábida Natural Park.
  • Means of transportation: it is almost always a three or four-seater car or it is also possible that a minivan can be arranged if it is a group of more than six people.
  • Advantages of this option: with this type of excursions you have the option to tell the driver to take you to the places that really interest you. This is as long as they follow the route that will take you to Sesimbra.
  • Disadvantages of this option: if only two people are traveling in the car it may be an expensive alternative. However, it also implies less physical wear and tear that will help you to return to the city to enjoy the best gastronomic tours in Lisbon at night.

Gastronomic tour of Lisbon

How to book an excursion to Arrábida and Sesimbra from Lisbon?

Entrance to Sesimbra Castle| ©pedrik
Entrance to Sesimbra Castle| ©pedrik

You have different alternatives when booking a tour to Arrábida and Sesimbra from Lisbon and the best of all will always be through the online method. This is due to the fact that it allows you to see exactly the variation of prices according to the available dates and also usually come with an immediate confirmation of your purchase.

With an online reservation of an excursion with these characteristics you also usually have the possibility to cancel your purchase for free if you notify it with enough time in advance. In addition, you have the possibility to see comments from other users who have lived the same experience to be more sure that you are investing your money wisely. The same applies if you are looking for options on how to go from Lisbon to Porto or how to go from Lisbon to Fatima.

The option of buying the tour directly from a tourist agency located in any of Lisbon's neighborhoods is something that also applies. The problem with this alternative is that you don't know if there will be availability exactly for the date of your trip, as you are leaving this purchase to the last minute. Nor would you know if it is a convenient plan, as you have no way of comparing it with other options.

Duration of excursions to Arrábida and Sesimbra from Lisbon

Portinho da Arrábida, Portugal| ©Francisco Barrento
Portinho da Arrábida, Portugal| ©Francisco Barrento

On average an excursion from Lisbon to these two tourist destinations usually takes about six to seven hours approximately. It is possible for this to extend to eight hours or even nine hours depending on traffic and the amount of activities you do.

Exactly for this reason an excursion with this feature is recommended if you are looking for plans in Lisbon for a five-day trip or if you are thinking of activities to do in Lisbon during a four-day visit. This is due to the fact that you would still have time to tour the city and still have a couple of hours left over to explore the surrounding area.

What will I see on this type of tour?

Portinho da Arrábida, Portugal| ©Ze Maria
Portinho da Arrábida, Portugal| ©Ze Maria

On an excursion like this you can enjoy the natural scenery that characterizes the south of Lisbon and the entire populated area that has developed for centuries south of the banks and mouth of the Tagus River. Specifically in the natural park of Arrábida you will see cliffs, mountains, a forest area, some forts and also a couple of spaces with a spectacular coastal landscape.

In the stops that are related to wine tasting you can also admire the beauty of typical Portuguese villages and you could even visit medieval constructions, just as in the case of the Palmela Castle.

Keep in mind that even though there are plenty of activities in this type of excursions you will still have enough time to get to your accommodation to rest for a couple of minutes and then go out to explore the best things to see and do in Lisbon at night. The following places are basic stops on this type of tour:

Palmela Castle

This castle located beyond the eastern end of the Arrabiada natural park is a medieval fortress that is usually part of the itinerary of this type of tours. It is usually the next stop after the last wine tasting of the tour, which is undoubtedly one of the best wine tastings in Lisbon and its surroundings.


Sesimbra is a modest coastal community located at the western end of the Arrábida natural park. It has several picturesque areas, including the Forte de Santiago de Sesimbra and the castle of the same name. The castle dates back to medieval times and is located on a cliff that offers excellent views of the rest of the town. Keep in mind that this part of the itinerary is usually chosen to enjoy a good authentic Portuguese lunch.

Sanctuary of Christ the King

Sanctuary of Christ the King| ©Max Avans
Sanctuary of Christ the King| ©Max Avans

On the return to Lisbon it is usually chosen the route that goes through the 25th of April bridge. Which in itself is a real tourist attraction of the city for its similarity to the famous Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco.

Before crossing the Tagus River through this famous structure there is usually a stop at the National Sanctuary of Christ the King. This is a beautiful Catholic statue that is created in honor of the Sacred Heart of Jesus and is directly inspired by Christ the Redeemer located in the city of Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.

Tips for a day trip to Arrábida and Sesimbra from Lisbon

Sesimbra, Portugal| ©Hugo Jones
Sesimbra, Portugal| ©Hugo Jones

The first advice I can give you is to choose the tour based on your needs. It is not worth paying for a private tour for yourself if you will have no one to accompany you on the experience. On the other hand, with a shared tour to Arrábida and Sesimbra you will have the privilege of traveling with an expert in the history of the places you are visiting and at the same time you will be able to make friends with some of the people who are also participating in this tour.

Another aspect that I can advise you is to bring enough snacks and hydration. This is because there are sections of the tour where there are no stops and if at that moment you get hungry or thirsty it will be very uncomfortable to have to wait until the next part of the itinerary.

Another thing I can recommend about this type of excursions is that you do not run out of plans for when you return to the city. Most of them start early in the morning and that means that you should be back in Lisbon by 6pm. For this reason it would be good to book some activity such as a visit to the best places to listen to Fado in Lisbon or also some fancy dinner in a restaurant that catches your attention.

The best places to listen to Fado in Lisbon

How much does a trip to Arrábida and Sesimbra from Lisbon cost?

Sesimbra, Portugal| ©Marcio Azevedo
Sesimbra, Portugal| ©Marcio Azevedo

An excursion with these characteristics usually has a price that exceeds 60€ per person. However, you have to take into account the type of activities that will be included in the itinerary, since an interesting and entertaining activity with a wine tasting can make the price go up to 80 or even 100 euros per person.

Something that is also important to note about this type of excursions is that prices may vary in seasons that are less touristy. That is why excursions to the outskirts of the Portuguese capital are usually one of the best things to see and do in October in Lisbon along with the other autumn months. This is because the number of visitors drops drastically compared to the summer.

Why is it advisable to take a trip to Arrábida and Sesimbra from Lisbon?

Sesimbra, Portugal| ©Marcio Azevedo
Sesimbra, Portugal| ©Marcio Azevedo

An excursion to Arrábida and Sesimbra from Lisbon is a recommendable experience for all types of tourists because it is an activity that allows you to explore the beauty of Portugal beyond the typical tourist destinations that everyone knows.

At the same time, an excursion with these characteristics is really a very complete experience knowing that it takes you to four, five or even six important places, all for a relatively low price. That means it is an optimization of your time, as it allows you to see a lot of attractions in the area south of the mouth of the Tagus River in a single itinerary.

What are the advantages of taking a guided tour vs. visiting Arrábida and Sesimbra on my own?

Sesimbra, Portugal| ©Marcio Azevedo
Sesimbra, Portugal| ©Marcio Azevedo

A guided tour is full of advantages if you take into account that you are accompanied by a professional in dealing with tourists and that you don't have to worry about absolutely nothing to do with the logistics of the tour you are having.

Besides, there is the fact that at the end of the day it is a cost-saving experience if you value the expense you would have renting a private car, filling up the gas tank and paying the entrance fee for many of the sites that are usually included in a guided tour.

Anyway, you also have the alternative of paying for a private transfer from your accommodation in Lisbon to Sesimbra. This would save you from having to pass through some places that are not of interest to you in a relatively quick period of time and you would arrive at this coastal town that is characterized by its beauty and tranquility.