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Discover Arrábida Natural Park
What is Arrábida Natural Park
Arrábida Natural Park is a protected natural area in Portugal, just a 40-minute drive south of Lisbon. The park was founded in 1976, and it consists of 176.41 km2. It’s a fabulous day trip from Lisbon if you love paradise beaches, rugged cliffs and forts. Serra de Arrábida consists of forested hills and dreamy villages. The viewpoints are unreal, and many sporty travellers love Arrábida. Options include cycling, hiking, swimming, and canoeing.
Arrábida Natural Park is open to anyone and free to visit. You’ll need a guide to see some natural park areas to preserve extremely rare vegetation species. If you want to take things a step further, you can also do activities like speleology, diving and mountain climbing. Especially diving and snorkelling around the small island of Anixa is fantastic! Also, wine tasting, dolphin spotting, and lazy beach days can be arranged in this magical place. Keep reading if this sounds good to you!
Things to see at Arrábida Natural Park
First and foremost, Arrábida Natural Park is perfect for nature lovers! It’s a lovely spot to escape the bustling city of Lisbon for a day and an excellent location for hiking. Most people travel to Parque Natural da Arrábida to visit the stunning beaches! But there are also some places of interest to visit. One of the most popular places is the Convento de Nossa Senhora da Arrábida. The Monastery was built in the sixteenth century, and you have an amazing view of the Atlantic Ocean from here. The Monastery is open for visits Wednesdays, Saturdays, and Sundays and only by appointment.
Another lovely spot is Portinho da Arrábida. It’s hard to park your car here, but tuk-tuks can drive you to the parking area in summer. There is a restaurant where you can grab a bite to eat, and you’ll enjoy lovely views. If you want to learn more about the indigenous species of Arrábida Natural Park, visiting the Oceanographic Museum is a must. It’s located within the Fort of Nossa Senhora da Arrábida. Don’t forget to check the cave and chapel of Lapa de Santa Margarida nearby.
If you rent a car, don’t forget to drive along the N379-1. It’s known to be one of the most scenic routes in Portugal! Follow the footsteps of James Bond in the movie On Her Majesty’s Secret Service, and discover the fantastic viewpoints along the route.
Arrábida Natural Park has several beaches that the locals love visiting. Praia do Creiro, Praia dos Coelhos, Praia de Galapinhos, and Praia da Figueirinha, Praia da Rasca are all easy to reach, and most of them have some facilities. Some beaches have toilets, showers, sunbeds and umbrella rentals, and beach clubs to eat and drink something. Arrábida Natural Park isn’t particularly known for the best parking spots, but Praia da Figueirinha, for example, has a big car park. There is a bar and a restaurant, and in summer, there are sometimes parties, including a DJ. From Praia da Figueirinha, it’s a half an hour’s walk to Praia de Galapinhos. During the summer months, a bus from Setubal drives along the coast, so it’s easier to visit the beaches. These Arrábida praias are loved by many!
There are also stunning beaches that take more work to reach. If you love a good hike and a secluded bay, you should check out Praia dos Penedos, Praia do Ribeiro do Cavalo or Praia da Baleeira. There are no facilities, but also a lot fewer people! Especially in summer, all beaches at Arrábida Natural Park can get busy, and parking can be challenging. Arriving early or later in the day might be helpful.
Parque Natural da Arrábida hiking
Serra de Arrábida is genuinely a hikers’ paradise! With 380 meters, Serra do Risco is the highest peak of the Serra da Arrábida mountain range. It’s even the highest peak on the continental coast of Portugal! The mountain range is 35 kilometres long, and there are plenty of trails to discover. An app like Komoot or WalkMe will help you plan your routes and provide offline maps. Recommendations are Alto do Formosinho, Marmitas de Gigante, Cabo de Ares, and Portinho da Arrábida. The trails are usually calm and quiet, even during the high season. Make sure you bring plenty of water and the right gear! There are also plenty of cycling routes in Arrábida Natural Park, but you must be extremely careful with the traffic.
Wine tasting at Arrábida Natural Park
Azeitão is the place for winelovers! The small town consists of cute streets and colourful houses and is part of the Costa Azul wine route. The Península de Setúbal is known mainly for the Moscatel grape variety. There are several wine cellars and businesses to discover—for example, the family business of José Maria de Fonseca with a 200-year history. The historic house is now a museum where you learn more about the estate and its history. Palácio and Quinta de Bacalhôa is one of the largest ones in Portugal. The owner José Berardo is also known for the Berardo Collection in Lisbon and the Buddha Eden Garden north of Lisbon. Here you’ll enjoy the vineyards, beautiful buildings, and wine! You can try many different types of wines. For both places, it’s a recommendation to book in advance. Or visit during one of the tours from Lisbon!
Other things to do close to Arrábida Natural Park
Besides the beautiful beaches, nature, and sights of Parque Natural da Arrábida, there are plenty of places to discover in the area. Visiting the Sado Estuary is a must to find more peaceful moments in nature. It’s a paradise for bird lovers! You can hike along the marshes or discover the Sado river by boat. Chances are, you’ll also find the bottleneck dolphins in the river! Boat trips leave from Mourisca Tide Mill or Setúbal.
Setúbal is a lovely city to visit as well. Discover the Casa da Baia, the Fort of São Filipe de Setúbal, or the Troino neighbourhood. Or go to Sesimbra and discover the gorgeous castle on the hill. For stunning views, Cabo Espichel is the place to be. Or find the Castle of Palmela and stay the night in the mesmerising Pousada!
How to get to Arrábida Natural Park from Lisbon
Arrábida Natural Park is nestled between the seaside towns of Setúbal and Sesimbra. From Lisbon, there is a direct train to Setúbal. From Setúbal, some buses drive through the park towards Sesimbra. In summer, some buses run from Setúbal to the beaches of Arrábida. But renting a car or joining a tour is best to enjoy the nature of Arrábida Natural Park.
From Lisbon, you reach Arrábida Natural Park in under 1 hour by car. You can easily cross the Ponte 25 de Abril over the Tagus river and follow the A2 towards Setúbal. You can also cross the Tagus via the Ponte Vasco da Gama bridge and follow the A12. The total driving time is around 40 minutes for both routes, depending on the traffic.
If you don’t have a car, you can join one of the many tours to Arrábida Natural Park. The tours usually stop in several places such as Cabo Espichel, Castelo de Sesimbra and Sesimbra town, the wine-producing town Azeitão, and Setúbal.
Hotels around Parque Natural da Arrábida
Even better, stay the night somewhere around Parque Natural da Arrábida! As you can see, there is a lot to explore, and it’s a brilliant place to visit. Check a selection of gorgeous hotels and apartments on Booking to extend your visit in nature.
For a daily dose of nature, Arrábida Natural Park is a place not to miss. Whether you want to visit a beach, go hiking, or enjoy Portuguese wines, there are sights of interest for many. The easiest way to see Parque Natural da Arrábida is with a day tour from Lisbon. If you rent a car, you can discover secluded beaches and travel off the beaten path!
Your photographs are stunning! The view from Lapa de Santa Margarida is amazing! I can’t believe how blue the waters are, what a lovely place!
Ah, thanks, Danielle! Really appreciate your comment!
This looks so amazing!! I’d love to experience something like this.
Fingers crossed you will some day!
I am loving all the new places your blog is adding for a return visit to Portugal. We have totally missed great outdoor spots like Serra da Arrábida Natural Park. It looks like a great way to enjoy some outdoor adventures on a day trip from Lisbon. We will plan to go to Portinho da Arrábida for lunch and be warned about the parking situation. Saved this post.
Thank you, Linda! When you come back, let me know!
I haven’t traveled much outside of the United States. This article is really inspiring me to do so. Your pictures of the cave and chapel of Lapa de Santa Margarida are stunning.
Thank you, Melissa! The US has many beautiful things to see also. But maybe you can travel to Portugal some day!
The timing on reading this for me is perfect. I am leaving for Portugal next week and we are driving south of Lisbon at one point of the trip. I had no idea this park existed. So it’s great to find out all the things to do there for a nature lover like me. Thanks for sharing.
Best timing ever! Let me know if you need a hand during your time in Portugal. Happy to help!
This looks like such a beautiful place in Portugal, definitely going in our Portugal itinerary. Thank you
Anytime Asha! Thanks for your comment!
This place looks just stunning! Azeitão, being a wine lover’s destination, makes a visit to the park even more worthwhile 🙂