google-site-verification: google9f3eb14845093e9b.html
Arrábida natural park

Things to do at Serra da Arrábida Natural Park; a natural paradise

Serra da Arrábida is a paradise for nature lovers. This hidden gem in nature is only a 40-minute drive from Lisbon, and you’ll discover dolphins, beaches like Praia do Creiro and Praia de Galapinhos, adventurous hikes, and lush green mountains! So when you visit Portugal and want to add a beach visit and time in nature to your Lisbon itinerary, the Serra da Arrábida Natural Park is not to be missed!

Discover Portugal is fully reader-supported. For that reason, this article contains some affiliate links. I may earn a small commission when you purchase through links on this page at no additional cost to you. All revenue is used to keep this website free and updated. I only recommend products or services that I would use myself. You’ll be able to read the full disclaimer here. Thanks for your support!

Discover Serra da Arrábida Natural Park

A quick overview

What to see? Beautiful beaches, hiking trails, turquoise waters, green hills, and scenic roads.

Costs? From free, and tours starting from € 24,00 per person.

Where? Just south of Lisbon, in the District Setúbal.

Worth it? If you like nature, then YES!

What is Serra da Arrábida Natural Park

Serra da Arrábida 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, limestone cliffs, and dreamy villages. The viewpoints are unreal, and many active travellers love Serra da Arrábida. Options include cycling, rock climbing, hiking, swimming, and canoeing. Plenty of things to do in the outdoors!

Serra da Arrábida Natural Park is open to anyone and free to visit, but you’ll need a guide to see certain natural park areas to preserve scarce vegetation species. Also, note that around 400 wild boars (sometimes even spotted on the beach!) call this place home. So a private tour would be excellent if you´re nervous about wild animals. If you want to take things further, you can also do activities like speleology, coasteering, diving, and mountain climbing. Especially diving and snorkelling around the small island of Anixa is fantastic! Also, wine tasting, dolphin watching, and lazy beach days can be arranged in this magical place. Keep reading if this sounds good to you!

Things to see at Serra da Arrábida Natural Park

First and foremost, Serra da 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 spectacular beaches! But there are also some places of interest to visit. Let´s take a closer look at some not to miss sights in this beautiful part of Portugal.

Convento da Arrábida

One of the most popular places is the Convento de Nossa Senhora da Arrábida. The Monastery Convento da Arrábida was built in the sixteenth century, and you have a fantastic view of the Atlantic Ocean from here. The Franciscan Our Lady of Arrábida monastery grounds are around 25 hectares, and there is a lot to see. Discover shrines, chapels, statues of the Virgin Mary, and several buildings. The convent was founded by Friar Martinho de Santa Maria and built in the middle of the Arrábida Hills. Someone had a vision of the Virgin Mary, so this site was chosen. Convento da Arrábida is open for visits Wednesdays, Saturdays, and Sundays and only by appointment. So be sure to make your bookings beforehand!

Portinho da Arrábida

Another lovely spot is Portinho da Arrábida. It’s a little 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. Enjoy a walk on the beach or go for a swim! From Portinho da Arrábida, you can easily reach Praia do Creiro and Praia do Portinho da Arrábida. If you want to learn more about the indigenous species of Arrábida Natural Park, visiting the Oceanographic Museum is a must. It’s inside the Fort of Nossa Senhora da Arrábida. And don’t forget to check the cave and chapel of Lapa de Santa Margarida nearby. You can follow a short downhill trail towards the cave and a beautiful view over the water.

Scenic roads

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.

Serra da Arrábida beaches

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 easy to reach, and most have facilities. Some beaches have toilets, showers, sunbeds and umbrella rentals, and beach clubs to eat and drink something. Arrábida Natural Park isn’t mainly 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-hour walk to Praia de Galapinhos, and you´ll reach Praia dos Coelhos within 40 minutes. After Praia dos Coelhos, you can find the more extensive beach Praia do Creiro. In the summer, a bus from Setubal drives along the coast, making visiting the beaches more accessible. These Arrábida beaches are loved by many!

Please note: there are road closures during the 2023 summer! During the season, which runs from June 3rd until September 17th, following the decision of the Municipal Civil Protection Commission, Rua Círio da Arrábida, between the Figueirinha tunnel and the beach, is closed to vehicles and pedestrians. This is due to the risk of a fractured rocky block falling on the slope of the mountain range. Click here for more information.

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 around Serra da Arrábida can get busy, and parking can be challenging. Arriving early or later in the day might be helpful.

Fun and exciting activities

The hills surrounding the Arrabida beaches are not just for looking. There are plenty of activities nearby and some lovely towns to visit. Discover all the other things you can do in this area!

Hiking in the steep hills of Serra da Arrábida

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 will help you plan your routes and provide offline maps. Recommended routes 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

Do you have some extra time to explore? Check out these fantastic places in the nearby area!

The Sado Estuary

Besides the beautiful beaches, nature, and sights of Parque Natural da Arrábida, there are plenty of places to discover. Visiting the Sado Estuary is a must to find more peaceful natural moments. 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.

Visit the nearby towns

Setúbal is a stunning coastal town that is well worth a visit! 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. The Castle of Palmela is located on top of a mountain, and you can stay the night in the mesmerising Pousada! What a unique place to sleep!

Cabo Espichel

For stunning views, Cabo Espichel is the place to be. The cape is located on the west coast of Portugal on the Setúbal Peninsula. Enjoy a walk towards the lighthouse Farol do Cabo Espichel, or visit the Santuário de Nossa Senhora do Cabo Espichel. The church at the sanctuary is often open, and you can walk around the buildings for a short walk. There is a small chapel (Ermida da Memória), and you have a fantastic view over the beach Praia dos Lagosteiros.

Along the cliffs of Cabo Espichel, you will find one more incredible site! Two sets of dinosaur footprints were found that stem from the Late Jurassic times and the Cretaceous Period! You can find one at the Pedra da Mua Natural Monument and the other at the Lagosteiros Natural Monument. Visit both during a lovely coastal hike along Praia dos Lagosteiros. The Pedra da Mua tracks can only be viewed from a distance and were associated with fishermen’s sighting of the Virgin Mary, which is why this area became an important sanctuary and pilgrim destination. The Lagosteiros are easier to reach but harder to spot.

The Troia Peninsula

Portugal is famous for its stunning beaches, and nearby it’s worth visiting the Troia Peninsula. Take the ferry from Setúbal to Tróia to discover the other beaches along the coast. You can bring your bike or car on the ferry, so it’s easy to see the peninsula. You can enjoy the Atlantic Ocean on one side and the Sado Estuary on the other. Visit places like Comporta, including Praia da Comporta and enjoy horse riding on the beach. Or discover the beautiful beach Praia do Carvalhal. It’s great for surfing, but also relaxing!

How to get to Arrábida Natural Park from Lisbon

By public transport

Arrábida Natural Park is nestled between the seaside towns of Setúbal and Sesimbra and is pretty easy to reach by public transport. From Lisbon, there are direct and regular trains to Setúbal. From Setúbal, some buses drive through the park towards Sesimbra. There are a few places where you can easily disembark and start a hike. In summer, some buses run from Setúbal to the beaches of Arrábida. This service usually begins in June and ends in mid-September.

By car

Renting a car is another excellent way to explore the Lisbon region. You reach the protected area from Lisbon in under 1 hour by car. You can easily cross the Ponte 25 de Abril over the River River and follow the A2 towards Setúbal. You can also cross the River Tagus via the Ponte Vasco da Gama bridge and follow the A12. Depending on the traffic, the total driving time is around 40 minutes for both routes. Hiring a car is great if you want to stop at multiple places and create your own itinerary. Drive to the highest point, enjoy the crystal clear water, discover Serra do Risco, and visit Cabo Espichel. You can quickly drive to all the beaches, such as Praia da Figueirinha, or even visit the nearby Sado Estuary! If you like a bit of freedom, renting a car is a perfect option for you!

TIP: Please note there are toll roads on your way, so be sure to add a toll tracker when you rent your car. For more information about car rental in Portugal, click here. And to book your car rental, click the image below to get the best price!

With a tour

If you don’t have a car, you can join one of the many tours to Arrabida 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. Joining an excursion is a fantastic way to enjoy a beautiful beach, the rolling hills, and the winding road through the area. You get to meet fellow travellers, or you can opt for a private tour. Peak season is in summer, and booking in advance will secure your spot in this stunning place!

Hotels around Parque Natural da Arrábida

If you need a break from the hustle and bustle of the city, there are stunning places to stay overnight. Many hotels and accommodations are located in nature, and a sandy beach is often within reach! And as you can see, there is also a lot to explore during your time here. Discover a selection of gorgeous hotels and apartments to extend your visit to this beautiful landscape in Portugal.


The Arrábida mountains are known for the many hiking trails, and the Arrábida natural park has some of Portugal's best beaches!

If you love turquoise water, green hills and paradise beaches, you´ll love it here! Besides, there is a lot to see and do in the area.

You can take public transport towards Setúbal, rent a car or join a tour.

The highest point is 499 metres (1,637 ft) (São Lourenço)


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! It makes for a great day trip within the Lisbon region!

Written by Marga

Written by Marga

Content creator, travel writer and photographer

All Posts

Share :


I’m Marga, the blogger and photographer behind this site! I live in Lisbon, and I’m a cat-mum to 13-year-old Savage. I love coffee, cheese, a good book and exploring this beautiful country. I write about Lisbon and the rest of Portugal, and I hope this website will help as an inspiration for your holiday.

13 Responses

  1. 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!

  2. 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.

  3. 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.

  4. 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.

  5. This place looks just stunning! Azeitão, being a wine lover’s destination, makes a visit to the park even more worthwhile 🙂

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *