Even though our trip to Lisbon was short, we had the opportunity to do a few quick day trips. We visited the towns of Sintra and Cascais, which are both located just 45 minutes outside of Lisbon. Trains to both destinations depart regularly from the Rossio and Cais do Sodre stations respectively.
Sinatra is home to a number of historic sites including the colourful Pena Palace. To get to Pena Palace, you need to board a bus outside of the train station. A return trip will cost €5. Walking or cycling are also options but most of the route is hilly and the roads are quite narrow without sidewalks.
The trip takes about 10-15 minutes in total depending on the number of stops as well as the traffic along the route. Be prepared to spend several hours exploring the grounds of Pena Palace. The castle contains a lot of history and is beautiful both inside and out!
Aside from the Palace and other historic sites, one can easily spend an entire day in Sinatra – exploring the shops, enjoying a relaxed lunch and walking around the town. I always enjoy exploring new places at a leisurely pace. You never know what you might find. I would have liked more time so we could have done just that. However, those with just half a day to spare will have more than enough time for a quick visit.
A friend of mine who’s familiar with Portugal described Cascais as being similar to the Hamptons; a beachside getaway for those living in Lisbon. The main draw for us was Boca do Inferno – a series of cliffs and caves right by the ocean. Sometimes the waves can be quite dramatic with the waves crashing against the Cliffside. But on the day we visited, the sun was shining, there was a warm breeze in the air and the waves calmly lapped the shore, making for quite the picturesque scene.
We also had a chance to visit the beach and walk a short distance before heading back to the train station. There weren’t many people out on the beach or in the water as it was cool out. But I thought Cascais would have been awesome spot to visit in the summer and to spend the day on the beach.
Cachilas was not specifically a day trip but we thought it would be fun to take the ferry over and explore the sights on the other side of the Tagus river. The ferry ride departs from the Cais do Sodre station frequently throughout the day and the trip was about 20 minutes total. The big attractions in Almada are Cristo Rei and the 25 de Abril bridge. We didn’t make it over to the Cristo Rei statue because we had started the trek over late in the day. I believe it was a last minute decision to head over so we were limited with time. I was disappointed we didn’t have a chance to spend more time there but thought what we saw was still interesting.
And that brings my trip to Lisbon to a close! I would say that five days gave us a good amount of time to see the sights, take in the city and to take a couple of short day trips. My personal favourite was Cascais. Being an outdoorsy person, I loved exploring the area around Boca do Inferno as well as spending time at the beach. The sunshine and warm air made me nostalgic for summer! It was nice especially since we would be heading back to Toronto and several months of winter weather.
Coming up shortly will be my trip to Hong Kong/China. It’s my first time travelling to Asia and I’ll be running a race there as well. I’m a little worried about the jet lag but I’m really excited and I can’t wait to share my trip with you!