It’s not a secret, that I’m in love with Portugal. After more than two months of exploring this country, quite a lot of places, due to their beauty and charm, became very special.
However, Lisbon isn’t one of them. Don’t get me wrong – it’s a very interesting city and, I believe, that as a capital with a rich history, it should definitely be visited. However, I personally didn’t enjoy it even as close, as, for example, I loved Porto.
Nevertheless, some of the towns, all the beaches, landscape and weather around Lisbon are way more awesome, than in the Northern part of the country. In fact, for me Central Portugal is even better than the famous Algarve region in the South. It seems kind of more authentic and charming, than the part, basically, famous only for its beaches.
So, if not capital itself, what makes this region so awesome for me? Well, there are 3 places around Lisbon, that I am completely in love with. And I believe, that you, Dear Reader, have (HAVE!) to visit them. So, take Portugal’s map and mark the following locations on it.
Or, as the town have named itself – home of the biggest waves.
So firstly, it’s a waves, that makes this place special. Due to the underwater canyon, they can reach even more than 30 meters!!! Personally, I have always dreamed to see really, really big waves. It seems like a visible expression of how powerful nature is. However, I visited Nazaré twice and the ocean was peaceful as a sleeping child. But P., who had a chance to visit Nazaré in the winter, said that it was the most awesome waves he had ever seen1.
Secondly, Nazaré is located on two levels – the upper part is another reason, that makes this town special. It’s like a separate, peaceful town with the spectacular scenic overlook to the lower part of Nazaré and a charming market square in the middle. When we were there for the first time, we sat on the bench in front of the church for, probably, more than an hour. We enjoyed the view of the town below while listening to the performance of a very talented street musician. Awesome afternoon just 100 km away from Lisbon.
Nature Park of Arrábida
If you are looking for a nice beach around Lisbon, your first destination should be Nature Park of Arrábida. There you will find the clearest water of Atlantic Ocean, that Portugal has to offer. And its just 40 km away from the center of Lisbon!
The beach, that we have spend our afternoon was called Portinho da Arrábida. As we googled before picking a place, where to refresh ourselves after +35 degrees in the streets of Lisbon, we found that this park with its crystal clear water and white sandy beaches, is the most popular place for filming commercials in Portugal. And that’s not strange – this place looks like from the movies.
Sadly, we couldn’t spend there more than several hours, but I’m sure, that Nature Park of Arrábida is worth much more than just an afternoon. Such points of interest as small, but beautifully green Serra da Arrábida mountains, another perfect beach called Figueirinha, or scenic overlook Convento de Nossa Senhora da Arrábida has to be explored. Uuuu, how much I want to go back there!!
Sintra National Park
If you’re planning a trip to Portugal, you have definitely heard about this one. And even probably know its celebrity – The Pena Castle. If you’re not, then here are some facts about the most awesome National Park in Portugal.
Sintra is a charming town and a spectacular National Park just 25 km away from Lisbon. Together with beautiful and majestic architectural sights, cosy atmosphere, it is the Westernmost part of the Europe.
In one of my posts, I have already named Sintra as one of the 6 most beautiful cities, that I have been to. In addition to this, this park has also the most beautiful beach, that I have ever been to. It’s called Praia da Ursa and it’s located just several hundred meters from the famous Cabo da Roca lighthouse2. But I don’t want to repeat myself too much, so I believe that this one quote by the famous Portuguese author Eça de Queirós sums up my thoughts quite perfectly:
“Everything in Sintra is divine. There is no corner that is not a poem”.
For the variety of beautiful things, that Sintra has to offer, and the charm, that surrounds them, it is the most significant place, that you have to visit around Lisbon. And if to be totally fair, it bypasses even Lisbon itself. But remember, a day here is not enough!
It’s really a Throwback Thursday for me… I feel so sentimental, when watching the photos, and thinking, and writing about the beauty of Portugal. Love this country. Do you, Dear Reader? Have you been here? What are your thoughts?
I hope this patchwork of my thoughts will inspire you to start planning a trip to this awesome country! There are plenty of good emotions, sights and experiences waiting for you there, Dear Reader.