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The delightful seaside resort and the fishing village of Sesimbra lies a mere 40 km (25 miles) south of Lisbon. Over the last few years, Sesimbra has become increasingly popular with visitors both national and international. MADSABOTPORTO.COM is your guide to the top attractions, on the best restaurants and most suitable accommodation. Learn how to get there and how to get around.


Sesimbra has preserved its fishing heritage, but to see it in action, you'll need to wake up early to catch the fishermen bringing in their catch. The seafront's charm is increased manifold by the fishermen's colourful boats left on the beaches.

Sesimbra markets itself as a family-friendly destination. It has amenities to suit all ages. There's a calm persona to the town. It is devoid of noisy revellers, sports bars and stag parties, other more popular resorts are marred by. Protective headlands ensure only the gentlest of waves lap up onto the soft pristine sands. Only the lightest of breezes blow, thus providing a safe bathing environment for the little ones. Children are also welcome at all local restaurants that attract lovers of fresh fish, for which the town is renowned and revered. So much so the locals have gained the name "Pexitos". Look out for the swordfish (espadarte), which is common in these waters. Sesimbra also provides sports for anglers.


Fortaleza de Santiago

Fortaleza de Santiago

The mighty Sesimbra Hotel & Spa dominates the Eastern end of the seafront; and spans a mile along the golden sands of the bay. Beyond which one finds the marina. Along the route, there are many smaller hotels, a plethora of fish restaurants and several shops. The beach is divided in two by the Fortaleza de Santiago fort, with Praia da Califórnia on the western side and Praia do Ouro on the eastern side.

Fortaleza de Santiago

During Portugal's golden age of discovery, Sesimbra was an important port that needed protection from raiders. The fort was constructed in 1648 as part of a larger coastal defence strategy. It sits on a polygonal layout with bastions in each corner. Inside are the governor's residence, barracks, a cistern, a storeroom and a chapel. During its lifetime, its use has changed. During its long history, it served as a royal summer retreat, the seat of the regional military government, the headquarters of the local coastguard, and a customs office. Since being decreed as a Monument of Public Interest in 1977, it's a tourist attraction and houses the Maritime Museum.
Daily: 08h00 - 16h00


Housed within the grounds of the Fortaleza de Santiago fort is this small but informative oceanographical museum. It celebrates Sesimbra's relationship with the sea and maritime and fishing heritage. The exhibits feature saltwater aquariums containing marine life found along the Sesimbra coastline, preserved species and artefacts spanning 5000 years of human seafaring activity. Impressive lighting and interactive displays are employed to enhance the visitor's experience.
June to September Tusesday - Sunday: 15h30 – 19h00/18h30 - 23h00, Monday: CLOSED
September to May Tusesday - Sunday: 10h00 – 13h00/14h30 - 17h30, Monday: CLOSED

Rua da Fortaleza, 2970-738 Sesimbra, Portugal. | 38º 26" 34.4' N | 09º 06" 03.7' W
+351 212 288 206/7 | | Website

Adult: €3.00, Concessionary: €1.50, Family: €6.00

Sesimbra Sea Front

Sesimbra Sea Front


Sesimbra Old Town

Capela do Espírito Santo dos Mareantes chapel

Away from the coast, the town ascends steeply through a network of narrow streets. It's in these lanes you'll find the best value restaurants. One curious building you'll encounter when meandering the back lanes is the Capela do Espírito Santo dos Mareantes chapel. Originally constructed in the 15th century to house Sesimbra Seamen's Brotherhood of the Holy Spirit, the building contained both a hospital and a place of worship. The building was mostly destroyed during the great earthquake of 1755. Only the chapel was re-built. After a period of restoration, it has housed Sesimbra's Municipal Museum. The first floor corresponds to the old chapel. It exhibits an excellent collection of Sacred Art, notably the Nossa Senhora da Misericórdia panel, by Gregório Lopes, which dates from the first half of the 16th century. The ground floor houses a medieval hospital, where visitors can see parietal drawings of boats used from the 16th to the 18th century.
July to August Tusesday - Sunday: 14h30 – 19h00/21h00 - 23h00, Monday: CLOSED
August to July Tusesday - Sunday: 09h00 – 12h30/14h00 - 17h30, Monday: CLOSED

Adult: €1.00, Concessionary: €0.50, Child: FREE
17 Rua Cândido dos Reis, 2970-724, Sesimbra, Portugal. | 38º 26" 37.9' N | 09º 06" 06.1' W
+351 212 231 134 | | Website


The castle was constructed during the Moorish occupation of the area and was the last built by them to defend Sesimbra against Christian forces. It fell to the Crusader army in 1165. Its damaged walls were hastily rebuilt and strengthened. Its commanding position to the north of the city and overlooking the coast protected Sesimbra and its townsfolk from North African pirates. The broad vista makes the 230m trek to the top a rewarding experience. The view over the town, the Sado estuary, the Tróia peninsula and Arrábida mountain are breathtaking.

Housed within one of the towers is a small museum that explains Sesimbra's historic role on the world stage and describes the evolution of Portuguese castle design. Also inside the castle complex, there's a small church, the Igreja de Santa Maria. Its somewhat stark exterior hides a richly decorated interior. There's also a café at hand for your refreshment. Visitors are welcome with free entry. The gates at the Porta do Sol close at night.
High Season Daily: 07h00 – 20h00
Low Season Daily: 07h00 – 19h00

38º 27" 10.8' N | 09º 06" 24.8' W

Sesimbra Castle

Sesimbra Castle


Arrabida and Sesimbra Small-Group Day Trip from Lisbon with Wine Tasting

Arrabida and Sesimbra Small-Group Day Trip from Lisbon with Wine Tasting

Taste the finer sides of Arrabida and Sesimbra during this small-group guided day trip from Lisbon. Traverse over the Tagus River via Europe’s longest bridge, the Vasco da Gama Bridge. Learn about the history of the magnanimous Palmela Castle. Nearby, taste four delectable wines at an authentic Portuguese winery. Then, stretch your legs for some leisure time at Portinho da Arrabida Beach and meander the fishing town of Sesimbra. Drive on to Arrabida Natural Park and explore the stunning beauty of the Atlantic coast as you savour spectacular views. Keep the wine flowing with two more wine tastes at Casa Museu Jose Maria da Fonseca, one of Portugal’s oldest wineries. Day trip to Arrabida and Sesimbra from Lisbon. Small-group tour limited to 8 people for a more personalised experience.

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Small Group Kayak tour to Arrábida beaches - All inclusive

Small Group Kayak tour to Arrábida beaches - All inclusive

Enjoy a local-led kayaking experience from Lisbon, including stops at places few tourists are likely to explore independently. Starting at Sesimbra village, you’ll take a guided sit-on-top kayak tour through the clear, blue waters of the Arrábida Nature Park coastline. Convenient, hassle-free pickup and drop-off options are available. Lunch, snacks and soft beverages are provided. No kayaking experience is necessary.

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Arrábida 4x4 Tour & Hike to Galapinhos Beach

Hiking tour to the highest point of Arrábida mountain

A challenging climb to the highest point in Arrabida Natural Park flies by with entertaining and insightful commentary from a local guide who specialises in local flora and fauna. Learn about the local ecosystem as you hike switchbacks up the mountain, and then rest and admire the view from the 1,640-foot (500-metre) peak. Guided hike in Arrabida Natural Park and climb to the highest point in the park for an incredible view. Learn about local plants and animals from your guide as you go. Hotel pickup and drop-off in the Lisbon area are included.

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Arrábida Natural Park

Arrábida Natural Park

Founded in 1971 and covering 42 square miles (108 square kilometres) between Setúbal and Sesimbra, Palmela to the north and terminating at the Tejo estuary. Arrábida has a varied landscape from valleys surrounded by limestone mountain ridges, dramatic coastlines and the Arrábida mountain - Alto do Formosinho (499m) that stands guard over most of the park. This Nature Park contains vast amounts of Mediterranean scrubland biome and numerous microhabitats. Perched on the slopes overlooking the sea is a whitewashed 16th-century Franciscan monastery. Alongside are five circular chapels once used for solitary meditation.

Where the park meets the sea, one finds the crystal-clear waters of the Costa Azul. These warm waters are popular with divers and bathers alike. It was along this stretch of coastline where Tracy Bond (played by Diana Rigg) was shot dead by Irma Bunt (Ilse Steppat) in a drive-by shooting at the end of the James Bond film On Her Majesty's Secret Service, 1969.

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Between Sesimbra and Setúbal, where the Arrábida Natural Park meets the sea, is a series of beaches, most of which have Blue Flag status. Often marketed as Portugal's Dream Coast or Costa Azul, this dramatic and beautiful coastline offers white sands, warm clear waters and stunning views. Take the M585 coastal road east of Sesimbra. There are buses from central Setúbal to most of these beaches:-

Praia Figueirinha, Outão

With the Arrábida Hills as the backdrop, Figueirinha Beach extends over a great expanse of sand. A sandbank becomes exposed during low tide. Because of its easy access, and its proximity to Setúbal (only five miles west), calm waters, size and amenities, this Blue Flag beach can be quite popular, especially with young families.

Praia de Galápos

Approached via a staircase, the sheltered cove of the Galápos beach has crystal clear waters favoured by divers and bathers alike. With a calm swell, it's ideal for children and popular with windsurfers. Ample parking and a restaurant with facilities that hire marquees and serve good coffee. There's a lifeguard at hand. The architectural record of the area indicates the richness of marine life here has been harvested since Neolithic times.

Costa Azul

Praia de Galápos

Separated from Praia de Galápos by a few rocks is Praia Dos Galapinhos and offers visitors a more tranquil and secluded spot to bathe. A little further along still is Praia dos Coelhos (Arrábida). Coelho's beach is a small cove surrounded by a forest at the foot of the Arrábida Natural Park. It comprises soft white sand, with clear and calm waters. Small and quiet, it has a bar accessed via Galapos Beach or by boat.

Praia Portinho da Arrábida

Fourteen miles East of Sesimbra, toward the Convento da Arrábida and down a meandering road, is the tranquil little beach of Praia Portinho da Arrabida. It is accessed from the turnoff after the road leading to the village of the same name. The warm and crystal clear water here makes it a great spot for divers and bathers. Closer to the village, there's a 17th-century fort, now an oceanic museum (Museo Oceanografico) that houses live and preserved local marine animals. There's a small restaurant on the beach and further along the coast in Portinho da Arrabida village.

Praia Figueirinha

Praia Figueirinha


José Maria Fonseca

José Maria Fonseca gardens

The main feature of Vila Nogueira de Azeitão is this magnificent nineteenth-century manor house. It is the traditional home to the Soares Franco family, owners of the José Maria Fonseca, who still produce Portugal's oldest wine brand. Lovingly restored in 1923 by the Swiss architect Ernesto Korrodi, the manor house was a family home until 1974. Now it's a living museum that pays tribute to the family's long winemaking heritage. The house itself is a place of beauty with an imposing façade and elegant gardens. As visitors arrive, the tour starts with a brief explanation of the company's history, where traditions and values have been passed down eight generations and kept alive while allowing the company to project itself into the 21st century.

The tour continues through the gardens to the cellars, where iconic wines, such as Periquita, are aged. José Maria Fonseca is also renown for Muscatel de Sétubal wines. This fortified sweet wine is made from the Muscatel (Muscat) grape and aged in oak barrels. Within the darkest and most cobwebbed regions of the winery lie true relics, over 100 years old. The company has expanded into other wine regions, applying the same values and dedication to produce wines that excel. The tour ends in the wine shop, where, as part of the tour, you will sample three wines and can sample wines from their whole range, complementing the wine with regional gourmet products.

April to October 10h00 – 12h00/14h00pm - 17h30 | November to March 10h00 – 12h00/14h30pm - 16h30
Rua José Augusto Coelho 11/13, Vila Nogueira de Azeitão, Portugal. | 38° 31' 05.2" N | 09° 00' 55.5" W
+351 212 198 940 | | Website | Facebook


A mile and a half east of Vila Nogueira de Azeitão on the road to Setúbal is the magnificent 15th-century Paláçio da Bacalhoa and its beautiful gardens. The estate is one of the loveliest country houses in Portugal. Built by order of King Manuel I as a summer palace for his mother. The design is thought to be the work of the Tuscan sculptor and architect Sansovino. The building's most notable features are Moorish melon domed towers and Italianate loggias. It was first restored in the 16th century and again in 1937 by the American Orlena Scoville. Inside antiques associated with Catherine of Braganza, the wife of King Charles II and Queen of England during the 17th century, can be found.

The Paláçio da Bacalhoa gardens are some of the most outstanding in Portugal and form part of the tour. Renaissance in style, they feature the oldest azulejo tile panel in the country, depicting the story of Susannah and the Elders. Newly established vineyards spread out beneath the well-ordered French parterres, here too, rose bushes flourish year-round. An asymmetrical garden pool that placidly mirrors the genteel Renaissance geometry of an exquisitely tiled l6th Century pavilion. The tour around the Palace and grounds takes about 60 minutes and includes a wine-tasting session of the fine Bacalhôa wines. Tours can be combined with visits to the museum and winery in Vila Nogueira de Azeitão. Note: All visits start at the Bacalhôa Winery in Vila Nogueira de Azeitão.

Monday - Saturday: 10h00 – 19h00, Sunday: CLOSED | Guided Tours 10h30, 11h30, 14h30, 15h30, 16h30
Bacalhôa Palace/Quinta: €4.00, Bacalhôa Museum & Palace/Quinta (inc. wine tasting): €6.00
Estrada Nacional 10, 2925-483, São Simão, Azeitão, Portugal. | 38° 31' 09.8" N | 09° 00' 49.7" W
+351 212 198 060 | | Website

Paláçio da Bacalhôa

Paláçio da Bacalhôa


SANA Sesimbra Hotel

SANA Sesimbra Hotel ★★★★

The hotel is ideally located in the heart of Sesimbra and only steps away from the sandy beach. This four-star hotel features a rooftop hot tub and an outdoor covered swimming pool. Most rooms have balconies that boast a picturesque view overlooking the beach. The spacious accommodation of SANA Sesimbra Hotel is decorated in soft colours and chic furniture with a modern touch.

A buffet breakfast is served each morning at the hotel. The Espadarte Restaurant serves tasty Portuguese-style meals, with an emphasis on fresh fish and seafood specialities. With a panoramic view over the bay and a relaxing ambience, the rooftop Caravela Bar allows guests to unwind with a drink whilst enjoying the sunset. The seafront promenade outside features several cafés and quaint little shops.

Avenida 25 de Abril, 11, 2970-634 Sesimbra, Portugal.
38º 26' 33.12" N | 09º 05' 54.8" W

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Cerca da Vitória Apartment

Cerca da Vitória Apartment

This excellent accommodation is barely 200 metres from Sesimbra's renowned beach area. Each bright and modern apartment is equipped with a satellite TV, sofa, a DVD player and a dining area. There is a full kitchen with a microwave and a refrigerator. The private bathroom is fully equipped with a shower, a bath, hairdryer and a bidet. Guests are free to cook their own meals in the kitchen or to take advantage of the fantastic restaurants within close proximity.

55 Rua Cândido dos Reis, 2970-724 Sesimbra, Portugal.
38º 26' 40.2" N | 09º 06' 07.4"

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Sesimbra Hotel & Spa

Sesimbra Hotel & Spa ★★★★

This wonderful beachfront hotel offers luxurious rooms with Atlantic Ocean views. Facilities include an outdoor infinity pool and a spa. The hotel was refurbished at the beginning of 2015. All rooms of Sesimbra Hotel & Spa have stylish and modern decor. They are equipped with air conditioning, flat-screen cable TV, free WiFi, safe, minibar and a private balcony.

The spa offers a wide variety of health and beauty treatments, including hot stone massage. Other spa facilities include a small heated indoor swimming pool, a Turkish bath, sauna, tropical shower and a vertical hydromassage. Sesimbra Hotel's restaurant, Aquarius, specialises in traditional Portuguese fish and shellfish cuisine. Free private parking is provided.

Rua Navegador Rodrigues Soromenho, 2970-773, Sesimbra, Portugal.
38º 26' 34.72" N | 09º 05' 46.2" W

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Restaurante Filipe

Translated as "People return here time after time to enjoy their masterful use of freshly caught ingredients. For the standard of cooking the Restaurante Filipe is excellent value for money and certainly, no extra charge is added for the fantastic sea views, especially at sunset. As is common in the area fish is grilled on a Brasa (over charcoal) along with a selection of house specialities including several Cataplanas. The staff are always friendly, welcoming and never rush you no matter how busy the restaurant is.

Daily: 12h00 - 22:00
15 Largo da Marinha, Sesimbra 2970-657, Portugal.
38º 26' 35.8" N | 09º 06' 08.3" W | +351 212 231 653
Website | Facebook

Casa Mateus

It is a homely family affair that is always welcoming and friendly no matter how busy the restaurant is. Chancers are you'll be greeted by Mateus, the proprietor, personally who is always more than willing to make suggestions depending on the season and the day's catch. The chef is Mateus's wife, who is extremely gifted in the kitchen at both traditional Portuguese dishes and meals with their own personal flair. Their take on a green curry is infamous locally. Make sure you keep room for one of their amazing desserts. The wines on offer are locally sourced from small producers and are excellent. Although this small restaurant is tucked away in a street behind the main strip it is normally busy and booking is recommended, especially in high season.

Daily: 12h00 - 15h00/19h00 - 23:00
4 Largo Anselmo Braancamp, Sesimbra 2970-654, Portugal.
38º 26' 35.1" N | 09º 05' 58.8" W | +351 963 650 939 | Website | Facebook

O Velho e o Mar

O Velho e o Mar or "The old man and the sea" restaurant is ideally located on the promenade next to the Fortaleza de Santiago affording great views out to sea. Somewhat a traditional restaurant the fish is sold by the KG once chosen from the tank or as a fixed price per dose. The menu lists all dish options however you should ask what is available on the day. There's plenty of staff at hand to offer you an efficient and friendly service, who are equally keen to advise and make recommendations. Choose a simple grilled fish or a stew, rice dish or cataplana for two to share – all options are equally amazing.

Daily: 11h30 - 15h00/19h00 - 23:30
30-32 Rua Joaquim Brandao, Sesimbra 2970-764, Portugall.
38º 26' 34.2" N | 09º 06' 00.2" W | +351 210 879 995

46km (32 miles) south of Lisbon Portela Airport. Website


From Lisbon take the A2 South over the Ponte do 25 Abril bridge and take up the N378 after ten kilometres (7 miles) into Sesimbra.

Latitude - 38º 31' 33.1" | Longitude - 08º 53' 43.1"


The closest train station is in neighbouring Setúbal. Urban train services (comboios urbanos) from Barreiro train station, south bank of the Tejo river (reached by ferry from Lisbon Timetable
• Linha do Sado line Timetable | Trains of Portugal Website

Fertagus trains from Roma-Areeiro station in Lisbon runs a regular service across the Tejo river and beyond.
• Fertagus Timetable | Website

Sul do Tejo buses service Sesimbra and the surrounding area: Website
• 205: Cabo Espichel - Sesimbra (via Serra Azóia): Timetable
• 207: Lisboa (Pça Espanha) - Sesimbra (via AE): Timetable
• 230: Setúbal - Sesimbra: Timetable
• 260: Lisboa (Pça Espanha) - Sesimbra (via Laranjeiro): Timetable