Sesimbra
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SESIMBRA

The delightful seaside resort and fishing village of Sesimbra lies a mere 25 miles (40 km) South of Lisbon and over the last few years has become increasingly popular with visitors both national and international. The town maintains much of it's fishing heritage, although you'd have to get up very early to watch the fishermen land their catch. The fishermen's colourful boats left on the beaches adds oodles of charm to the seafront. Sesimbra markets itself as a family friendly destination and has amenities to suit all ages. There's a calm persona to the town which is devoid of noisy revellers, sports bars and stag parties which other more popular resorts are marred with. Protective headlands ensure only the gentlest of waves lap up onto the soft pristine sands and the softest of breezes blow, thus providing a safe bathing environment for the little ones. Children are also welcome at all of the local restaurants which also attract lovers of fresh fish for which the town is renown and revered for. So much so the locals have gained the name "Pexitos". Look out for the swordfish (espadarte) which is common in these waters and also provides great sport for anglers.

SESIMBRA SEA FRONT

Fortaleza de Santiago

The Eastern end of the seafront is dominated by the mighty white edifice which is the Sesimbra Hotel & Spa and spans a mile along the golden sands of the bay. Beyond which one finds the marina. Along the route there's numerous smaller hotels, a plethora of fish restaurants and a number of 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 to the east.

Fortaleza de Santiago

During Portugal's golden age of discovery Sesimbra became an important port which needed to be protected from raiders. The fort was constructed in 1648 as part of a larger coastal defence strategy. It was built in a polygonal layout with bastions in each corner. Housed within are the governor's residence, barracks, a cistern, store room and a chapel. During it's lifetime it's use has changed, once it served as a royal summer retreat, the seat of the regional military government, head quarters of the local coastguard, a customs office and since being decreed a Monument of Public Interest in 1977 it's now a tourist attraction and houses the Maritime Museum. | Daily: 08h00 - 16h00

SESIMBRA MARITIME MUSEUM

This small but informative oceanographical museum is housed within the grounds of the Fortaleza de Santiago fort and celebrates the connection of Sesimbra's relationship to the sea and it's maritime and fishing heritage. The exhibits feature salt water aquariums containing marine life found around the Sesimbra coastline, preserved species and artefacts which span 5000 years of human maritime 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 | museu@cm-sesimbra.pt | Website

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

Sesimbra Sea Front

SESIMBRA OLD TOWN

Sesimbra Old Town

Moving 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 and 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 and 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 | museu@cm-sesimbra.pt | Website

SESIMBRA CASTLE

The origins of the Moorish occupation of the area and was the last castle built by them to defend Sesimbra against Christian forces. It succumb to the crusader army in 1165 and it's damaged walls were hastily re-built and strengthened. It's commanding position to the north of the city and over looking the coast gave protection to Sesimbra and it's townsfolk from North African pirates. The wide vista make the 230m trek to the top a rewarding experience, the view from here over the town, the Sado estuary, the Tróia peninsula and Arrábida mountain is breath taking.

Housed within one of the towers is a small museum which explains Sesimbra's historic role on the world stage as well as explaining the evolution of Portuguese castle design. Also inside the castle complex there's a small church, the Igreja de Santa Maria, whose somewhat stark exterior hides a richly decorated interior. There's also a café at hand for your refreshment. Visitors are welcome and entrance is free of charge however 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 and Arrábida National Park Tour with Wine Tasting

Sesimbra and Arrábida Wine Tasting Tour

Spend a full day exploring the Setbal region of Portugal on a tour that takes you through the countryside to see castles and taste wine. Begin your trip by crossing the Tagus River on your way to the wine region of Azeitão. Here you will visit the oldest cellar of the region and enjoy wine tasting. Then is time to go to the fishing town of Sesimbra and visit a Moorish castle.

On to the nearby Arrábida Natural Park, located on the shore of the Sado River estuary. Visit the famous beaches of Portinho da Arrábida and Figueirinha, before heading to Setubal for a fish lunch! After lunch you will make your way to the astonishing Arrabida Mountain. This is a protected (Arrabida Natural Park) area. Here you will visit a a small local family owned cellar in the middle of the peaceful Arrabida Mountain to learn more about how this precious nectar is made. You will see the vineyards, see how the process is completed and of course, taste the results.

On your way back to Lisbon, you will pass near the Cristo-Rei (Christ the King statue), that was erected in 1959 to thank God for sparing Portugal from the horrors of World War II.

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Arrábida Natural Park Kayak and Caves Tour

Arrábida Natural Park Kayak and Caves Tour
Full Day Private Tour

Depart from Sesimbra and discover the beauty of Arrábida Natural Park. Enter the park to explore the different types of habitats, from the mountains to the sea. Venture along the coast by kayak to sacred caves which are only accessible by boat. Encounter small beaches of breathtaking beauty as you make your way towards the remarkable karst formation of the Gruta do Frade.

Then, make your way back towards Sesimbra and stop at the tranquil beach of Ribeiro do Cavalo. Enjoy a snack and go for a swim in the clear waters, surrounded by breathtaking views. Taste some typical sweets from the region to end your amazing experience.

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Arrábida 4x4 Tour & Hike to Galapinhos Beach

Arrábida 4x4 Tour & Hike to Galapinhos Beach

Enjoy a relaxing start to your day of adventure with a pick-up from your Sesimbra located accommodation. After a short meet and greet with your driver you will hop in your classic Jeep Cabrio-ATV vehicle and set off on your journey. Cross the dense woods of Arrábida Natural Park, passing by Centenarium oak and cork trees, vineyards and old farms. You will have time for a snack in a magical spot idyllically located between the mountain and ocean. Go for a cruise along the most beautiful beaches of Arrábida Natural Park, here you can take part in a hiking tour to visit one of Europe's most beautiful beaches, Galapinhos beach.

Next, it's time to visit the ancient ruins of Roman times near the main beach of Arrábida where you can also visit an industrial complex of fish production. On the way back you will cross the old paths of south Arrábida, passing by the highest limestone coastal cliff in Europe, in the unique and astonishing form of a stone wave, Serra do Risco. At the end of your tour you will be taken back to your accommodation to relax after a day of excitement.



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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) which stands guard over most of the park. This Nature Park contains vast amounts of Mediterranean shrubland biome and a large number of microhabitats. Perched on the slopes overlooking the sea is a white washed 16th century Franciscan monastery and alongside are five circular chapels which once were used for solitary meditation.

Where the park meets the sea one finds the crystal-clear waters of the beaches of the Costa Azul which, 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.

BEACHES OF THE COSTA AZUL

To the west of Setúbal where the Arrábida Natural park meets the sea one can find 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 coastal road off the N10-4 marked Praias and pass the cement works. 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, at low tide a sandbank is exposed. Due to it's easy access, it's proximity to Setúbal (only five miles west), calm waters, size and amenities this Blue Flag beach can be quite popular, especially with those who have young families. 723

Praia de Galápos

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

Costa Azul

Separated from Praia de Galápos by a few rocks is Praia Dos Galapinhos and offers the visitor 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 forest at the foot of the Arrábida Natural Park and consists of soft white sand, with clear and calm waters. Small and quiet it has a bar which can be accessed via Galapos beach or by boat.

Praia Portinho da Arrábida

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

Praia Figueirinha

JOSÉ MARIA FONSECA

José Maria Fonseca

The main feature within Vila Nogueira de Azeitão is this magnificent nineteenth century manor house which 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 it served as a family home until 1974. Now it's a living museum which pays tribute to the family's long wine making heritage. The house itself is a place of beauty with it's imposing façade and elegant gardens. When 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 are kept alive while allowing the company to project itself into the 21st century.

The tour continues through the gardens to the cellars where iconic table wines such as the Periquita brand is matured. The José Maria Fonseca are also credited for making Muscatel de Sétubal wines, fortified sweet wines made from the Muscatel or Muscat grape which is then 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 which excel. The tour ends within the wine shop where as part of the tour you will sample three wines and are able to 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 | enoturismo@jmfonseca.pt | Website | Facebook

PALÁÇIO DA BACALHÔA

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 it's beautiful gardens. The estate is considered to be one of the loveliest country houses in Portugal. Built by 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. Amongst the building's most notable features are its Moorish melon domed towers and Italianate loggias. It was first restored in the 16th century and more recently in 1937 by the American Orlena Scoville. Inside there are antiques associated with Catherine of Braganza, wife of King Charles II and Queen of England during the 17th century.

The gardens too are part of the tour and are some of the most outstanding in Portugal. 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 are rose bushes that flourish year round. A symmetrical 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 | bacalhoa@jpvinhos.com | Website

Paláçio da Bacalhôa
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Suggested Hotels

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 which 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 | +351 212 289 000 | sanasesimbra@sanahotels.com

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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 comes with a satellite TV, sofas 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" | +351 212 233 040

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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 in the beginning of 2015, and therefore all rooms of Sesimbra Hotel & Spa enjoy a 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 | +351 212 289 800 | info@sesimbrahotelspa.com

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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 specialties including a number of 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
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Casa Mateus

A homely family affair who are 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 a infamous locally. Make sure you keep room for on 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
reservas@casamateus.pt | 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 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 a 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
Website

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

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From Lisbon take the A2 South over the Ponte do 25 Abril bridge and take up the N378 after seven miles (10km) into Sesimbra.

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

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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