Visit Sesimbra with time, calmly and with your cell phone in your pocket! Besides the beach, Sesimbra has much to see and discover!
Sesimbra is a fishing village. Visiting places like Sesimbra I feel closer to the portuguese roots, to our people. It’s like traveling in time. A trip to a time that I didn’t live. In Sesimbra many things have changed over time. National tourism came and foreign tourism came. And every year thousands of people come to the region’s beaches.
But many things in Sesimbra remain the same. The ancestral connection of Sesimbra to the sea is still alive. And there also remain simple people, portuguese people who continue to live off what they can steal from the sea.
But Sesimbra doesn’t end at the sea and beaches. Save room in your schedule to walk along the waterfront, to climb the castle, to see urban art and more, much more! Accept our invitation and come with us!
WHERE IS IT AND HOW TO GET TO SESIMBRA?
If you depart from Lisbon and if you are lucky with the traffic, count on a trip of approximately 45 minutes (39 kilometers). Going over the 25 de Abril bridge can be challenging. Well, “challenging” is an understatement… In the summer it can be a real test of any mortal’s nerves. Still, it is worth the effort because a visit to Sesimbra is always worth it!
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WHAT TO VISIT IN SESIMBRA?
Walking is the best way! There is no better way to get to know the town of Sesimbra. Take advantage of the waterfront to go for a walk before “diving” into the streets and alleys of the village center. Day or night, take your time to walk along the small waterfront. Enjoy the sea and the beautiful landscape that can be appreciated from there. Along your walk you will find the Santiago Fortress, a 7th century monument with a magnificent viewpoint!
THE CASTLE OF SESIMBRA
When strolling through the streets of the village it is impossible not to notice the majestic castle that stands high on one of the hills of the region. A monument more than 850 years old. It stands as the last medieval castle on the Portuguese coast. Getting to Sesimbra castle during the summer is challenging. The road can be traveled by car/motorcycle but parking near the castle is not easy. If you go there at another time of the year, it will be easy to get there and park. But in the summer the less stressful solution is to go by “penantes”. The ascent is not suitable for people with walking difficulties. If you go there, don’t forget to see the exhibitions (in the towers), visit the inside of the church and enjoy the magnificent viewpoint!
NOSSA SENHORA DO CASTELO CHURCH
We visited the church in April 2022. It is inside the walls. The old castle church was built in 1165. But the temple we can admire today is from 1721 (it was renovated over time). In 1955 another church opened its doors closer to the population of Sesimbra. From that moment on, few faithful went to the church of Our Lady of the Castle. It was almost abandoned and deteriorated. The ceiling collapsed. It was renovated and reopened its doors in 2001. The exterior of the temple is simple.
The interior is beautiful. Tile panels from the 18th century line the walls of the church. When I visited, I was lucky enough to have a classical music concert going on inside. The combination between the beauty of the panels and the classical music resulted in a heavenly atmosphere. I took photos. I hope you enjoy them.
MARITIME MUSEUM OF SESIMBRA
To understand Sesimbra we have to visit its maritime museum. We find it inside the fortress of Santiago, along the coast of Sesimbra. It is there that we can fully understand a connection that has more than 5000 years, the connection between the sea and Sesimbra! Before or after the visit, go to the fortress viewpoint and enjoy the view, it is fabulous!
URBAN ART – STREETS OF SESIMBRA
Even if nothing else existed in Sesimbra, just for the urban art would be worth a visit! Since 2014 that the town of Sesimbra has talent spread through the streets! From a joint initiative between the City Council and some artists, was born a set of urban paintings that evoke the soul of Sesimbra.
You will find them in the old part of town on doors and windows of old buildings.
The end result is a vast number of magnificent works. A “wow” at every corner!
URBAN ART IN SESIMBRA
PORT OF SHELTER OF SESIMBRA
It is in the Porto de Abrigo de Sesimbra that we find numerous services that will further enrich your visit to the region! Among other more or less radical activities, you can rent canoes and diving equipment. You’ll also find several options to visit Sesimbra on foot, by bike or by sea.
It is impossible to talk about Sesimbra without mentioning its beaches. It is there that we find some of the most beautiful beaches in Europe. Crystal clear waters, limpid and in greenish tones. Extensive white sandy beaches leaning against huge cliffs with luxuriant vegetation. There are many unmissable beaches. Here is a map with our selection.
RIBEIRA DO CAVALO BEACH
A stunningly beautiful beach worthy of a postcard! It is difficult to access, but still easier than most beaches in the region. Be prepared for a walk of about 20 minutes along more or less accessible trails. Once you get there delight in the colors of the sea and the beauty of the beach as a whole. The cold water is the only less positive element of the experience.
COVA DA MIJONA BEACH
Going to the beach at Cova da Mijona is recommended for those who are in good physical shape. The route is long and should be done in the company of someone who knows the route well. Along the way take the opportunity to appreciate the beauty of the region and take some pictures. You will come across breathtaking sceneries. When you reach the beach, enjoy the clear waters and the absence of people. Surely you will have the beach all to yourself! If you want to go there we advise you to do it with a professional guide (Green Trekker).
It is one of the most popular beaches in the region. The accesses are good and the beaches are large. The sea is often strong and dangerous. Pay attention! Parking is usually accessible. It is known to be a nudist beach in the areas away from the main entrance of the beach.
The Lagoa de Albufeira is a very popular place for those who like to beach, kitesurf, and windsurf. There is a lot to see, see and do there! There are not many places in Portugal that offer you, in the same place, the sea, the pine forest, and a lagoon. There are two lagoon systems there: the Lagoa Pequena and the Lagoa Grande (maximum depth 15 meters). There is a channel connecting them. Whoever visits the Lagoa de Albufeira has the possibility to stay by the lagoons or go to the sea. The beach is very extensive and perfect for those who like to be without people around!
A final and important note for the Lagoa Pequena Interpretive Space. There are several routes available that allow the observation of native birds.
ATIVIDADES NO PORTINHO DA ARRÁBIDA
One of the biggest attractions of the region is precisely the dolphin watching. This activity lasts 2.5 hours and will stay forever in your memory!
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KAYAKING AND SNORKELING
The crystal clear waters of Portinho da Arrábida are perfect for snorkeling, kayaking and exploring the local caves. A 5-hour experience in small groups (maximum 6 people).
COASTEERING AT PORTINHO DA ARRÁBIDA
Do you know the activity of Coasteering? It is perfect for those who like adrenaline and extreme activities! An individual experience with a duration of 4 hours.
CLIMBING AT PORTINHO DA ARRÁBIDA
An activity with more and more adepts in a perfect location. Climbing is an adventure for those with nerves of steel and for those who like extreme challenges! It lasts 4 hours and is an activity that is done in small groups.
PARTICIPATE IN A 1-DAY MOUNTAIN AND BEACH TOUR IN ARRÁBIDA
A perfect opportunity to enjoy and admire the natural beauty of the Arrábida Mountains. An excursion that will take you to some secret and hidden places of the magical mountain! Swim, try snorkeling and enjoy beautiful landscapes! Nothing is missing in this excursion!
VIRTUAL TOUR TO SESIMBRA
WHAT TO SEE NEAR SESIMBRA?
Sesimbra is a small village. One morning or a full afternoon is enough to get to know Sesimbra. But in the vicinity of the village there are many other attractions to visit with attention. Below is a map with the location of our 4 suggestions.
30 minutes by car and a distance of 16 km separate Sesimbra from Cabo Espichel. The promontory where it is located offers an absolutely masterful view to the infinitude of the Atlantic Ocean! There we can also visit the sanctuary of Nossa Senhora do Cabo Espichel and nearby 614 dinosaur footprints! Cabo Espichel is well worth a visit!
17.3 km separate Sesimbra from Serra da Arrábida. A distance that can be covered in 28 minutes (by car or motorcycle). To visit the natural park of Serra da Arrábida is to make an appointment with nature! If you go there, do not miss the unmissable viewpoints scattered throughout the mountain. There are 35 km of fauna and flora. At its highest peak (pico do Formosinho) you will be 501 meters above sea level!
From Sesimbra to Augusto Pólvora park is only 5,7 km away (a 12 minutes trip). It is located in the Apple and is a magnificent place for walking, picnicking, relaxing or doing some physical activity. A park with an area of 5.5 hectares (each hectare is about the size of a soccer field).
It is only 4.4km from Sesimbra. To visit the Moagem de Sampaio is to travel back in time to the beginning of the last century. The building was initially a stable. Later it was converted into a mill and received cereals from all over the region. Inside we can find the rooms and the equipment where the cereals were ground. To know everything about the Sampaio mill click HERE.
SESIMBRA’S BRIEF HISTORY
It was during the Lower Paleolithic period (approximately 500,000 years ago) that the first communities of humans settled in this region. They were attracted by the water courses and the resources of the sea. The close relationship of Sesimbra with the ocean was a constant throughout history. The Sesimbra Harbor is one of the few in the country facing south. This characteristic has always protected it from bad weather and favored the flourishing of fishing. This activity reached its peak during the time of the Roman occupation.
Until the 15th century, the town of Sesimbra was located within the walls of the castle. From the 16th century on, the settlements were extended towards the sea. Between 1640 and 1648 the Santiago Fortress was built. A defensive structure that protected the town from frequent corsair attacks.
Only in the second half of the 20th century did tourism join fishing as the great engine of the local economy. In 1954 a swordfish weighing 153 kilos was captured. An achievement that spread the name of Sesimbra as a seaside destination!
PRACTICAL TIPS FOR ORGANIZING YOUR TRIP
PRACTICAL TIPS to organize your trip to SESIMBRA (or other destination)
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