Cape Espichel provides impressive ocean views over the Atlantic. It marks the southwestern edge of the Setúbal peninsula and home to some of the best-preserved dinosaur footprints to be found in Portugal. It’s also the location for the ‘Santuário de Nossa Senhora do Cabo’ - an important pilgrimage destination. This 18th-century sanctuary bears the symbol of devotion to our Lady of the Cape (associated with the 14th century vision of the Virgin Mary by local fishermen). Inside the chapel the event is retold by a beautiful arrangement of tiles.
In 1715, guesthouses were built to host pilgrims that came to visit this church, known as ‘Círios Houses’. Outside the church stands a beautiful iconic image of the cross. The ‘Water House’ has a hexagonal shape and supplied this area with drinking water brought by aqueducts from Azóia, the nearest village. Inside the house, there’s a marble water source with beautiful motifs. There’s also a 32-metre-tall lighthouse in the area, which is open to the public. This is a fantastic area to visit and is just a 30-minute drive from Sesimbra town centre.
Castle Sesimbra is a beautiful castle, which stands on a cliff, providing amazing views of Sesimbra – well worth a visit.
The beaches around Sesimbra can be divided into two groups: the beaches with powerful waves and wide flat sands on the edge of Meco, favoured by the surfers, and the calmer beaches on the edge of the Serra da Arrábida National Park. Whether you want an active or lazy beach break, Sesimbra has you covered.
Ouro’s Beach is a top spot for water sports, and also has a restaurant, bar and even a beach library. With ramp access, it’s great for visitors with disabilities. The Horse of Ribeira Beach is one of the most beautiful beaches, but its steep slope makes it a little more difficult to reach. If you want easy access, visit the Port of Sesimbra – there are a number of companies that offer boat transfers to the beach. Lagoa de Albufeira Beach is part of the National Ecological Reserve and is great for sailing, windsurfing, kite surfing and canoeing.
Food and Drink
Don’t miss out on the regions traditional dishes: fresh fish grilled on coals, swordfish with shrimp, fillets of fried black swordfish, octopus rice or swordfish stew with peas are some of the most popular dishes around – and for good reason. You can find some excellent restaurants and bars in Avenida dos Náufragos.
Don’t forget to leave room for desert. Broas of Alfarim are made of wheat flour, corn flour, fennel, cinnamon, brown sugar, baking powder, salt, nutmeg and lemon zest, baked into a tasty sweet. Beekeeping is a common activity in Sesimbra, so don’t miss out on the delicious, local honey.