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Things to do in Setubal

Estuaries teaming with dolphins, flamingos, storks, and more make this port town a true natural paradise.

Our most recommended things to do in Setubal

From Lisbon: Comporta and Setúbal Trip with Horseback Riding

1. From Lisbon: Comporta and Setúbal Trip with Horseback Riding

Take a trip from Lisbon to Setúbal for a day of fun in the sun and the sea. Dive into the town's history and seafaring heritage on a walking tour. Take a ferry ride to the Troia Peninsula dotted with pine forested sand dunes. Then, in Comporta, mount your horse and gallop off to the beach. Explore Setúbal, the most important center of Portugal's fishing industry. Visit the bustling fish market of  Mercado do Livramento, the historic center, the Monastery of Jesus, and the São Filipe Fortress where you can soak in one of the most breathtaking panoramic views of the city. Next, head towards Comporta on a 25-minute ferry ride, admiring the beauty of the Troia's coast, one of the world’s longest uninterrupted stretches of sand, and keep your eye peeled for dolphins. Upon arrival in Comporta, a protected natural reserve suspended between sea and rice fields, get ready for horseback riding with instructions from your guide. Ride your horse across rice paddies, pine forests, and sand dunes until you reach the Atlantic coast. At the end of the tour, return to the center of Lisbon in a comfortable minibus. Before bidding farewell to your guide, get recommendations on things to do during the rest of your stay in Lisbon.

Lisbon: Arrábida Natural Park and Sesimbra Day Trip

2. Lisbon: Arrábida Natural Park and Sesimbra Day Trip

Discover Arrabida Natural Park and Sesimbra on a Day Trip from Lisbon. Learn about the history of the region from your expert guide, admire the beauty of the coastline, and visit a Moorish castle, lunch on fresh fish and swim at a hidden beach. Meet your guide at your local Lisbon hotel for your day trip to Arrábida National Park and Sesimbra. Hop aboard your air-conditioned minivan and cross the 25th of April Bridge (Ponte 25 de Abril). Drive for about 40 minutes and arrive at the stunningly green Arrábida Natural Park. Enter the park while learning from your guide the history of this protected region, and reach the cliffs of Meco Beach, where you can admire the beauty of the Western Coastline. Cruise onward to the beautiful cliffs of Cabo Espichel. Here, hop out to see Santuário de Nossa Senhora do Cabo Espichel, a 600-year-old religious site where pilgrims gathered to honor Our Lady of the Cape. Then, snap some clifftop panoramic shots of the stunning views over the Atlantic Ocean. Next, drive to the charming seaside town of Sesimbra, where local fishermen haul in fresh catches from the ocean. Stroll to the Moorish castle and discover its medieval roots. Afterward, stop for lunch (own expense) fresh fish in Sesimbra. Rejoin your guide and continue driving by unmapped roads to explore the Southern Coastline of the Park, where you'll discover St. Margareth's Cave (moderate walking required) and the charming Portinho da Arrábida harbor. Continue by a curvy seaside road, admiring the gorgeous beaches of Arrábida, to Setúbal, where you'll visit the Casa da Baía Center, a historical XVIII century building hosting local products and an interpretative center about the resident dolphin community. Alternatively, spend some free time soaking up the sun and swimming at Galapos, Galapinhos, or Praia dos Coelhos, Arrábida’s hidden golden beaches. After an adventurous day, ride back to your Lisbon hotel where this tour ends.

Setubal & Tróia: Sado Estuary Dolphin Watching Boat Trip

3. Setubal & Tróia: Sado Estuary Dolphin Watching Boat Trip

Depart from Setubal or Tróia onboard a 22-meter long catamaran and go in search of the community of dolphins that inhabit the Sado estuary. Be accompanied by a knowledgeable crew who will use their expertise to locate these playful dolphins in their natural habitat. Learn more about this unique dolphin community, the only one of its kind in Portugal, with your expert guides. Sail through the estuary and admire the beautiful landscapes of the coastline of the Arrábida Natural Park. Keep an eye out for the playful dolphins which have inhabited this part of the coast for generations. Watch the dolphins frolic and play as they swim through the calm waters. Hear more about their feeding habits, breeding and their relationship to humans on an informative and relaxing boat trip.

Lisbon: Dolphin Watching in Arrábida Natural Park

4. Lisbon: Dolphin Watching in Arrábida Natural Park

This boat tour goes along the coastline in search of dolphins that is possible to find again on the Marine Reserve of Arrábida. The tour will take you to the most known sighting, with a 95% success rate in dolphin sightings. The boats used are powerful semi-inflatable boats with seats and all the comfort and safety for a 3-hour journey. It's always a good experience, that combines the dolphins with a wonderful boat tour on a cost line of calm and pristine waters, that is protected from the north winds by the Arrábida mountain.

Sesimbra and Arrábida National Park Tour with Wine Tasting

5. Sesimbra and Arrábida National Park Tour with Wine Tasting

Spend a full day exploring the Setubal 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 impressive Cabo Espiche on the westernmost point of the Sesimbra coastline. Then, it is time to go to the fishing town of Sesimbra and visit a Moorish castle. This seaport town also boasts plenty of beaches and restaurants serving fresh seafood. Nearby is 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. All this is done in the company of a local, in an informal and funny way.

Arrábida: Kayaking and Snorkeling Experience

6. Arrábida: Kayaking and Snorkeling Experience

Take in a unique experience designed for those who want adventure and nature activities. The region of the Arrábida Natural Park and the Marine Park Luiz Saldanha offers the ideal conditions for Kayaking: good weather, clear and transparent waters, and a vast sea coast to explore.  Enjoy 2 hours of kayaking along the coast where you can admire one of the most scenic views of Portugal. Enjoy the quiet and narrow beaches between rocks and secret caves along the Serra da Arrábida.  Stop at Pedra da Anicha, a small island of clear and transparent waters. Take your time to snorkel and explore the great biological diversity, cracks, and underwater cavities that provide an excellent diving experience.

Arrábida and Sesimbra Day Tour & Wine Tasting

7. Arrábida and Sesimbra Day Tour & Wine Tasting

Experience the flavors and natural beauty of Portugal on this lovely full-day tour. Heading towards Portugal's Extremadura region, you will travel out of Lisbon over the longest bridge in Europe, the Vasco da Gama Bridge. In Palmela, you will find a Moorish castle offering fantastic photo opportunities. Visit a family estate where you can try homemade wine. Then continue through the mountains of the Arrábida National Park - up to 500 meters or 1,640 feet above sea level- and marvel at the spectacular views of one of Portugal's most beautiful landscapes. The park is also home to many plant and animal species found exclusively in this region. Much of the park is subject to strong protective measures and certain locations can only be accessed with special permission. Time for a short break. Take a relaxed stroll on the beach of Portinho Arrábida and enjoy the cool sea breeze and crisp air. Then, head to the charming fishing village of Sesimbra to have lunch at one of the village's friendly local restaurants with delicious dishes featuring the day's fresh catch. In the summer, cool off with a swim in the Atlantic, or simply go for another walk along the village's inviting beaches. Don't miss your chance to visit the village's beautifully restored church dating back to 1725, or take a walk to explore the Sesimbra Castle. Of course, the perfect follow-up to a delicious meal is great wine. Take part in a guided tour of the José Maria da Fonseca winery, one of the oldest in Portugal. It is still family-owned. Discover the region's outstanding wines at a wine tasting that includes 2 local varieties. As a perfect finale, take in the view over Lisbon from the platform of the Christ the King statue before crossing the 25 de Abril Bridge and heading back to Lisbon.

Full-Day Dolphin Watching Tour from Lisbon

8. Full-Day Dolphin Watching Tour from Lisbon

This full-day tour begins as you head south from Lisbon to Setúbal, a picturesque region best known for its fishing port. In Setúbal, board a fully restored salt galleon, or a modern catamaran (depending on weather and sea conditions), for a relaxing and enjoyable cruise in the Sado Estuary, where you’ll learn about the resident bottlenose dolphins and hopefully be able to observe wild dolphins in their natural environment. The duration of the cruise takes about 2 to 3 hours. See the natural reserve of Arrábida, take in the stunning views, and learn about the area’s history and gastronomy. See the Arrábida Convent and discover some important historical sites before returning to the old city center of Setúbal. Before returning to Lisbon, stop at a few sights in the Arrabida Mountain range, from where you can marvel at the natural reserve and get a land view of all the region.

Portinho da Arrábida: Coasteering Trip

9. Portinho da Arrábida: Coasteering Trip

Coasteering is a multi-activity that uses various sports modalities such as trekking, climbing, swimming, abseiling, caving and many jumps into the water. The coasteering circuit is located in one of the most extraordinary places, on the border between the Arrábida Mountain Nature Park and the Luiz Saldanha Marine Park, with its crystalline green waters. Venture into one of the most beautiful places in Portugal and enjoy a fun day full of activities.

From Lisbon: Cristo Rei, Arrabida and Setubal Day Trip

10. From Lisbon: Cristo Rei, Arrabida and Setubal Day Trip

This is a tour of the five senses: see magnificent landscapes, feel the breeze, and fall in love with the blue sea. Taste the amazing treats of a region that stands for excellence in the production of wine, cheese, and regional sweets. The vibrant yellow, the color of the appetite, and the warming sun are predominant in this tour. On this customizable full-day tour, cross the Tagus River from Lisbon to its south bank over the 25 Abril bridge, the 27th largest suspension bridge in the world. See Cristo Rei, a giant statue that was inspired by the Christ the Redeemer statue of Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. It was inaugurated in 1959 to express gratitude because the Portuguese were spared the effects of World War II. Its location boasts a fabulous view of Lisbon. Explore Vila Nogueira de Azeitão, a typical villa known for its wine and cheese production as well as regional sweets. After this, it's time to explore Arrabida National Park. Driving on the highest mountain road in the park, there will be several stops at the most interesting viewpoints. Break for lunch in Setubal, the most important center of Portugal's fishing industry. Have a lunch of delicious seafood or grilled fish and take a tour through the town. Visit Palmela Castle with its views over the peninsula and Atlantic. Return to Lisbon by the Vasco da Gama bridge, the longest in Europe with a total length of 12.3 km.

Available activities

  • Wine tastings from Lisbon
  • Dolphin watching
  • Setubal water adventures
  • Day trips from Lisbon
  • Portuguese adrenaline activities
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What people are saying about Setubal

Overall rating

4.8 / 5

based on 797 reviews

I had a fantastic day with our guide Tanja. She is knowledgeable, intelligent and made our trip one of the best experience in Lisbon. This particular excursion has everything you will enjoy in one day: history, nature and Vine.

It was a great day, we visit Palmela Castle, Arrabida and Sesimbra have amazing views, very good food in Fort Sesimbra, and the winery Jose Maria da Fonseca and Quinta de Alcube, good wine. GREAT GIDE!

Setubal was a surprisingly beautiful town and the horseback riding at Melides tops up this entire experience.

Great itinerary with a highly knowledgeable and engaging guide. Outstanding experience, highly recommend!

A beautiful tour of the park and various historic sites. The guide, Gil, was excellent and fun.