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Family-friendly outings around Lisbon

Dolphins and flamingos in the Bay of Setúbal, a fairytale castle in Sintra or a dozen golden beaches in Cascais - families can really enjoy a day trip outside the city of Lisbon. There is a lot to see and do. We have outlined 3 child-friendly outings within an hour travelling time from the capital.

Lisbon offers plenty of family attractions, many of which include museums. More active attractions can be found in the beautiful towns that surround the capital. All these destinations are easily accessible by car or public transportation. Let’s go to Setúbal, Sintra and Cascais!

Fun outings within an hour of Lisbon
Fun outings within an hour of Lisbon

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Playful dolphins in the Bay of Setúbal

Setúbal: boat rides and dolphins

Setúbal is the 4th largest city in Portugal and is wedged between the beautiful nature reserves of Arrábida and Estuário do Sado. The city’s waterfront lies on a sheltered river delta, which locals refer to as Dolphin Bay. It is easy to see why as the bay teems with playful curious bottlenose dolphins. Setúbal offers a variety of dolphin cruises: choose a half day or full day boat tour in the bay with guaranteed dolphin sightings. Prices range from 25 to 50 euro; children pay half price.

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Setúbal lies approximately 45 minutes southeast of Lisbon and can be reached by car, bus or train.

Sintra’s fairytale castle

Although Sintra is a great day trip from Lisbon, this destination really deserves a whole weekend. For centuries, kings, nobility and artists have spent their summers in this stately town packed with castles, palaces and mansions - its UNESCO World Heritage status is well deserved. Sintra’s showpiece is the 19th-century Palácio Nacional da Pena, a fairytale palace on a mountain top with romantic turrets, merlons, magnificent tile tableaus, Moorish domes, Gothic arches, and a real drawbridge.

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Palácio Nacional de Pena in Sintra

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Sintra lies approximately 45 minutes northwest of Lisbon and can be reached by car or train.

The golden beaches of Cascais

Royal sunbathing in Cascais

Cascais enjoys a privileged location with a nature reserve in its backyard and lovely golden beaches at the front. In 1870, Dom Luís I took a royal dive in the refreshing Atlantic Ocean and since then the beach resort has become a popular destination for wealthy Portuguese. Even when sunbathers lie cheek by jowl on the centrally located Praia da Ribeira, there is always a spot on one of the dozen sandy beaches of Cascais. Praia da Duquesa offers plenty of water sports fun for children.

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Cascais lies approximately 30 minutes west of Lisbon and can be reached by car or train.