Recent Trips

Rota: Lisboa a Oeste de Centro

The year 2020 started a bit normal for me with some international trips in the first two months of the year, but by March, Europe hit its pause. That also meant a transition to working from home, and not planning any more trips outside of the country. Fast forward to 4 months after, and it was summer, and things started opening up. I also went back to working at the office! 

I don't know when it was exactly during the past year when I decided that I would put off any trips out of the country, and explore my new home, Portugal. All I know is I quickly went to planning mode where I checked my pinned places on Google maps (I pin places I want to visit every now and then) and decided on a 5-day trip to get to know Portugal more! The route I made started in Lisbon (where I live) but doesn't include stops in Lisbon city center, nor Sintra for that matter, since I've already visited them. It goes on to some municipalities in Lisbon, the west coast, all the way to the Centro region of Portugal. 

You can check out the route, directions and highlights below. For timetables and tickets, you can check out the links I provided in the directions for more information. I relied heavily on public transportation during the trip, and I'm glad that a vast network was accessible.

As I may have mentioned in my intro, I've visited Sintra and its palaces more than once when I first moved to Portugal. However, there was one palace under Parques de Sintra that isn't nearby the rest, or the more well-known once, and I had yet to visit it. I'm talking about the Gardens and National Palace of Queluz, and that was my first stop! 

Lisbon to Queluz
- Take the metro to Entrecampos station (Alternatively, you can head to Rossio or Oriente, whichever you're nearer to since both of them are also connected to the trains. Entrecampos was just the nearest station from my apartment!)
- Transfer to the train from Entrecampos headed to Sintra, and get off at Queluz-Belas station

Palácio Nacional de Queluz
The palace was almost empty when I visited, and I had a great time looking around the beautiful ceilings and paintings. A part of the gardens were under construction, but I still got the chance to walk around the rest of the area where you can get lost in a labyrinth. They have a coffee shop as well, so if you want to sit outside after walking around the huge place, you can do so and enjoy a great view! You can check out more information here.

A Gália
Just nearby outside of the palace, you have this cool burger place where they serve packed and loaded burgers! Definitely worth a try!

From one palace to another, the next stop is Mafra. I wasn't really planning on passing by Mafra in the initial stages of my planning, but what really sold me on was reading about what's inside the palace!

Queluz to Mafra (via Sintra)
- Continue through the train from Queluz-Belas station all the way to Sintra
- Catch the bus from Portela de Sintra to Mafra Parque Intermodal, operated by Mafrense

Palácio Nacional de Mafra
What I personally really liked here were two parts - first is the basilica, and second is the library. For the latter, you can't really roam inside, you can just pass by and look at the inside from the entrance. Imagine getting lost in that library! But nonetheless, it was still definitely worth the visit. You can find more information here.

Third stop was this seaside town, known to be one of the many surfing spots in the coasts of Portugal. A nice walk could start off from the chapel at Praia de São Sebastião, and end at Praia do Matadouro where I personally opted to sit and chill by the beach! Ending the day in Ericeira was wonderful with the sounds of the waves hitting the beach, and the views of the sunset playing with your eyes. 

Mafra to Ericeira
- Bus from Mafra (Palácio) to Ericeira (C. Rodoviário), operated by Mafrense

Praia de São Sebastião
This may be the more well-known beach of Ericeira. It's easily accessible from the town proper, and there's a pretty good view point near the chapel. I think it's a huge beach - I didn't really see anyone swimming, but I did catch a couple of surfers, and a group having a picnic.

Praia do Matadouro
If you're looking for a smaller beach that's a bit more hidden (like me), then this is the place for you. You'll still find surfers here, but it's a pretty quaint beach where you can sit on the sand, take a little dip, and just chill with a book or have a nap.

Poke Bowl Ericeira
Right beside a wakeboard area and a surf shop, you have this amazing poke bowl place that has outdoor seating. It gives you a nice view, and deliciously healthy food at the same time. Highly recommended! They have a website here.

The next stop is this quaint little village, a walled town with its medieval castle (and ginja licor!) I really wanted to go and see this place, and I am so glad I did! 

Ericeira to Óbidos (via Torres Vedras)
- Take the bus from Ericeira Torres Vedras, operated by Mafrense
- Get on the train from Torres Vedras headed to Caldas da Rainha, and get off at Óbidos station

The highlights are definitely the village itself, as well as the castle! The castle offers such beautiful views. You can check them out below!
Óbidos Castle

Óbidos Village

Berlenga Island
Although you can stay the night in the fortress in this island, I personally think it's better to stay the night in Peniche for this leg of the trip. Now, accommodation aside, this was my favorite part of the trip. I found one of my favorite summer destinations, and it's none other than Berlenga Island!

Óbidos to Peniche to Berlenga Island
- Bus from Óbidos Rua da Praça to Peniche, operated by Rodoviária do Lis
- Ferry from Marina de Peniche to Berlenga Island (I got my roundtrip tickets here!)

Definitely the highlight of my route, this island had everything I wanted - trails for trekking, a lovely beach with fine sand and cold water just enough to swim, a relaxing environment with many seagulls and few people, and of course beautiful views of the island and the water's hues of blue! What else can I say?

Next stop for the next day - I started by taking the 7am bus from Peniche to Nazare. This destination is another seaside municipality known for its waves! 

Peniche to Nazaré
- Bus from Peniche to Nazaré, operated by Rede Expressos 

At the North Beach, the waves are strong and can go extremely high especially on winter. On the contrary, you have the South Beach, which is very calm and chill.

From Nazare, we go to see a monastery. This is another one of those places that I may have just added because why not, but I have to say now, that definitely do not skip it! 

Nazaré to Batalha
- Bus from Nazaré to Batalha, operated by Rodoviária do Lis

Mosteiro da Batalha
Honestly, I liked the place way more than I expected because there was so much detail in the architecture, and I just love the little things - they make everything amazing. There's also a part of the structure that remains unfinished, and it's (literally) open! More information can be found here.

Pérola Do Fétal
So here's my recommended restaurant for lunch or dinner, and the dish I would specifically recommend is the bacalhau. Yes, let's be very Portuguese here.

And on to our last stop, we have Fatima. To go back to Lisbon, there are direct buses from Fatima, so it's really no trouble at all.

Batalha to Fátima
- Bus from Batalha to Fátima Cova da Iria, operated by Rodoviaria do Tejo

Fátima Sanctuary
The highlight is for sure the sanctuary, which a lot of people really want to visit for religious reasons. I'm definitely lucky to have gotten the chance. Although the weather was not the best when I was there, there were still a lot of people when the mass started. 

Santa Cruz Cafe & Restaurant
Outside the sanctuary where all the souvenir shops are, there's this cafe in the middle almost, which I liked because of its outdoor seating and location. It's a typical Portuguese cafe where I had my pastel de nata and tiny coffee fix!

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