Visiting Arrábida – Beautiful Park close to Lisbon
Less than an hour by car south of Lisbon, the Arrábida holds a natural park, that embraces some wonderful beaches. Portinho da Arrábida (with some access restrictions), Galapos and Figueirinha (Fernanda’s favorite) are an alternative, very hard to choose.
So, go there, enjoy the magnificent sights, and… decide for yourself. In your way there’s no need to go up the mountain, but if you don’t know it, make a detour and enjoy the sights.
Visiting Arrábida from Setúbal, there are two roads following the mountain.
If you want to “use” Arrábida, follow the one in the base, that takes you to the several beaches, always close to the sea. In summer, be prepared to a jammed traffic.
If you want to “see” Arrábida, use the road atop the mountain. With less traffic, it has most of the astonishing views.
Of course, you may make a tour combining both… why not?
Portinho da Arrábida
One of the best details of the park is the small beach of Portinho.
After the revolution irregular construction took place of the sand, spoiling the views and turning the visit a nightmare to enter, park or exit.
Demolition was ordered, and the beach turned back to its natural beauty, though, in the best summer days, the traffic may continue very congested.
Built in the 16th century, this convent for long used by the monks, was abandoned and ruined. In the 19th century it was sold to private owners, that 60 years ago decided to recuperate it.
In 1990 it was sold to Fundação Oriente, that now manages the place.
The visits are allowed from Wednesday to Sunday, in groups and by previous reserve. I never entered, and read that the contents hardly justifies the 5€ (3€ for groups >10).
Just across the river from Setubal, a tiny stripe of sand, holds a long and desert beach, only here and there punctuated by accesses and public services. The northern tip of the peninsula is under reconstruction, with some luxurious facilities promised to the place, but, unless they stop the ferry, it will continue to be a very popular destination.
I had some very good swims there, but I must admit that I never saw so many jellyfish as I did one day.
So, enjoy but be careful.
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