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.
Palácio Nacional de Pena in Sintra
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.
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.