The Arrábida natural park is just 30 KM from Lisbon. Situated between the historical town of Palmela and the coastal fishing towns of Setubal and Sesimbra it is a mountanous coastal area that is a protected natural reserve since 1976 and it covers 10800 Hectares of Mountainous land, dense vegetation and breathtaking beaches.
The Serra da Arabida has the highest cliff front on the Portuguese coast and is home to some of its most interesting wildlife. The former home of the Iberian wolf, it now still homes the wild boalr, deer, the Eagle owl, various types of wild cats, eagles, weasels and other rodents are amongst its animal diversity.
It is a landscape of Limestone cliffs, thick bushing, pine trees, pastures, vineyards and caves and also home to some rare varieties of bats.
Its highest point is at 501 Meter. It is home to many bird and wildlife species, some of the best views on the continent, its beaches are soft sanded and the water warmer and stiller than its neighbouring West Atlantic coast.
Castle and Pousada hotel of Palmela
The Serra da Arrabida has some interesting historical sites to visit, various castles and even some Roman remains but its natural capacity for adventure and lazy beach days, immense views and local gastronomy make it an even more attractive area to visit. Some of the most interesting historical sites in the area are the Castle of Sesimbra and castle of Palmela, Some interesting fortresses and the convent of Arrabida. Remains of human habitation have been found right back to the Phoenicians and Romans.
Along the coastline in the lower parts along the coast, between Setubal and Sesimbra you will find many idyllic beaches some easy to reach others hidden and more remote,
Portinha do Arrabida
For a lazy swimming, eating and relaxing afternoon Portinha da Arrabida is a must visit. The small fishing village on the shore of Arrabida is one of the most aesthetically pleasing villages in the area. The village is set on a clear blue water beach after a deep descent from the main road. It has a few really great sea food restaurants all with terraces sharing the towns amazing views. Reservation for any of the restaurants is advised as it is favourite spot for locals and visitors alike.
The Setubal wine district is another famous wine producing district of Portugal. Its grapes are generally grown on the higher slopes of the Serra da Arrabida and they produce 2 DOC producing wine areas, those of Setubal and Palmela.
Setubal produces the sweet fortified wines called Muscatel and Palmela produces mainly red wines based late-ripening Castelão grape and more at home in the sandy, hotter areas of Palmela.
Adventure travel Arrabida
As mentioned this landscape lends itself perfectly for many types of adventure and some are unique to Portugal.
Its obviously a great place to hike, cycle or motorbike choosing to stick to hard paved infrastructure or to Discover its sandy paths and more hiddens gems.
Some innovative companies have established in the area providing more active possibilities. Some of the best activities in this area are
Coasteering and climbing. Set up by professional climber these activities can be done at various locations in the Arrabida and its is the only possibility in Portugal for using slides setup between the rocks of this coastline in Portugal
Speleology and climbing The Arrabida has many caves and a famous caver went to Discover them. They organize private and group caving events, teach you the basics necessary and provide caving in various levels from beginner to advanced.
Dolphin watching is one of the reasons many travel long distances to the Arrabida is to see its friendly bottle nose dolphins. There are various ways to view them and many trips organized on rubber boats, catamarans and sailing vessels for different group types and preferences
Jeep challenges and safaris For groups of up to 200 participants jeeps provide one of the best ways to travel the mountain roads and reach beaches otherwise inaccessible. Also a favourite activity for team building this exciting way of travelling including a professional driver will show you parts of the Arrabida you would otherwise never see!
Pirate challenges and speed boat tours, fun, excitement in the Arrabida go find the pirate treasure!
Kayaking, the coast line with its caves and rocky inhams and hidden beaches provides the perfect surrounding for Kayaking adventures, starting in Sesimbra there are various discoveries possible from half a day to 2 day adventures.
Others activities include guided hikes, scuba diving and boat tours.
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