We had a plan. It was about having a relaxed time in Portugal and it worked. From Porto, we headed south to Sesimbra and the surrounding area, known as the favorite vacation spot of Lisbon people. We stayed here five nights.
Sesimbra is located 30km south of Lisbon on a sheltered bay and a beautiful sand beach, which is called Praia da California. It’s a nice, unagitated place with some restaurants. As you will mostly find locals here, prices are therefore convenient, at least in the low season. (Example: a glass of wine in a café was just 1,30€.)
The inner part of the village looks a bit out of time. A lot of houses are decorated with azulejos. But not the fake ones (even though they’re pretty too). I mean, the authentic ones. My aversion towards this very inflationary used word is gigantic and yet, it’s the only thing that comes to my mind. Original houses with original f..ed up charm. At least, partly.
The city of Sesimbra assigned artists of the region to pretty up the streets and so they did. Walls, doors, and windows show the life of the village and its old fishermen tradition.
In total contrast to our Airbnb which was an apartment in one of the concrete bunkers. On the one side, it was uh, on the other side, we had a really nice view over the beach. We don’t put a link here because our host was about to find a buyer for the apartment.
We had mixed weather all the way. Sunny, cloudy, rainy, but none of it for a very long time. If you don’t have a lot of plans, that’s ok. But if you wanted to go up the Castelo de Sesimbra, it was a modest situation. Well then, maybe next time.
Restaurant Tasca do Isaías
We love authentic (throws up again- see further above), rustic Portuguese kitchen. Especially the fish dishes. The Tascas do Isaías came in handy. This place exists since 1966 and has a huge customer base. In the really low season (we think, it starts in November), the store is closed. Yep, we were lucky!
We say all this because it was the only place where people were queuing. You must be there on time. You can’t book a table in advance and there’s no real menu. You choose a fish and they grill it for you outside. You will very likely share a table with strangers. At least, we had some really interesting conversations here.
This is another recommendation. Just because of their seafood platter. Eating here was an act out of necessity. Monday is not the best time to go out for dinner in Sesimbra, most places are closed (October). But we found this place and we were lucky to be here.
From outside, you hear metal music, which is not exactly our thing and surely no baby’s thing. But it wasn’t as bad or loud as it sounds. The people were really nice, and the seafood platter was delicious, might, and convenient (a platter for two for 30€). This place is a great surprise.
Parque Natural da Arrábida
From Sesimbra, we made a trip to Setúbal. On our way there, we made a short stop in the beautiful Parque Natural da Arrábida. It lies between the two cities and as the name says, it’s a protected area.
It’s popular because of its beautiful beaches, which are protected from the wild Atlantic Ocean thanks to its geographic location. Accordingly, this place is really crowded during the summer months.
You can find the Praia de Galapinhos here, a beautiful beach alongside a steep coast, surrounded by mountains. It was perfecting for looking at it. Maybe it’s also great for a walk or bathing. We couldn’t find out but using this spot for a break as it was milk time. Tilda enjoyed her milk with a view and thanked us by agreeing to a little photoshoot here.
As you can imagine, a trip like this isn’t always working out as smoothly as you wish it would. Tilda put her veto in many times. Understandable, because the baby car seat prison is no baby’s delight and you really have to plan in more time than you used to. It’s only parents who think road trips are cool.
We came to Setúbal for the fortress Forte de São Filipe. The fortress was built in the 16th century. The view from the café’s terrace was great.
As was the café inside the fortress which looked like a museum. It was beautifully set up and it’s just too nice for normal business. We found another beautiful photo location.
There was a little church included in the fortress which was all tiled up with the famous blue azulejos. It was stunning and super elaborate.
We didn’t expect this fortress to be this beautiful and you barely find information about it. At least with foreigners, it’s quite unknown. I think. We’ll see for how long. We assume you treat this information confidential. And you’re welcome!