Arrábida: Discovering the Art of Nature in a Tailor-Made Tour
Blue and Green beauty in Arrábida
Like a little piece of the Mediterranean looking over the Atlantic coastline, Arrábida is one of the most beautiful places in Portugal and perfect for a tailor-made tour. The stunning landscape of Arrábida is matchless, with turquoise and emerald waters and green hills covered with pines, falling to the sea. Just south of Lisbon –it’s a 40-minute drive – Arrábida is an unspoilt haven on the Setúbal coastline. Visitors will be struck by the breathtaking views, the sandy beaches with rocks and caves, and the lush vegetation blessed by a wonderful climate. The landscape is a privilege. On the Arrábida hills, only the 16th century Franciscan monastery – Convento da Arrábida – peeking out of the trees, seems to question the complete wilderness of the site.
Quinta da Bacalhôa: A Renaissance Gem
A place of such beauty could not pass unnoticed to the Portuguese aristocracy. It quickly became a secluded paradise for nobleman who built manor houses and palaces near Arrábida. One of the most special is Quinta da Bacalhôa. Located in the little village of Azeitão, in the 15th century it served as a manor house for the Royal Family. Many of its original features, such as the ornamented towers, are still untouched.
In the 16th century the property was sold to a nobleman who built the beautiful “house of pleasures” and added two pavilions. The architecture and gardens of the palace reflect the multiple influences – from Renaissance elements to Orientalism – that inspired its owners throughout time. The tiles collection, of Moorish motifs, dates back to the 15TH and 16th centuries. Today, the Quinta da Bacalhoa is the center of a prosperous wine estate. A visit to the vineyards and wineries should not be missed.
Arrábida for sybarites: Tailor-Made Delights
Did we just mention wine? Yes, the Arrábida region is also famous for its superb wines, especially the sweet and spirited Moscatel de Setúbal. This is one of the most thriving wine regions in Portugal, and a great destination for wine tourism. A visit to the wineries and cellars of José Maria da Fonseca, one of the region’s historical wine estates, is a great way to discover the beauty of the landscape while at indulging in a fantastic wine experience. This wine tasting experience would not be complete without a good solid accompaniment. In Azeitão, you can taste one of the most typical, and mouthwatering delicatessen of the region: the Azeitão cheese, creamy and full of character.
A Tailor-Made Experience: Soft adventure in Arrábida
Such a generous and blessed natural landscape is a great invitation for soft adventure. Arrábida offers an array of activities for the most adventurous types, and in different levels. Hiking along the coast is of course a must, but you might also want to plunge into the crystal-clear waters, as Arrábida is a great place for snorkeling. The Parque Marinho Prof. Luiz Saldanha, a tribute to the biologist who studied this beautiful coastline, is perfect for this. The best way to discover the beautiful caves and the untouched beaches is to embark on a sea-kayak trip! Even when it’s soft, adventure can whet your appetite! The best way to end the day is probably heading to the nearby town of Setúbal and try the irrepressibly fresh and tasty Salmonetes (red mullet).