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Paradoxically, one of the best reasons to visit Lisbon is not only the Portuguese capital, but also the attractions in its surroundings. Just a few kilometres away and less than an hour by car or by train from the city centre, there are located some very picturesque Portuguese neighbourhoods that are well worth a visit and are a perfect rural destination point.

Best places to visit near Lisbon

  • Sintra. No wonder that this city of 300.000 inhabitants which is located 31 km away from Lisbon was declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO in 1995. This attraction can be easily accessed by car or by train from Rossio station; besides, Sintra is full of precious sites, such as the National Palace founded by the Arabs and renovated in Manueline style in the 15th century; the colourful Pena Palace (1836), which resembles the Neuschwanstein Castle near Munich; the remains of the Castle of the Moors, an ancient Arabic fortification located at 429 m of altitude, and Quinta da Regaleira.
  • Cascáis. This beautiful seaside town was a magnet for well-off Portuguese and European families in the 1930s. For instance, among its famous visitors were the Onassis or the Renaults. Lots of luxurious summer villas were preserved here from that time, even though the heart of Cascais are the breathtaking cliffs of Boca do Inferno in its outskirts. Like in the case of Sintra, you can reach this destination by train from Rossio station in Lisbon.
  • Estoril. Located 25 km away from Lisbon, this city overlooks the Atlantics and offers quite a few attractions. It has been a habitual refuge for some members of the European royalty – like the late Juan de Borbón and his son, the future king Juan Carlos I. What is more, Estoril also hosts a famous tennis tournament and GP sites for the World Motorcycling Championship. Among other recommended places, is the famous Portuguese casino.
  • Royal Palace of Queluz. Popularly renamed as the Portuguese Versailles and located 33 km away from Lisbon, this beautiful palatial complex was the main residence for some members of the House of Braganza. Although its construction began in 1747, it acquired great importance starting with 1755, the date of the earthquake that devastated Lisbon.
  • Óbidos. This town of 15.000 inhabitants is another obligatory destination for anyone who is visiting Lisbon. Due to its splendid past when it accommodated one of the most prosperous ports of Portugal, Óbidos is a beautiful fortified town with many interesting monuments. Among them are the majestic castle of medieval origin, the church of Santa Maria, the Municipal Museum and the sanctuary of Senhor da Pedra, which is outside the city walls.
  • Mafra. The most remarkable monument of this Portuguese town with 77.000 inhabitants is the National Palace of Mafra, constructed in baroque style in 1717. This Palace that is located only 30 km away from Lisbon served as a Franciscan convent.
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