Even those who have never been to the village must have noticed the incredible castle that is visible from the A2. Visiting it is just one of the incredible things you can do in this land of wine, snacks and belvederes that is 30 minutes from Lisbon.
It is almost a crime to live half an hour from one of the most beautiful villages in Portugal and never have taken a day to visit it. Palmela has an incredible castle, great restaurants, snack houses and wonderful views of the Arrábida or the riverSado. We suggest that you start, precisely, by the castle, drink a coffee in the Casa do Castelo bar, which has one of the best views over Setúbal and Troia, and then lunch in the restaurant Terceira Geração. Then drink a local wine and continue the tour.
Visit the interior of St. Peter's Church
If you come from the castle, you will pass by the church of St. Peter. Enjoy and get acquainted with the interior of this typical church covered with baroque tile that depicts the history of Saint Peter's life. In this church you can still see the wooden sculpture of Santiago pilgrim, from the sixteenth century. Close by is the building of the Paços do Concelho.
For lunch, taste the specialties of the Third Generation
Not far from the castle, and just a few steps from St. Peter's Church, Palmela's second best restaurant, after the inn's restaurant, is a traditional space, very cozy and accessible. Managed by true "Palmelões", the specialties of the house are the fresh fish, the Portuguese stew, the monkfish mass and the rabbit to the graceful. Here you can have lunch or dinner for less than € 25 (two people) with drink and dessert.
Address: Rua Serpa Pinto, 147 - Palmela.
Hours: Tuesday to Saturday, from 9 am to midnight; Sunday from 9 a.m. to 3p.m.
Go down to the center of the village and get to know São João
The Largo de São João is located in the center of the village and is a good place to rest your legs while touring Palmela. This space includes the bandstand of the humanitarian philarmonic society, the chapel of São João Baptista (closed to the public) and the theater-theater. The belvedere of this square also allows to enjoy the view on the Louro, São Luís, Arrábida and valley of the barrels.
Sample wines and sweets from the region at Casa Mãe da Rota dos Vinhos
Located in the São João area, facing the cinema-theater, is the Mother House of the Rota dos Vinhos, where you can buy some gastronomic souvenirs from this village. The building is an old wine cellar and currently an enotouristic information point.
With a selection of the best wines from the Setúbal region, buy red, white, rosés and the famous Setúbal moscatel, such as Sivipa 1996, awarded with the best muscat of Portugal at the International Wine Challenge in London in May . Also try traditional confectionery like fogaças, santiago, queijadas of the angel or the muscatel ice cream of setúbal and apple tartar.
Address: Largo de São João Baptista, Palmela.
Hours: Monday to Thursday, from 10am to 8pm; Friday and Saturday, from 10 am to midnight; Sunday from 1 pm to 8 pm Closed on holidays.
Visit a Windmill or make friends with a donkey
The mills are one of the symbols of the village and are situated in the Serra do Louro. You can visit these windmills and learn how to make bread the old fashioned way. There is also place to have a picnic overlooking the Arrábida natural park and there are donkeys available for walks in the mountains (burricadas). Schedules are chosen by clients and activities must be scheduled in advance. These tours are ideal for groups of fifteen people and, to get an idea, a burricada entitled to one bread costs € 5.50 per person.
Address: Serra do Louro - Palmela. Facebook: Moinhos Vivos
At the End of an afternoon visit Quinta do Piloto
Belonging to the Cardoso family for four generations. This is the space of the Quinta do Piloto wine producer, which opened to the public at the end of June. Go there and enjoy a wine cellar during the harvest period (which began this week) or sample the wines from this farm house, of which we highlight the "Quinta do Piloto Collection Roxo" wine made from the purple moscatel variety and much praised in the last international presentation in Rio de Janeiro. This is the white wine that we highlight for these hot summer days.
You can opt for one of the three visit programs: pilot, which includes a guided tour and 3 wines (€ 5); discoveries, including guided tour and proof of 5 wines (€ 7.50); and paladares that includes guided tour, proof of 5 wines, cheese, bread and sausages (15 €). Visits can be held from 11 am to 4 pm, from Wednesday to Sunday.
In late August (date varies), Enjoy a Wine & Sushi Sunset, which costs € 30 per person, from 7:00 p.m. to 10:00 p.m., and unites the best wines of this house with sushi, by the hands of chef Carlos Oliveira. Reservation is required
Address: Rua Helena Cardoso, Quinta do Piloto, Palmela. Facebook: Quinta do Piloto
Hours: Wednesday to Sunday, from 10am to 1pm and 2pm to 7pm (until September)
Wednesday to Sunday, from 9:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. and 2 a.m. to 6:30 p.m. (as of October).
Enjoy a sunset at the Culto café and see the view over the village
Near the castle, and if you want to have a coffee, pass by the Worship. The one that is one of the most recent bars of Palmela, has a modern, minimalist decoration and a terrace with a privileged view to the historical center of the village and to the region of the Tagus Valley.
Address: Avenida dos caballeros de Santiago and espada, 4 - Palmela. Facebook: Culto Café
Hours: Tuesday to Thursday, from 15h to 24h; Friday, from 3:00 p.m. to 2:00 p.m. Saturday from 10am to 2am; Sunday from 10am to midnight.
The Wine Harvest Festival
Usually from the 3rd to the 8th of September, the annual harvest parties are held. For six days the harvest is celebrated and the wines and agricultural houses of the region are promoted. In these festivals there is the tradition of electing the queen of the vintage, which will be the face of the last car of the procession. The courtship takes place anywhere from the 30th August onwards
Already at the end of the month, from 26 to 28 September you can live as if you were in the medieval period. This event will bring to the village popular dances, traditional games, a medieval supper and other snacks of the time. The ticket costs € 2 (1 day) or € 4 per person (3 days) and children under 12 go free.
Visit the castle and know its history
Throughout history, due to the geographic location, this was a privileged place to see enemies, because it allows to see the whole region of the city of Setúbal, the river Sado, the Serra da Arrábida, and in the distance, the Tagus. It is a Moorish castle, located at the top of the village, and within the walls there is the inn where you can spend the night, the church, the study office of the Order of Santiago and the ruins of the church of Santa Maria.
Entrance to the castle is free and if you want to know more about your history you can book a guided tour.
Hours: Castle - every day, 24 hours a day.
Church of the Order of Santiago - Tuesday to Sunday, from 10am to 12:30 p.m. and from 2:30 p.m. to 6:00 p.m.
Drink a gin or eat some tapas at Casa do Castelo
Behind the castle is the Casa do Castelo tapas bar and restaurant. The view of the esplanade is one of the best in Palmela and allows you to see the surrounding mountains, Setúbal and Troia. For this reason, this is a must-see not only during the day, but also at night, when you can see the illuminated view . Try the farinheira with eggs (5 €), the chorizo with honey (5,50 €), goat's cheese gratinado with sweet of tomato (5,50 €) or the best chocolate cake of Palmela (2,50 €). Also try the gin garden (€ 7), with mint and lemon juice.
Address: Mirador of the Castle of Palmela.
Facebook: Casa do Castelo
Hours: Monday to Tuesday from 12 a.m. to midnight; Thursday from 12 a.m. to midnight; Friday and Saturday from 12 a.m. to 2 a.m. Sunday from 12 a.m. to midnight. Closed on Wednesday.
Mandy Lucy Verbrugge is lucky enough to live in the Setubal region and owns 3 holiday rentals there. If you now feel tempted to take a holiday you can find her listings here Quinta do Vale Silva, Quinta do Picao and Villa Roxy