Portinho da Arrabida - Photo Source Mandy Lucy Verbrugge
The West Coast Setubal Region
Immediately south from Lisbon on the left bank of the River Tagus, the Setúbal district includes the mountain range that stretches from Palmela to Cape Espichel. Here rises the Arrábida Mountain, integrated in the natural national park.
In the region of Setúbal there are so many must visit spots all around the year, many fine grained beaches with crystal clear blue waters, like Figueirinha, Galapos, Coelhos and Portinho da Arrábida, where you can find an abundance of water sports.
Located south from Tróia peninsula, you will find the sand areas of Comporta, Carvalhal and Pego, offering pleasant bars and terraces that attract a growing number of tourists each year.
Shared by the councils of Setúbal, the city where 17th century Portuguese poet Bocage was born.
Sesimbra and Palmela, with the beauty of the Arrábida Mountain is complemented by the Natural Reserve of the Tagus Estuary, one of the most important wetland areas of the country with far-reaching fen areas and significant wild life diversity.
Characterised by a landscape of creeks, channels and mud, this region is the habitat of otters, badgers, white storks and the common dolphin.
Autumn and winter time is ideal for the observation of birds flying from Northern Europe.
The Costa Azul (blue coast) includes the fishing villages of Sesimbra with a colourful port, good fish and seafood restaurants. One of the greatest highlights of the region is its cuisine inspired by the Atlantic. Seafood specialities, stuffed stone bass, fish stews, whelk bean stew or fried eels are the most famous specialities.
Azeitão cheese, Setúbal moscatel wine and table wines made of Periquita wine variety, as well as sweet specialities: Alfarim cakes, "vasquinhos" (cakes made of cheese), "pinhoa da de Alcácer" made of pine nut and honey, tarts, sweet cheeses and "esses de Azeitão" (S-shaped biscuits).
Meco - Photo Source Mandy Lucy Verbrugge
Portinho da Arrabida - - Photo Source Mandy Lucy Verbrugge
Vineyard owned by Jose Maria de Fonseca, - Photo Source Mandy Lucy Verbrugge
Land of sea and good gastronomy Located on the western slope of the Arrábida Mountains in a small bay sheltered by the winds is the town of Sesimbra it is known as “the land of sea and fishermen”
The village became famous for its richly diversified gastronomy, there are many people who travel many kilometres only to eat fish and seafood in one of the many restaurants overlooking the bay.
A walk through the many narrow steep traditional streets of Sesimbra you catch the local charm of the fisherman and its culture by the many artefacts and motifs that decorate the houses.
A region of rare beauty tuned to the ocean, the town is also adapting to tourism, and is proud of its architectural heritage and its significant historical value. This is the case of seventeenth-century Fort of Santiago, located near the beach, and especially the medieval castle, rising at the top of the mountain, conquered to the Moors by D. Afonso Henriques. Its walls have a privileged viewpoint, offering a view over the town, the bay and part of the mountain
Sesimbra - Photo Source Mandy Lucy Verbrugge
Mercado de livramento, Setubal- Photo Source Mandy Lucy Verbrugge
Church of Santa Maria do Castelo – Sesimbra
Its main elements are the azulejos, altars and religious sculptures of French origin. It was founded in the 12th century and was subject to successive reconstruction especially during the baroque era.
Rebuilt in the 18th century. It is marked by a stone sculptured image of the Virgin from the 13th century.
Sesimbra Castle is built upon an ancient Moorish Castle, probably conquered by D. Afonso Henriques in 1165. The castle was increasingly abandoned, because of the Portuguese Discoveries that began in the
16th century. D. João IV was forced to renew it, following the Restoration fights. He ordered the construction of the ravelins, adapting the castle to newest artillery techniques. (A ravelin is a triangular fortification or detached outwork, located in front of the inner works of a fortress. Originally called a demi-lune, after the lunette, the ravelin is placed outside a castle and opposite a fortification curtain)
Part of the castle was devastated by the 1755 earthquake. In 1930, it was recovered by the Portuguese State. In present day, you can still contemplate the Medieval walls and citadel. Due to its location at a high
spot, the castle is also a magnificent viewpoint, offering a breathtaking view over the bay, the town and The Arrábida mountains. The grandiose landscapes of Cabo Espichel and Meco beaches are located in the surroundings. (National Monument)
Sesimbra castle - Photo Source Mandy Lucy Verbrugge
Cape Espichel provides an unforgettable view, highlighting the overwhelming force of Nature in this place. The Sanctuary of Nossa Senhora do Cabo, dating back to the 18th century, and 15th century Memória Hermitage, both of them located by the cliff are also worth visiting. There are footprints of dinosaurs on one of the cape’s slopes in Furna dos Lagosteiros. However, legend has it among locals that these were the footprints of the donkey that carried the Virgin and Baby Jesus.
Cabo Espichel - Photo Source Mandy Lucy Verbrugge
Cabo Espichel - Photo Source Mandy Lucy Verbrugge
The Gruta do Zambujal with its crystal formations was discovered in 1978, after a cave in at a quarry. Its caves are filled with stalagmite, stalactite, eccentric columns. have become formed due to the temperature, humidity and oxygenation. It is classified to having Speleological interest. Speleology is the scientific study of caves and other karst features, their make - up, structure, physical properties, history, life forms, and the processes by which they form (speleogenesis) and change over time (speleomorphology).
Lagoa de Albufeira (lagoon)
Surrounded by sand and dunes off the ocean, this lagoon offers a completely different panorama from the land side.
This is a place of unique beauty, combining the purity of the ocean, with the lagoon waters and extensive pine tree fields.
The lagoon offers great conditions for the practice of sport fishing, sailing, windsurfing, paddle boarding etc, A great place for children and families.
Its wetlands are inhabited by ducks and other migratory birds that flow into the pine forest. This far-reaching water mirror is the ideal place for anglers and birdwatchers.
Lagoa de Albufeira - Photo Source Mandy Lucy Verbrugge
Mandy Lucy Verbrugge is lucky enough to live in the Setubal region and owns holiday rentals there. If you now feel tempted to take a holiday you can find her listings here Quinta do Picao and Villa Roxy