Once we were all comfortably seated, we were ready to set sail. The wind was on point so we were lucky to almost not use the engine.
Nuno has a passion for sailing in his veins and you could really sense that. He’s very passionate about sailing, about his boat and about the city of Lisbon. So if you’re interested in these topics, be ready to learn a lot! Even us, Portuguese living in Lisbon learned some interesting historical facts with Nuno. And some of us even accepted the challenge to help a bit with the sailing.
Nuno gave us the choice of a more touristic route in the River towards downtown or to go out to the sea. As we had already sailed in the Tagus River, we were super excited with the option of sailing towards the Atlantic.
We had a great time onboard. We prepared a delicious picnic to share onboard and also brought our drinks from home. Nuno also has a refrigerator available and is happy to share some of his rosé or “green” wine.
We cruised in the direction of Carcavelos beach and were lucky enough to spot some wild dolphins! These were incredible moments. Seeing these magical mammals in their natural habitat is always special.
Regarding the weather, despite having good wind, we were not so lucky with the clouds that showed up later and made the sunset not so stunning as usual. As such, we’ll go sunset sailing in Lisbon again soon, and try to capture the amazing colors in the sky.
We strongly recommend this sailing experience in Lisbon. It’s a great way to enjoy the city from a different point of view. And, in these crazy times, to be outdoors with a small group of friends, away from the crowds.
By Bo, co-founder of SeaBookings, working from Lisbon:
I love it when my colleague and friend, Lianne from the Netherlands, is around!
When my colleague Lianne was visiting us for a few days in Lisbon, of course, we wanted to go on a sailing trip in Lisbon. We contacted one of our newest tour operators in Lisbon, to grab this opportunity to meet them and their boats in person. We scheduled a morning boat trip in Lisbon, departing from Belém.
Most boat tours on the Tagus River in Lisbon depart from Belém. From the city center, you can reach Belém by several means. There are a train, a bus and a tram. Or you can go by Uber or even be more adventurous and go by bike or one of the many electric kick scooters you can find around town. I and Lianne went on an even more original way to Belém. Lianne went on my bike and I went running. Like that, I’d have my daily exercise done, with about 7K 🙂
Some adventure on an electric kick scooter is always fun!
At the gate in Belém, we were welcomed by our skippers and guides, Zé and Luís. They guided us to the boat. Lucky us! It was one of the biggest and fanciest sailing yachts in the dock! The boat was a Bavaria 36 Cruiser of 11,50m. After a small briefing of which route we’d be taking, we were ready to go out to the Tagus River. In a small group, you have a more intimate experience and can ask the captains everything you like.
Actually, this was my first morning boat trip in Lisbon as the ones before were all sunset tours. A sunset cruise is great as the colors of the sky can become really impressive. But I really appreciated seeing my beautiful city with this different morning light. We first cruised in Western direction to observe the Monument of Discoveries and the Belém Tower. Luís, one of the guides, is an enthusiastic local who proudly explained who were the main figures represented on the Monument of Discoveries as well as the history behind the Belém Tower. In fact, I never had such a detailed explanation of these two landmarks of Lisbon. I’m not going to tell all to you here, but if you’re interested, just book this sightseeing tour to discover Lisbon 😉
The emblematic Belém Tower
After the turn in direction of Lisbon’s downtown, we had the wind in our back and managed to feel the art of sailing for a while. While passing by some other boats, Luís showed me how the AIS (Automatic Identification System) worked. Quite cool how you can see a lot of information about each boat, like its ID, brand, owner and even next destination in some cases.
These tours are also cool to get to know a little bit more about the sailing itself
On the way to Praça do Comércio, we passed by “Cordoaria Nacional”. Luís explained that the Cordoaria, is a former naval rope-making factory. It now functions as an exhibition centre. Then, we sailed by the Electricity Museum, which was a charcoal power plant back in the days. Next to it, you’ll find the famous MAAT museum with its characteristic architecture. Praça do Comércio, or Terreiro do Paço, was one of the highlights of this morning boat trip in Lisbon. You get a great perspective over this majestic square. From a sailing boat, you get unique views of Lisbon.
Unique views from the Tagus River
On our way back to the dock, along the South bench of the River, it started raining a bit. The rain was quite unexpected in June, but fortunately, the skippers had already prepared the boat with a cover in the back. Like this, we could still sit outside and enjoy the views of the city despite the rain. We could see the famous Cristo Rei and the 25th of April Bridge too.
We strongly recommend this Dourada after the trip!
Once we arrived at the dock, we were rather hungry and asked the skippers to recommend a restaurant. Well, that was a great recommendation. We had a delicious Golden Bream with white wine and a view over the Tagus River at “O Pedrouços”.
On our way back home, I was a bit too full to run, so along with the bike, we rented a kick scooter and had a lot of fun! A perfect morning I would say! I actually even learned a lot about my city! This program is also a nice day trip if you’re staying in Cascais.
Lisbon is a gorgeous location on the Atlantic coast with amazing year-round weather. As the largest city in Portugal, it has developed as a centre of culture and activity, making it a great destination for families, backpackers and any other type of traveller.
Below is a list of 10 possible activities to do along the city and Lisbon coast, many of which may convince you to consider the city for your next great city break or long vacation.
Visit the Beautiful and Sunny Lisbon Beaches
One of the biggest draws of Portugal’s capital city is its stunning beaches. There are also beaches situated in the small nearby town of Cascais, like Guincho Beach which make for a relaxing day in the sun. In addition, beaches such as Praia da Ursa and Pinhal de Leiria are great for all kinds of water activities such as swimming, surfing, sailing and more.
Lisbon Coast in Portugal
Step Back in Time at Bairro Alto
The Bairro Alto is a neighbourhood that dates back to the 16th century and features an old town feel including some amazing architecture. While the area is relatively quiet during the day, it offers an amazing nightlife scene. Over 250 bars, restaurants and clubs populate the area, making the neighbourhood a fluster of activity during the night as people hustle into popular spots such as Lust, Ministerium, and Lux.
Taste Pasteis de Belem
The Pastel de Belem is a traditional egg tart pastry that is one of Portugal’s most popular creations. In fact, The Guardian newspaper publication even named the tart the 15th most tasty delicacy in the world. While an imitation known as the Pastel de Nata exists, nothing beats the Pasteis de Belem original that is found at the Antiga Confeitaria de Belem, the large bakery cafe that continues to keep the tart’s secret recipe under lock and key to this day.
Take a Swing on Lisbon’s Many Golf Courses
This location is also great for golfers and features many great courses along the coast of this city. Great courses can be found in the Cascais and Estoril areas as well as the Sintra hills. Lisbon Golf holiday resorts such as the Palmela Village Golf complex and the Penha Longa Golf Resort offer amazing courses, beautiful sights and exquisite accommodations that will spoil even the most experienced golfers.
Penha Longa Golf Course
Visit the National Coach Museum
Lisbon is a centre of culture and the arts and plays host to many excellent museums and art galleries. Unique among these is The National Coach Museum which features an extensive collection of historical coaches. The museum allows visitors to take a step back in time while viewing many rare items and carriages which once belonged to members of the Portuguese royal family.
Sail Along the Paths Once Taken by Portuguese Explorers
Like many Portuguese explorers throughout history, you can also set sail on the Lisbon coast, braving the rocking ocean waves in search of adventure. The waves along the Lisbon coast are perfect for a day of sailing. Clubs such as The Clube Naval de Cascais feature training, competitions and function as hotspots for visiting sailors in the area. We also recommend the sailing cruises in the Tagus river.
From the Tagus River you can get a unique sight over the city of Lisbon
Relax by the Waters Along the River Tagus
In addition to the amazing Atlantic Ocean, Lisbon also has the Tagus river which runs through the city. The Tagus river flow can be seen from old town as well as the city’s newer districts. There are lots of vantage points dotted along the Tagus all of which help the river become of the great characteristics of this gorgeous capital city.
Experience Lisbon’s Traditional Fado Music
It’s difficult to leave out a mention of Fado not least because the music has a large influence on the culture of the city. Tourists can be seen crowded into the various Fado Houses of the city enjoying the sounds of this unique musical style. For those who would like to take a more in-depth look at this important music style of Portugal, the city also features the popular Museum of Fado.
Discover Wildlife at Tapada Nacional de Mafra
For those looking to get back to nature, you can visit the Tapada Nacional de Mafra, a park of natural heritage that was founded in 1747. The park features many types of wildlife that you can view including deer, fallow deer, wild boars, birds of prey and foxes. The species coexist in a beautiful forest which spans a huge area just a small distance outside of Lisbon.
Surfing along the Lisbon coast is a fun thing to do with a group of friends
Surf Lisbon’s Amazing Waves
Well known by water sports enthusiasts the Lisbon coast offers no shortage of great surfing spots. Lisbon is a great place to take surfing lessons and learn how to ride the coast’s rolling waves. In addition to the facilities and natural surf on offer, many come to take advantage of the cool breezes and great beaches whilst getting away from the hustle and bustle of the city streets.
Final Thoughts about the Lisbon Coast
The above list highlights some of the best things to do when visiting the Lisbon coast. This all year-round destination offers a huge range of activities and cultural discoveries including gorgeous beaches, watersports, amazing culture, music, food, wine and stunning views.
Living in Lisbon, we’re blessed with a mild climate all year round. Sailing can be done all year round and we go sailing in Lisbon, on the Tagus River, quite often. We had never gone sailing in Cascais yet so we were happy when we were invited to join go sailing from Cascais to Lisbon.
Going to the beach in March or October actually happens quite often as we love the beach and there are many nice beaches around Lisbon. And yes, to truly catch some sun and not only for a nice beach walk. It was the mid October when we were invited to go sailing in Cascais. The weather was still very summery, around 30ºC.
Cascais is a picturesque fishermen town about 30km away from Lisbon. You can easily go there by car or train. The train is really nice as the trainline goes along the Tagus River which slowly flows into the Atlantic. The train station in Cascais is really in the city center. It’s about 15 minutes walk from the Marina of Cascais.
We decided to go by train as we’d be sailing in Cascais and finish the tour in Lisbon. The whole family was invited, so we took our 3 year old who loves boats. The stunning sailboat was already waiting for us in the Marina. We were very warmly welcomed by João and Susana. It was a very warm and sunny day but unfortunately there was not much wind so we needed to use the engine too.
Sailing in Cascais is a very nice thing to do with the family. The views over Cascais town and its surounding beaches are unique from the point of view of the sea. It was a great experience to enjoy the coastline from Cascais to Lisbon from this perspective. Of course there was also time for a refreshing swim.
João and Susana had prepared some delicious snacks and drinks. The boat is a very charming sail boat with a toilet for extra comfort. The first part of the trip we were sitting in the back while enjoying some drinks. The youngster was even allowed to steer the boat for a bit. A true highlight for her! Then, we went to the front were we could lay down on a comfy pillow and enjoy the views while laying down and cuddling. The trip took about two and a half hours but this really depends on the wind and tides.
We highly recommend this experience sailing in Cascais. This trip is only done on request, so feel free to contact us to know more. Prices start at 450€ for the whole boat and you can take up to 8 pax. You can go sailing in Cascais to Lisbon or the other way around, of course!
We live in Lisbon. We love Lisbon. The capital of Portugal is a very welcoming city. These days, a lot of people, more than 70.000 to be more exact, will be visiting Lisbon to attend the Web Summit, one of the greatest tech conferences in the world. If you are one of those lucky people, read on, we’ve selected the best things to do in Lisbon just for you!
Lisbon, the city of the seven hills, is known for its nice blend of richness in culture, history, shopping, nightlife and startup scene. From all of its seven hills, you can find many “miradouros” – viewpoints – to enjoy the stunning sights over the imposing São Jorge Castle, the old city’s pastel-colored buildings, the Tagus Estuary and the 25 de Abril Bridge. Being a coastal capital city, some of the best things to do in Lisbon are related to the ocean or the river. Just outside the city, you’ll find a beautiful string of Atlantic beaches, from Estoril to Cascais.
The Web Summit takes place from November 6th to 9th. Usually, the weather in Lisbon is already a bit “winterish” this time of the year. For now, temperatures are expected to range between 14 and 22 degrees celcius and it seem to be some sunny days. We recommend bringing an umbrella as you never know. Keep up with the local weather here.
In our personal opinion, and as locals, the best things to do in Lisbon are:
One of the best thing to do in Lisbon: eat!
1. Eat codfish and other fresh fish
Yes, if you love fish and other seafood, Lisbon is a paradise. In fact, you can eat a freshly grilled fish on every corner of the street in Lisbon. The fish is always fresh and usually served with boiled potatoes and veggies. Codfish is served in many different styles: grilled, cooked, baked with cream in the oven, fried with grated potato, and so on.
Of course, there are many meat and vegetarian options too. Our favorite restaurant for some freshly grilled fish and meat is “O Último Porto”. It’s not that easy to get there, but a taxi or a nice walk will take you there and you won’t regret 😉
If you want to get a truly local experience, why not join a walking food tour? Our friend Luciana is a specialist in all of Lisbon’s foodie secrets 😉
The number one things to do in Lisbon: Oceanarium
2. Go to the Oceanarium
I remember going to the Oceanarium back in 1999 when it opened. Since then, of course, I’ve been there again. The Oceanarium is one of the best things to do in Lisbon on a rainy day. The Oceanarium actually ranks #1 on the things to do in Lisbon by TripAdvisor! You can spend and entire morning or afternoon here. It’s very educational (for all ages), very friendly and easy to access, especially if you’re staying near Parque das Nações for the Web Summit.
One of our favorite museums: Contemporary Art
3. Enjoy Portuguese art at the National Museum of Contemporary Art
Personally one of my favorite museums of Lisbon. Another great thing to do if the weather is not helping. Located in Chiado, in the heart of the city, only the building is worth a visit. The building has a neo-modern architectural style that respects and honors the pre-existing historical vestiges. I really enjoyed the temporary exhibition that is on at the moment: a retrospective exhibition of the stereoscopic photographs of Francisco Afonso Chaves, a Azorean naturalist. The permanent collection crosses the history of Portuguese art from the second half of the 19th century until today. Open from Tuesdays to Sundays: 10am-6amand costs 4,50€.
Sailing is one of the best things to do in Lisbon as you get a unique perspective over the city
4. Feel the city vibe from a different perspective on a sunset sailing tour in Lisbon
On the blog of SeaBookings, of course, we have to recommend a boat tour. This 2h boat tour gives you a unique perspective over the city. It’s one of the most special things to do in Lisbon as it takes place during sunset, giving the trip a magical touch. Recently, Brazilian blogger Flávia tried the sailing tour in Lisbon and shared her experience on the blog. Make sure to book on time to assure your seat.
Feel the surf trend on a surf trip from Lisbon!
5. Grab your first wave during a surfing lesson
Lisbon has been in the news as a candidate to the new tech capital with sun, startups and surf. Yes, within 20min from the city center of Lisbon, you can go surfing. Surfing is a very popular sport under the locals and expats in Lisbon and going on a surf trip is a great way to feel this trend. Surfing in Lisbon will also count as the workout you needed during those days away from home!
We recommend booking a full surf trip. A local surfer will pick you up at your accommodation and take you to the best surf spot according to the conditions and your level of experience. You’ll get a theoretical introduction on the beach before jumping into the waves. A lot of fun is guaranteed and believe us, by the end of the day, you’ll be happy to be in bed!
Wander or run around the narrow alleys and stunning “miradouros”
6. Get lost in Alfama / Mouraria
Alfama and Mouraria are our favorite neighborhoods in Lisbon. If feels great to wander around the narrow streets and cute squares to stumble upon hidden “miradouros”. Grab a coffee and a pastry so now and then or have a glass of Portuguese wine with a view. You can explore these neighborhoods on your own or you can get a local to walk you through or even run you to the most exciting points of interest.
The imponent monument of the Discoveries in Belém
7. Discover Belém
Belém is the “Discovery” neigborhood of Lisbon. From here, the discoverers left Portugal to conquer the world. You can find several touristic attractions and monuments related to the Age of the Discoveries in Belém: Torre de Belém (the tower), Padrão dos Descobrimentos (the Discovery monument) and the impotent Monastery of Jerónimos. Don’t leave Belém without having one of the famous and delicious pastries – pastel de Belém. The cue to get them may look big, but it’s rather fast. You can eat the pastel in the cafe itself with a nice coffee or take away and sit on the grass by the river to grab some sun.
Having a drink in Cais do Sodré is one of the must things to do in Lisbon
8. Grab a drink in Bairro Alto and Cais do Sodré
Lisbon’s nightlife is amazing. In the famous Bairro Alto the idea is to grab a drink in one of the little bars and drink it on the street. You’ll be surrounded by hipsters, Erasmus students, LGBT, or others, depending on the street you’re in. Accept the challenge to find the cheapest beer: 0,50€ for 33cl or discover the best Caipirinha in town! After Bairro Alto, go with the flow down to Cais do Sodre for some more drinks on the streets or try some dance moves. Wanna dance a bit more? Grab an Uber or Taxify to Lux, the best discotheque of town and choose your music genre on one of the three dancing floors.
That’s Lisbon. What else. Of course there are many more things to do. Tourist things, like grabbing tram number 28 or going to a Fado concert, for example. Depending on your taste and available time, go and have some fun. We love Lisbon and are happy to share some more tips & tricks with you, so feel free to throw some questions or suggestions! And enjoy the Web Summit! See you there!
Our client and friend, Inês, offered us to share her experience about sailing in Lisbon. It’s a great way to get to know the city and enjoy the Tagus River by sunset. Check it out:
Sunset, Sailing, Friends and Fun
Join a group of friends and come sailing in Lisbon!
The Dock of Belém, Lisbon, on a late afternoon of a beautiful summer Saturday, friends and a sailboat just for us, with skippers, beer, champagne and fresh cherries waiting for us. We’re gonna go sailing in Lisbon!
Yes, I know it sounds like a scene from a movie or who is a multimillionaire, but is not the case, I assure you!
It was just what I did last weekend and (yet) with a smile, here I share this fantastic experience that SeaBookings has given us and that is accessible to all (to have an idea, rather than going out to dinner I went sailing in Lisbon).
Champagneand friends while sailing in Lisbon
Once we embarked on Blangai, Gonçalo and Filipe, our skippers, kindly explained in detail how our tour would be (we could even decide what route would be!). The also explained all the specifics of the vessel and some sailing techniques and all the security measures. “Above all, we want you to have fun!”, they told us and so we did.
We set sail in the direction of Santa Apolonia, while Gonçalo enthusiastically explained some technical sailing stuff.
Unique views over the city!
We crossed the bridge of the 25th of April and dazzled with that architectural colossus. On the right side we contemplate the margin of Almada, Cristo Rei, the beauty of Gingal Pier. On the left the hills of Lisbon show up and we realize the urban history of the city with this point of view.
We passed Cais do Sodre and the renewed Ribeira da Naus and remember the courage Portuguese sailors had over 500 years ago when they conquered the oceans from that place! Sailing in Lisbon, without engine, without fuel, just with the mastery of natural resources: the tides, the wind and the stars.
The majestic Terreiro do Paço, Sé and Castelo
We arrived at Terreiro do Paço and looked at this square from a magnificent viewpoint. This image represents the city of the Tagus, which so many times seen in the history books, now there live and in color!
I see the São Jorge Castle, the Cathedral, the typical neighborhoods of old Lisbon, the Pantheon. Even with the views and thoughts back in history, I quickly return to the twenty-first century, with my friends who give me a glass of champagne to do a toast (some with beer, others with champagne!). We do three “cheers”: to life, to friendship and to this spectacular evening!
Tall Ships Races in Lisbon ’16
The day was particularly special for sailing in Lisbon, as in Santa Apolónia the largest free nautical festival in Europe took place: the Tall Ships Races, the traditions of the great sailing ships. And we visited this event from the best point of view: there were 50 tall ships from around the world and crew members of various nationalities, right there next to us!
We then turned around. The skippers warned us as the boat turned while we playfully let ourselves slip, laughing and splashing water with our legs. Our concern was not to spill the drinks!
The skippers: Gonçalo and Filipe
We started to sail down the river while the sun began to set, a true “Kodak” moment (I confess that I lost count of the number of photos we took I am not “photo-addicted” but it was impossible to not capture the moments and unique landscapes we enjoyed during that ride).
In zen-mode, I closed my eyes and felt the warm breeze, the boat and the freshness of the river. It gave me the feeling of complete relaxation. I do not know how much time had passed, but it had the effect of 25 massages, 5 yoga classes 5 and at least 3 meditation sessions.
Torre de Belém by sunset
After this “time for myself,” I went back to friends and the toasts! We passed the Monument to the Discoveries and arrived at the Belém Tower. This tower is UNESCO World -Heritage and voted one of the Seven Wonders of Portugal. It was a privilege to watch this monument from the river and we realized its defense function of the Tagus estuary.
The tour was already over and it was time to return to the dock. The tide and the wind changed and even the engine could not move us. No, no one came into stress because we knew we were in total safety. Gonçalo and Filipe quickly opened the front of the sail. In the end, for us it was even better because we experienced to “sail the bowline” (follow in the opposite direction of the wind).
Moments of friendship while sailing in Lisbon
We enjoyed the final part of the ride to the fullest, in between champagne and fresh cherries the crew kindly offered us. I’m sure that you now think: “I want that too”.
The best of it all is that this experience was not only for me, you can do it too! Join a group of friends and contact SeaBookings! I will definitely repeat! It’s even much more accessible than we think and is at a distance of a click through SeaBookings! Let’s go? 🙂
Many thanks to Inês for translating this unforgettable experience of sailing in Lisbon into words. As Inês said, we’re happy to organize the same for you. Just grab a group of friends and tell us when and where and we’ll arrange a unique and unforgettable experience just for you, according to your budget! Happy sailing!