Arrábida Natural Park, Portugal

At the end of May, we made a day trip to Arrábida Natural Park on the Setúbal Peninsula.

We started the day with a visit to the Palmela Castle.

Perched on one of the highest points in the Serra da Arrábida, situated between the River Tagus and the Sado River, the Palmela Castle was once occupied by the Visigoths, then Muslims.

The old convent building is now a pousada, with a shop that sells local specialty moscatel wines, jams and pastries.

Palmela Convent is on the Portuguese section of the Pilgrimage route – Camino de Santiago (Way of St. James) – as identified by the symbol of the scallop shell and the fleur-de-lis decorated sword of the Order.

After visiting Palmela, we drove to the city of Setúbal

We had oysters

at the famous Mercado do Livramento

where seafood is the prevailing choice.

And drove up to Forte de São Filipe de Setúbal, with a azulejo lined Baroque chapel

At the top of the fort, we can see beautiful stretches of white sandy beach on the Tróia Peninsula.

We then took a drive on the windy road through Serra da Arrábida.

If you’ve seen the 1969 James Bond movie On Her Majesty’s Secret Service – the only one by the Australian actor George Lazenby – you will recognize the spot where Diana Rigg’s character – the beautiful Contessa Tracy di Vicenzo was shot dead (click here for a clip of the scene) by Ilse Steppat, Blofeld’s henchwoman, at the end of the movie.

We had lunch on the water at Restaurante d’Uportinho

Setúbal Peninsula is known for its Choco Fritos (cuttlefish fritters), so we had that and a delicious seafood stew.

We saved our sweet tooth for local specialty pastries at the town of Azeitão.

where there’s also a winery

with a bottle of Moscatel de Setúbal for €1100.

At last, we unwound the day with beach time at Praia da Califórnia in Sesimbra

before crossing the 25 de Abril Bridge back to Lisbon.

Here’s a map of the route. It took us a whole day (8:00-18:00) and we wished that we had more time to walk around each place – all the more reason to go back for a in-depth visit 😛

Until next time!


On a separate trip to the town of Setúbal alone, we had an all-inclusive grilled fish lunch at Restaurante O Alface. We picked our fish, which in this case was Dourada/gilt-head bream, it comes with bread, soup, salad, coffee and dessert. All for the price of €12.50. I highly recommend it.

Coming up next: Recipe: Purslane Salad

19 thoughts on “Arrábida Natural Park, Portugal

  1. The Palmela Castle could certainly give Sintra a run for its money! The Baroque chapel of Forte de São Filipe de Setúbal is a feast for the eyes, and somewhat reminiscent of the blue tiles inside Porto’s Sao Bento station…oysters is never a bad idea, and I’m glad you had such a captivating time in this part of Portugal!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Well, this was wonderful. Thank you for sharing the map (so we see where you drove) and then all the photos. This is a BEAUTIFUL area and SO CLEAN. When I think of Italy, even Florence, it’s never so clean as this. This area sparkles with beauty. Ah, the El Camino walk, years ago, I had read about it, wanted to do it, but timing was never right to do it. Your meals looked delicious. You take great photos. You let us experience the trip with you. Grazie! Oh… and James Bond, thanks for the clip, Diana Rigg was always a favorite in the Avengers. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

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