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From Cape to Castle

A journey through Portugal's Arrábida Natural Park
 
There’s great variety on this self-guided hotel-to-hotel walking holiday: while your luggage is transferred, you follow coastal, valley and ridge-top paths as you journey inland to a characterful pousada set within a medieval castle. Along the way, savour the region’s acclaimed seafood, cheese and wines.
From Cape to Castle. 7 nights
From Cape to Castle. 7 nights
 

Holiday information

 
A walking holiday in the Arrábida Natural Park
The Douro Valley has its vines, Sintra has its castles and the Algarve has its coastline but in the dramatic Arrábida Natural Park on the Setúbal Peninsula, just a stone's throw from Lisbon, you'll find all that, along with an abundant harvest from both sea and land, and as yet, it's virtually undiscovered.

In the fifteenth century so many pilgrims travelled to the Cape of Espichel that a small village comprising lodgings, shops and even an opera house were constructed to serve their needs. Known as the Shining Cape, the tip of the Setúbal Peninsula looks out over the Atlantic Ocean while along its southern shore lies one of Portugal's most stunning coastlines where the mountains of the Arrábida Natural Park melt into the sea behind sheltered coves of soft, white sand. 
In the valleys between the ridges, vines braid the landscape producing some of the country's finest wines, including its famous Moscatel dessert wine; while in the coastal villages of Sesimbra and Portinho an abundance of fish and seafood dominate menus and the irresistible aromas of the region's trademark grilled sardines and tender choco frito (fried cuttlefish) permeate the warm evening air.

From dinosaur footprints ascending the cliffs of Espichel, to a Pousada set within a medieval castle on a hill, a journey through this generous land provides a taste of traditional Portugal and some of its finest walking. Come and enjoy it before the secret's out of the bag.
 
Gallery
 

Itinerary

The key to Inntravel holidays is flexibility. You can start on the day of your choice, and are free to add extra nights. 
  • The average maximum daytime temperatures and monthly rainfall relate to the nearest weather station and are intended as a guide only.

     
    Average temperatures and rainfall
      Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec
    °C 16 17 19 21 24 28 32 32 29 24 19 16
    mm 51 45 40 37 27 6 2 2 18 57 65 71
  • Arrival in Sesimbra
    Night 1: at SANA Sesimbra Hotel (the first of two nights here).
    As your first night’s accommodation is on the day of travel, Day 1 is your first day of walking.
  • Circular route around Cabo do Espichel: 8.5km, 3.5hrs; ascent/descent 165m
    Famed for its fresh fish and seafood, Sesimbra's air is filled with the scent of sardines crisping on charcoal-fired barbecues in the restaurants that line the promenade and the narrow streets behind, far below the battlements of its impressively preserved, 12th-century Moorish castle. A short bus ride takes you to the fascinating Espichel Cape where the once-celebrated Santuário de Nossa Senhora do Cabo Espichel stands on the western precipice of Portugal. Following a coastal walk with far-reaching views over the peninsula to the River Tagus, Lisbon and the hills of Sintra beyond, you pass a viewing platform overlooking 133-million-year-old dinosaur footprints before continuing your route to the ruins of a 17th-century fort set into the cliffside.
    Circular route around Cabo do Espichel: 8.5km
    Sesimbra Castle
  • Sesimbra to Azeitão: 16km, 5.5hrs; ascent 250m/descent 275m
    A short taxi transfer takes you inland so that you can begin your journey through the unspoiled beauty of the Arrábida Natural Park. Your route winds through woodland and farms and alongside orderly vineyards to reach the string of rural hamlets that lie at the heart of the park, and the picture-postcard village of Nogueira do Azeitão, home to Setúbal's celebrated wine producers, exquisite Azulejos tiles and one of Portugal's best-loved cheeses. Your base for the next three nights is the Club d'Azeitão.
    Sesimbra to Azeitão: 16km
    Cork forest on the route from Sesimbra to Azeitao
  • Explore Azeitão
    On your two full days here we provide a menu of options, including two superb walks and visits to some of the area's most compelling attractions.

    Azeitão to Portinho (return by taxi): 16km, 6.5hrs; ascent 510m/descent 610m
    Follow a winding route that passes initially through smallholdings and family vineyards belonging to local villagers before morphing into red-earthed tracks through stone pine woodland. Following the contours of the mountain ranges with views over the coast, your path emerges alongside the scattered buildings and cave chapels of the stunning 16th-century Convento da Arrábida, before descending to the charming coastal village of Portinho, nestling in its picturesque bay alongside one of Arrábida's best beaches. Visit the maritime museum, housed in a small fort at the edge of the hamlet; enjoy a traditional choco frito (fried cuttlefish) lunch in one of the restaurants whose dining rooms expand out over the ocean on stilts; and relax on the idyllic beach before returning to Azeitão by taxi (pay locally).

    Circular route via Palacio Comenda: 16.5km, 6.5hrs; shorter option, returning by bus: 11.5km, 4.5hrs
    Take the bus (pay locally) to the neighbouring village of Aldeia Grande, where you join a gentle path through Mediterranean-like grasslands, open meadows and dense woodland, to the mouth of the Sado estuary where the ruined 18th-century Palacio Comenda, a former home of European royalty, sits looking out over the estuary to the Tróia Peninsula. Here, a picturesque picnic area by the estuary makes an ideal spot to enjoy a packed lunch before returning along a stream-side path to reach the grounds of the 15th-century former manor house, Solar do Morgado – now the Quinta de Alcube – where you can pause for a tasting before returning to Club d'Azeitão. For a shorter day, you can catch a bus back to Azeitão shortly after Palacio Comenda.

    Wine tasting in Azeitão
    Azeitão is home to two award-winning wineries, each offering tours and tastings. Set in the heart of the village, the Azulejos-tiled frontage of José Maria Fonseca has been producing wine for almost two centuries, including the region's famed Moscatel, some of whose root stock dates back more than a century. On the outskirts of the village, the extensive grounds and vineyards of the Bacalhôa winery are landmarked by a woad-blue terracotta army and Japanese gardens. 

    Other places of interest in Azeitão
    You can also visit the fascinating 15th-century Bacalhôa Palace. Complete with beautiful gardens, it began life as a royal residence and is now considered one of Portugal's finest estates. Admirers of Azulejos tiles will enjoy calling in at the small factory across the road from your hotel – it’s possible to watch the tiles being made by hand, and to pick up souvenirs direct from the workshop.
    The beach at Portinho
    Wine tasting at Adega Alcube
    Azeitão to Portinho (return by taxi): 16km
    Circular route via Palacio Comenda: 16.5km
  • Azeitão to Palmela: 11.5km, 4.5hrs; ascent 310m/descent 185m
    Today you step out from the hotel door to follow a superb route, ascending gently though flower-filled meadows to reach the ridge of Serra de São Francisco – from where views open up across vineyards and the River Tagus to Lisbon in the north, and over the Serra de São Luís in the east. Crossing to another sierra, where views become even more expansive, you follow a ridge-top trail of sentinel windmills leading to the historic hill town of Palmela, ascending through terraced gardens to the medieval castle, within whose walls lies the splendid Pousada Castelo de Palmela.
    Azeitão to Palmela: 11.5km
    A windmill near Palmela Castle
  • Circular route via Vale de Berris: 13km, 5hrs; ascent/descent 380m
    Walk into the Arrábida Natural Park to the delightful Vale de Berris and Serra de São Luís, both offering very different perspectives on the area. Descending from the castle to a quiet country lane, you pass vineyards whose grapes produce the aromatic Moscatel, intense Syrah and chocolatey Castelão wines which carry the Vale de Berris label, to reach the foothills of the Serra de São Luís in the heart of this fertile, agricultural valley. Your return route takes you along a ridge that follows the southern flank of the valley where views open up across the Sado estuary to the white-sand-fringed peninsula of Tróia – yet more abundant beauty in this, as yet unsung, paradise.
    Circular route via Vale de Berris: 13km
    Palmela Castle and Vale de Barris
 

Accommodation

Your accommodation is as delightfully diverse as the landscape itself.

Occasionally, due to availability, we may offer an alternative hotel, as shown below. You will be informed of any change to the usual hotel (along with any price implication) prior to us confirming your holiday to you.
 

Extend your stay

 
Prices & travel options
All prices are in £ sterling (GBP). If you'd like to see what they equate to in your currency, use the converter.
Currency converter

We can only accept payment in GBP, but you can use this converter to find out how much the holiday equates to in your own currency.

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  • 7 nights: 01 April - 30 June 2019 & 01 September - 31 October 2019

    Start any day | End by latest date(s) shown above

    Starting Price Single room
    1 - 30 April £695 £350
    1 - 23 May £740 £375
    24 - 31 May £760 £380
    1 - 13 June £785 £405
    14 - 23 June £840 £455
    1 - 14 September £840 £455
    15 - 30 September £785 £405
    1 - 24 October £760 £380
    3rd & 4th person discount -£20
    Single traveller supplement £20

    Includes accommodation, meals and services integral to the holiday as described, plus walking notes and maps, but no travel from the UK, nor any connecting travel from the airport unless stated below.

    Book your flights through us and we'll find the best route and times to suit you. Please contact us to find out more about our flight booking service. We can also book connecting travel - see below.

  • Room upgrades (£ per person per night)

    Hotel Club d'Azeitão
    Superior: 01 Apr - 30 Jun 2019 £10
    Superior: 01 Sep - 31 Oct 2019 £10
    Pousada Castelo de Palmela
    Suite: 01 Apr - 05 Apr 2019 £38
    Suite: 06 Apr - 17 Apr 2019 £45
    Suite: 18 Apr - 20 Apr 2019 £50
    Suite: 21 Apr - 30 Jun 2019 £45
    Suite: 01 Sep - 14 Sep 2019 £50
    Suite: 15 Sep - 31 Oct 2019 £45
    Superior: 01 Apr - 05 Apr 2019 £18
    Superior: 06 Apr - 30 Jun 2019 £25
    Superior: 01 Sep - 31 Oct 2019 £25

    Extra nights (£ per person per night) in a double or single room

    SANA Sesimbra Hotel (B&B) Double room Single room
    01 Apr - 30 Apr 2019 £60 £108
    01 May - 31 May 2019 £70 £130
    01 Jun - 14 Jun 2019 £80 £150
    15 Jun - 30 Jun 2019 £105 £195
    01 Sep - 14 Sep 2019 £105 £195
    15 Sep - 30 Sep 2019 £80 £150
    01 Oct - 31 Oct 2019 £70 £130
    Hotel Club d'Azeitão (B&B) Double room Single room
    01 Apr - 17 Apr 2019 £55 £88
    18 Apr - 22 Apr 2019 £60 £95
    23 Apr - 30 Jun 2019 £55 £88
    01 Sep - 31 Oct 2019 £55 £88
  • RECOMMENDED AIRPORT(S):
    Lisbon

    Travelling from the UK

    Travelling from outside the UK

    If you are flying from outside Europe,  we recommend flying via Lisbon. To discuss onward connecting travel to the start of your holiday, please contact us.

    Outward route Airline
    Aberdeen - Lisbon (via Amsterdam Schiphol) KLM 
    Outward route Airline
    Bristol - Lisbon easyJet 
    Outward route Airline
    Edinburgh - Lisbon easyJet,  Ryanair 
    Outward route Airline
    Glasgow - Lisbon Ryanair 
    Outward route Airline
    Liverpool - Lisbon easyJet 
    Outward route Airline
    London City - Lisbon TAP Air Portugal 
    Outward route Airline
    Gatwick - Lisbon Air Europa,  Azores Airlines (SATA),  easyJet,  TAP Air Portugal 
    Outward route Airline
    Heathrow - Lisbon British Airways,  TAP Air Portugal 
    Outward route Airline
    Luton - Lisbon easyJet 
    Outward route Airline
    Stansted - Lisbon Ryanair 
    Outward route Airline
    Manchester - Lisbon easyJet,  Ryanair,  TAP Air Portugal 
    Manchester - Lisbon (via Frankfurt) Lufthansa 
    Outward route Airline
    Newcastle - Lisbon (via Amsterdam Schiphol) KLM 
    Outward route Airline
    Norwich - Lisbon (via Amsterdam Schiphol) KLM 
    Travelling from outside the UK

    If you are flying from outside Europe,  we recommend flying via Lisbon. To discuss onward connecting travel to the start of your holiday, please contact us.

    This list of flight options should be used as a guide only, and you should check each airline’s website for current routes, frequency and schedules. Not all flights operate daily, and may not run for the entire season. You should also heed the latest flight arrival time and earliest flight departure time stated in the connecting travel section, as it may not be possible to arrange connecting travel outside these times. Please do not book your flights until we have confirmed your accommodation to you. Alternatively, our expert reservations team will be happy to offer advice and to make flight bookings for you. We charge £30 per person for our flight booking service (£50 for India and Nepal). Your flights are then covered by our package-booking conditions, which give you greater protection in the event of delay or cancellation, as well as providing ATOL cover.

  • Prices below are based on 2 people travelling together. If you are travelling solo or as a party of 3 or more and our arrangements include a taxi, please contact us for prices; additional passengers often pay less.

    Connecting travel options - flying via Lisbon

    Outward route Price per person Latest flight
    arrival time
    direct taxi Lisbon airport to hotel (1h) £30 flexible
    bus Lisbon Praça de Espanha to Sesimbra (1h15) pay locally 1845 (1415 Sat-Sun)
    Homeward route Price per person Earliest flight
    departure time
    taxi hotel to station (0h15), rail Pinhal Novo station to Lisbon Oriente (0h45) £24 1230
    bus Palmela to Lisbon Oriente (0h40) pay locally 1100
    direct taxi hotel to Lisbon airport (0h45) £30 flexible
What is included
  • 7 nights
  • 2 dinners
    2 picnics
    7 breakfasts
  • luggage transported
  • route notes and maps
  • transfer on Day 2
 
Reviews

If you've experienced this holiday first hand, why not write a review?

We are keen for as many customers as possible to review their holiday. To make it easier to do so, we include a specific review section on our post-holiday questionnaire, and this is what we publish here, unedited. Read our full review policy >

 

FAQs

If you have any questions relating to this or any other Inntravel holiday, our friendly travel experts will be happy to help. You might also find our General FAQs section helpful.
  • We’ll send you route notes and maps 2-3 weeks before your holiday. The route notes not only contain directions to get from hotel to hotel, but also include practical information about places of interest and eateries along each route, plus cultural information about the area. If/when you are moving between hotels, you leave your luggage in reception as you leave, and it will be transferred ahead to your next accommodation, meaning that all you need to take with you are a camera, sun cream, drinks, food and waterproofs.

    For more detailed information, see our walking holidays in Europe page.
  • We can book a wide range of airlines and routes from the UK. As well as being more convenient for you to book all elements of your holiday together, it also means that we’ll accept liability for your travel arrangements, so if things go wrong, such as the airline going bust, we’ll make suitable alternative arrangements for you. For Europe and Morocco, there’s a £30 booking fee per person (£15 for children aged 2-11). For India and Nepal, the booking fee is £50 per person. More information on flights >
  • We can’t book flights that originate outside the UK, but if you wanted book your own flights to London (or elsewhere in the UK), we can make all onward travel arrangements (including flights) from there. Alternatively, if you are booking your own flights to an airport in continental Europe that’s appropriate for your holiday, we can book onward rail travel and/or taxis. More information about how we can tailor holidays for customers outside the UK >
  • Since our holidays are self-guided, we recommend calling us for a chat about your plans before making a booking, especially if it’s the first time you’ve booked with us.
    The price panel shows the supplement for a single room and also the single traveller charge (this covers (luggage) transfers and other costs which are usually shared between two people).
  • Once you’ve decided on your exact itinerary (our travel experts will be happy to offer advice), you need to provide us with your party’s details, either by phone or via our booking form. At this point we also ask you to pay a deposit so that we can secure a room for you immediately on confirming availability with the hotel(s). If it turns out that we can’t secure the accommodation for the holiday you’ve requested, or offer an acceptable alternative, we’ll refund your deposit promptly and in full. After booking your accommodation and other key elements, we'll then book your travel (or you can do so if you’re making your own arrangements) and send you a Booking Confirmation and Invoice.
  • Yes, it’s something we insist on, even for holidays in the UK. The vast majority of holidays go smoothly, but when things go wrong, it can be expensive to put them right. Buying a new pair of walking boots after your suitcase is stolen mightn’t seem so bad, but the bill for being airlifted down from a mountain with a broken leg or flown home while still recovering from an illness or accident can cost tens of thousands of pounds.

    You don’t have to buy our policy (if you live outside Europe you’ll definitely need to make your own arrangements, as the policy is only for UK and EU residents), but you do need to make sure that you’re covered for medical emergencies and repatriation. We also recommend that you are covered for other eventualities, such as cancellation and loss of luggage and passports.
  • It is your responsibility to ensure you are in possession of the correct travel documents, with the correct validity. If you’re a UK citizen, you need a full British passport to travel to Portugal, Madeira and the Azores, but not a visa (if you are travelling after 31 October 2019, see the Brexit question below for more information). If you are a citizen of another country, you’ll need to check requirements with the national embassy or your own consulate.

    Current information regarding vaccinations and travel health advice can be found through the following NHS link: www.fitfortravel.nhs.uk/advice/ You must make sure you have adequate insurance cover for illness, accidents and repatriation (see the insurance question). UK citizens should also obtain a European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) by applying at a Post Office or at www.ehic.org.uk. The EHIC allows reciprocal health care but should not be seen as a substitute for travel insurance. EHICs may cease to be valid in the event of a no-deal Brexit.
  • The official language is Portuguese. The currency is the Euro. Portuguese time is the same as GMT/UTC. It uses Daylight Saving Time, so in summer is on the same time as BST.
  • Even in the event of a no-deal Brexit, it’s been confirmed that flights will continue as normal and that you won’t need a visa to go on holiday (the limit on stays is 90 days). What you will need if there’s no deal is a passport that is valid for at least 6 months beyond the date of your arrival (extra months added because you renewed your passport early do not count) and adequate travel insurance to cover you for accidents and illness in case reciprocal health deals are suspended. If you are driving while on holiday, you will probably need an International Driving Permit (plus a Green Card if you are taking your own car to Europe). More information >
  • The UK Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) provides up-to-date, country-by-country travel advice, as well as information on security, local laws, passports and visas for UK citizens.
    If you live outside the UK, see our essential travel information page for a list of relevant websites.
Last fetch time is : 7/15/2019 1:31:09 PM