Background Information - Vale do Tejo

Only an half-hour by train from Lisbon is Estoril, which has a golden sandy beach, small shops and restaurants and boasts the largest Casino in Europe. You can walk along the promenade (half an hour) to Cascais, a charming town with a sheltered bay, some excellent restaurants, shops, bars and night-clubs, and a daily fish auction. A visit to Sintra is a must, particularly the old town which contains a former royal residence, also Ericeira which is an attractive fishing town and resort. Some 45mins south of Lisbon across the bridge is the beautiful and unspoilt coast of the Costa Azul.

The north of the region has long sandy beaches, backed by dunes or edged by cliffs behind which are pine woods and olive groves with old windmills adding a picturesque touch in many areas.  The southern part is full of Palaces, Castles, Temples, Monuments and Museums commemorating the GREAT DEEDS performed here. The best way to enjoy this province is to fly in to Lisbon and exit from Oporto or vice versa, allowing sufficient time to explore.  

Location

The Estoril coast runs along the mouth of the River Tagus estuary on the Atlantic Ocean as far as Ericeira to the north and to the south as far as the Costa Azul (blue coast).  Vale do Tejo stretches from Alcacer do Sal in the south to Leirai.  The region embraces the famous shrine of Fatima.

Places to visit:

Boca do Inferno: Means "Mouth of Hell" where a constantly active sea has hollowed out a number of caves.

Cabo da Roca: The most westerly point of mainland Europe.

Cascais: A popular resort with one of the best shows in town the nightly (except Sunday) auction at the fish market where the local fishermen present their wares. Visit the open market on Wednesday and Saturday mornings only.

Colares: A sleepy village famous for its red wine.

Costa da Caparica: A fine stretch of beach south of Lisbon used mainly by the locals.

Ericeira: A charming fishing village with good beaches, sandy coves and seafood restaurants.

Estoril: A cosmopolitan resort with a good beach, sea front promenade, golf courses, Casino and F.1. Grand Prix Circuit nearby.

Guincho: A large sandy beach, where the wind-surfing World Championships are often held. There are excellent sea food restaurants along the coast.

Mafra: Features a magnificent baroque Monastery.

Queluz: An 18th century pink Rococo Palace described as Portugal’s "Versailles". There is an excellent restaurant in the old kitchens of the Palace (Cozinha Velha).

Setubal: Not only a market town for the region but also a major fishing port. There is a ferry service to the Troia peninsular.

Sesimbra: A bustling fishing village famous for its seafood - especially sword fish steaks.

Sintra: Lord Byron called it "a glorious Eden", most definitely worth visiting.

Troia: A modern tourist complex on the peninsular parallel to the town of Setubal.

Alcobaça: Visit the magnificent 12th century Monastery.

Batalha: The monastery of Batalha is one of the great masterpieces of Portuguese gothic and manuveline art.

Fatima: World famous centre for pilgrimages with special ceremonies held on the 13th of each month between May and October.

Nazaré: A famous tourist centre and fishing village noted for its picturesque boats and local customs, try the funicular railway.

Óbidos: An enchanting medieval walled town. Also visit the Lagoa de Óbidos (Óbidos Lagoon)