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Quiet vacation base outside but near Lisbon?

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British Columbia...
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Quiet vacation base outside but near Lisbon?

After a pleasant week near Naples in Italy this year we are now contemplating to do something similar in the fall of 2014. We would really like to visit Lisbon, but do not like to stay in big cities.

We prefer to be based in a relatively quiet, friendly small town to relax and soak in some sun, from where we can make day trips into the City or other area attractions. We prefer public transportation over renting a car. One to 1.5 hrs on a bus/tram/train/ferry each way would not be an issue.

We prefer small towns which may be somewhat touristy, but which have kept some of their authentic flavor. With small restaurants and sidewalk cafes. Walkable. Preferably a decent beach. We are not into night life. Likely would rent a private place or stay in a smaller local hotel with some character.

When browsing Google Earth I noticed the villages of Sesimbra to the south and Ericeire to the north, each about 30/40 km away from Lisbon. Can anyone tell us which of these would better suit our preferences as described above? Or can anyone recommend any other towns near Lisbon?

Thanks.

Algarve, Portugal
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1. Re: Quiet vacation base outside but near Lisbon?

Choose the Sesimbra area, it has more variety:

cascais-portugal.com/Sesimbra-portugal-guide…

http://visit.sesimbra.pt/eng/index.html

http://www.nautur.com/index.php

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qKyYvT8TU4A (nature Arrabida)

Lisbon, Portugal
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2. Re: Quiet vacation base outside but near Lisbon?

I would suggest Cascais because it's has much easier connections to Lisboa and places like Sintra. Sesimbra it's interesting but you'll have only the bus and it's much less frequent and the traffic to Lisboa can very eavy on rush hours and if some kind of disruption happens over the bridge.

Rotonda West...
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3. Re: Quiet vacation base outside but near Lisbon?

I second the mention of Cascais. 25 minute train ride to Lisbon for under $2. The town is very nice, good restaurants and a large grocery store if renting an apt. The beach is one of the most beautiful beaches we have ever seen. As stated above, Sintra is an easy bus ride but also Guincho beach which is a well known surfing beach is close by. Easily reached by bus, 20 minutes? Cabo Da Roco is also a short but exhilarating bus ride. This is the western most point of Europe. The cliffs and views of the shoreline are breathtaking, Enjoy :)

British Columbia...
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4. Re: Quiet vacation base outside but near Lisbon?

Thank you for the replies. I had sort of looked at Cascais, but at first glance it appeared to be more like a suburb of Lisbon and a rather busy place. Maybe I was wrong. I will look into it a bit more.

And on an aside to Travelbound: I believe that the west coast of Ireland and all of Iceland are further west than Portugal. But if you meant the European mainland, you are correct.

Thanks again.

Algarve, Portugal
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5. Re: Quiet vacation base outside but near Lisbon?

Look further into Ericeira, you'll find that it suits your preferences. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JTJODjdmRE0

There's a bus connection between Lisbon Campo Grande and Ericeira (Mafrense.pt)

Lisbon, Portugal
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6. Re: Quiet vacation base outside but near Lisbon?

Cabo da Roca is the westernmost point of Continental Europe. In fact the westernmost point of Europe is at the Açores (Açores is part of Portugal so it's still Europe), an islet (Ilhéu de Monchique), a large rock located to the west of the island of Flores.

And Cascais is not that busy, especially in fall when the beach season is already over.

Leuven, Belgium
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7. Re: Quiet vacation base outside but near Lisbon?

there is a very nice seapromenade(without cars) between estoril and cascais, with some beaches and a lot of cafe's and bars.estoril and cascais are not a just a normal suburb,because they are a rich residencial part of the city with big and nice mansions,casino...

sesimbra is ok if you have your own transport,otherwise wiil take you about 1,5/ 2 hours to lisbon.

Wales, United...
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8. Re: Quiet vacation base outside but near Lisbon?

Yes the stretch between Estoril and Cascais is lovely. We often take the train to Estoril and then walk the lovely promenade down to Cascais. The whole area is quiet and there are some lovely places to stay. Easy to get to Lisbon, and Belem, with regular cheap trains from early morning until late at night. Beach at Cascais is very nice too if you don't want to venture far. We've never stayed in Cascais but have in Estoril.

Sintra is a great day out (It's become something of a place of pilgrimage for me over the years now, we have returmed many times as it is just so beautiful), Ericeira is off the beaten track for many and it is some distance from Lisbon. For a week away you may find it too far out. If you hire a car, take a trip up the coast like other posters have said, there are fantastic waves at guincho and praia grande. We have had many happy times in this area and if you like Thai food, there's a great place called the Bangkok in the middle of Cascais.

SE Portland
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9. Re: Quiet vacation base outside but near Lisbon?

I would recommend the area around Colares; Penedo, Almoçageme. You would be in walking distance from beautiful beaches Adrega, Maças and Grande as well you are on the bus route between Sintra and Cascais. From these places you can visit Lisbon by train, well within 1 and a half hour travel. Penedo and Colares are higher up on the hill and you have the view of the sea and the valley. You can hike in the wooded surrounds or down towards the beaches. In the villages, especially Almoçageme, there are small shops, cafes and restaurants supplying everything you might need. It is very pleasant to stroll around and very pretty.

I hope that this helps!

Dunstable...
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10. Re: Quiet vacation base outside but near Lisbon?

I can totally understand not liking to stay in big cities. I dislike most big cities and we have visited many in Europe for my husband's work. When we 'did' the Naples area, we stayed in Massa Lubrense and took the ferry from Sorrento to Naples. I am a country girl living in a small rural town that is not on many maps and hour outside of Boston. I strongly dislike the noise of cities and the push of people.

BUT in saying this, I love Lisbon and staying in the various unique areas that make up Lisbon. You can definitely find quiet places in Lisbon to stay that are only a taxi ride or public transportation ride away from the museums. shopping, or the culturally special places of Lisbon. Lisbon is a big city but when you stay in some of the neighborhoods, you definitely don't feel like you are in a BIG city. Each area and neighborhood, has its unique flavor and you can get to know locals IF you make the effort. We were at a great seafood restaurant in downtown Lisbon, and the couple next to us (locals) ordered barnacles. I said something to my husband when their barnacle arrived that I had ALWAYS wanted to try them (but didn't dare to order them). Yes, I was having 'barnacle envy'. The couple started laughing and invited me to try them! Yes, I got to try several of their barnacles (will order them when we are next in Lisbon) and we had a marvelous conversation for the rest of our dinner including their recommendations for further courses. Like how often does this happen in a big city?

Don't rule Lisbon out yet. You might be surprised with Lisbon and actually staying there. I think you might miss a great deal by only day tripping to Lisbon. You would definitely miss the local people and of course, the highly interesting taxi drivers. Just my take on Lisbon which I adore.

Edited: 24 November 2013, 01:27