We thought it was not fair to keep all the amazing places we discovered in the Arrabida Natural Park just for us. So, we decided to create this guide to help those who are planning to visit this little paradise. In this guide you will find everything you need to know about Arrabida beach, what to visit, what to eat & everything in between.
#1 Arrabida beach
Among so many exceptional beaches, it will be difficult to choose just one to visit. All the ones situated on the slope of the Arrabida Natural Park have the much desired characteristics, crystal clear waters and an idyllic setting.
Leaving Setúbal and heading to Serra da Arrábida (Arrabida Natural Park), the first beach you will find is Albarquel. Some kilometres later you will find Figueirinha. And close ahead you will begin to find signs for Galápos beach. Galapinhos Beach is also nearby and it is possible to get there through the sandy beach of Galápos or by the stairs that give access to it.
After Galapinhos, there is another beach called Coelhos. This was for us the hardest one to find. Coelhos beach is located between Galapinhos and Creiro.
Attention! Contrary to what we initially thought, the trail to reach Coelhos beach is not on the way to Creiro beach, but rather on the road to Galapinhos. Once you find the trail it is easy to see that it is the correct one.
You can reach Portinho da Arrábida beach through Creiro beach, you can just walk there.
#2 Portinho da Arrábida viewpoint
From this belvedere you can have a privilege view to Arrabida Natural Park and also to the 50 shades of blue of these refreshing waters that bathe the Arrábida.
How to get there?
After leaving Setúbal or the beaches we mentioned earlier, head to the Arrábida Convent. After spotting the Convent you should continue on this road and a little further on, you will find this viewpoint. When you start seeing some cars standing on the side of the road, it’s a sign that you’ve reached the destination. When in doubt, click here and use Google Maps.
#3 Sétima Bataria (7ª Bataria)
The Seventh Battalion of the Regiment of Artillery of Outão (7ª Bataria) was a unit of defence of the Portuguese army. It ceased activity in 1998.
The place is marked by vandalism but offers privileged views. In addition, to the cannons that are on the surface and pointed towards the coast, there are also bunkers with several tunnels where the projectiles were kept. I preferred not to explore this part, for I do not feel very comfortable in closed places and without light, but Valter could not resist sneaking in.
How to get there?
After visiting the Portinho da Arrábida viewpoint continue along this same road. About 6 km later you will find the 7ª Bataria. Click here to check it on Google Maps.
#4 Palácio da Comenda (Comenda Palace)
Did you know that it is possible that Jackie Kennedy lived for a while in this majestic building, now abandoned, after the murder of her husband? We read an article about the alleged stay of Jacqueline Kennedy that aroused our interest in visiting this peculiar property. However, we also read another article from the Diário de Notícias who claims that who lived here was not Jackie Kennedy, but her sister and her inseparable friend and writer Truman Capote. It is said that “it was usual for the Armand family to lend the house – known as the Palace of Comenda – to illustrious figures of European aristocracy. After all, the mansion had a breathtaking location over one of the “best Mediterranean coasts” compared to Sardinia or Côte d ‘Azur, but with the advantage of offering the same summer splendour in a “much more peaceful and tranquil” environment.
If you have just won the Lottery and do not know what to do with the money, this property is for sale for the modest amount of 45 million euros.
Finding the Palace of Comenda is not difficult at all. Although we already knew beforehand that we wanted to visit it, we found it quite by accident when we toured Arrabida Natural Park. You just have to pay attention to your surroundings.
How to get there?
After Albarquel beach, you will find a picnic park. Leave the car parked there, go to the picnic park and continue towards the beach. There, you will find the long-awaited building. The gate is open and you only have to climb the stairs. Click here to see on Google Maps.
Update: Palace of Comenda is a private property, which means it´s illegal to visit it. When we visited it on April 2017, the gate was open and inside the property, we found families with children, couples, and groups of friends exploring the place. But the ease of access has changed dramatically. We received an email from a reader informing that, recently, the gate was closed and the fence reinforced. So we warn you not to visit this place.
#5 Arrábida Convent (Convento da Arrábida)
If you are interested in visiting the convent, click here.
To get to the Convent just follow the directions indicated in the signs saying “Convento”. Or click here to get help from Google Maps.
#6 Lapa de Santa Margarida
If there was a contest for chapels with picturesque locations, we are sure this one deserved a place at the top of the list. After all, it’s not every day that you find a chapel hidden in the silence of a cave, bathed by the ocean.
Contrary to what I initially thought, the hike to get here is short.
How to get there?
Click here and use Google Maps to guide you to the beginning of the trail that will take you to the chapel. That’s what we did.
#7 Casais da Serra
The Arrabida Natural Park extends itself for about 35 km. To explore it in full, the best advice we can give you is to make sure that you go through the entire range or at least almost all of it. It is difficult to find roads with landscapes that are more unforgettable than those of Arrábida.
This is why we suggest a visit to Casais da Serra. This is not a place where we have stopped much longer than enough to take this picture or to explore the abandoned Farm of San Francisco, but we think it is worth coming here just to drive more kilometres of the Arrábida roads.
Click here to check the location on Google Maps.
Setúbal is the closest town. If you want to spend a few days getting to know Arrabida Natural Park we strongly recommend that you use Setúbal as a base. That’s what we did.
I have not told you yet, but I used to live in this city for three years with my grandparents. Before going to college and while studying at Secondary School du Bocage. It was good to return to a city so dear to me. In my absence, I could see how much the city has changed.
There are also several accomodations that have emerged throughout the city. From hostels, guesthouses and luxury hotels, you can find a little of everything to suit all tastes. The very first five-star accommodation in the district of Setúbal, the Hotel Casa Palmela has opened recently. As for accommodation in Setubal, we recommend the following RM The Experience, De Pedra e Sal Hostel & Suites and Y.Quebedo – Concept Serviced Apartments.
What to eat?
Once in Setubal, you cannot miss the opportunity to eat the famous Choco Frito (fried cuttlefish). We are fans of this delicacy. We chose Casa Santiago – King of Choco Frito for dinner and we loved it. We ordered a dose of fried cuttlefish for two to accompany with potatoes and we were very pleased. The portions are very well served and the cuttlefish is really tasty and delicious. We paid € 14.60 for the fried cuttlefish and € 2.60 for the fries. In addition to the delicious fried cuttlefish, we also fell in love with the olives served here.
The restaurant is located at number 98 of the city’s main avenue, Avenida Luísa Todi.
Click here to see it on Google Maps.
If, like my parents, you are also seafood fans. Setubal is the right place to go. It is unthinkable to tell my parents that I am going to Setúbal and not bring them some fresh seafood from Mariscos Barrosinho.
We visited Setubal on the weekend of April 21, 2017. Although we have visited this region outside of the traditional bathing season, there were already many people who, like us, also wanted to enjoy the weekend in this paradise. Contrary to what our photos show, in none of the places we mentioned in our Guide we were alone. Let us alert you to the possibility of experiencing chaotic traffic or difficulty in parking if you visit Arrábida at the peak of summer, which should be the maximum exponent of its tourism.
Update!: Since the summer of 2018, traffic in the Arrabida Natural Park, between Figueirinha and Creiro beaches is prohibited for cars from May 31st until September 16th, from 07h00 to 8:00 p.m.