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Portugal Travel and Tours

IVHQ Volunteer in Portugal Travel and Tours

What can I visit around here? There is a lot to visit around the Park, from ancient Castles in Sintra to beaches with awesome waves to surf in Cascais, great nightlife in Lisbon or the most Western point of Europe. You choose.

Sintra

Sintra, the Moon Hill, is a place full of magic and mystery, where Nature and Man have combined in such a perfect symbiosis that UNESCO has granted it World Heritage Site status. On the main square, you will see Vila Palace with its two distinctive cone-shaped chimneys, which are useful landmarks for helping you find your way back to this spot. From the late 14th century, it was a summer resort for many Kings throughout the history of Portugal. Each room is decorated differently, and has its own history to be discovered.

IVHQ Volunteer in Portugal Sintra

After a gentle stroll along the narrow alleys, past shops selling regional products, we suggest a visit to the Palácio and Quinta da Regaleira. This is a 19th century palace, although it looks older, boasting impressive decorations laden with Masonic references. The gardens are worth a visit and from its belvedere you can see Pena Palace, Castelo dos Mouros (Moorish Castle) and the sea in the distance…

Don't miss:
- Taste a queijada and a travesseiro
- Walk around the town
- Go up the mountain in a horse-drawn carriage
- Enjoy the view from the Pena Palace

Getting there from the Park
Get the bus (Barranqueiro company) to Lisbon (it comes from Torres Vedras) at the Vale da Guarda bus stop. It is a 30 minutes walk from the Park. Note that the Vale da Guarda bus stop is not is not on the schedule but is between Malveira e Livramento. Leave the bus in Malveira and get the CP train (direction Mira-Sintra/Meleças). In Mira-Sintra/Meleças you should get another train (suburban) with direction to Lisbon. Change trains again in Cacém and get in the train to Sintra.

Full-Day in Sintra
Discover the wonders of Sintra and its Palace with a local guide that know all about the legends, myths and incredible stories of what these monuments hide behind its walls
- Full day • From 69€ / person -

Cabo Da Roca

You cannot afford to miss paying a visit to the westernmost point on the European mainland, the headland of Cabo da Roca. Situated at a latitude of 38º 47´ North and a longitude of 9º 30´ West, Cabo da Roca is an important coordinate for anybody sailing along the coast, since it is the westernmost point on the European mainland, as attested by the certificate that visitors to this point can take home with them as a souvenir. Roughly 150 metres from the sea, you can enjoy a panoramic view of the Serra de Sintra and out to sea over the coastline, all of which makes your trip here well worth the visit. The headland is part of the Sintra-Cascais Natural Park and is one of the main features of interest for those enjoying a walk along the coastline.

IVHQ Volunteer in Portugal Cabo Da Roca

Getting there from the Park:
It’s not easy to get to Cabo da Roca. Get the bus (Barranqueiro company) to Lisbon (it comes from Torres Vedras) at the Vale da Guarda bus stop. It is a 30 minutes walk from the Park. Note that the Vale da Guarda bus stop is not is not on the schedule but is between Malveira e Livramento. In Lisbon you should take the metro (blue + green line) to Cais do Sodré and get the CP train to Cascais and change again to the bus number 403 to Cabo da Roca (the bus station is just next to the train station).

Cascais

Situated close to the sea and traditionally a fishing village, Cascais is particularly recommended is a stroll through its streets, where you will find shops of the highest quality, or perhaps you might prefer to enjoy a few moments' rest at one of the many outdoor cafés and restaurants scattered about the town. The beaches continue to be one of Cascais' greatest attractions, and it is possible to choose from amongst those that are situated in the town's sheltered bay or those a little further away in the area around Guincho, (already forming part of the Sintra-Cascais Natural Park), where there are excellent conditions for surfing and windsurfing. The Boca do Inferno (literally the Jaws of Hell), an inlet along the coast that is surrounded by steep rocks and caves, continues to be a natural curiosity attracting many thousands of visitors to marvel at the brute strength of the sea. 

IVHQ Portugal Travel and Tours Cascais

A special mention is reserved for the local cuisine, especially the fresh fish and shellfish dishes that are served here and which can be enjoyed in the region's many restaurants.

Don't miss:
- Centro Historico de Cascais
- Boca do Inferno
- Parque Marechal Carmona
- Marina de Cascais
- Casino Estoril

Getting there from the Park:
It’s not easy to get to Cascais. Get the bus (Barranqueiro company) to Lisbon (it comes from Torres Vedras) at the Vale da Guarda bus stop. It is a 30 minutes walk from the Park. Note that the Vale da Guarda bus stop is not on the schedule but is between Malveira e Livramento. In Lisbon you should take the metro (blue + green line) to Cais do Sodré and get the CP train to Cascais.

Ericeira

A traditional fishing village, Ericeira has developed enormously during the 20th century due to the growing interest in it as a summer resort. It has, however, maintained its original characteristics and its own individual atmosphere. A visit to Ericeira is also an excellent opportunity to try the shellfish and fresh fish dishes, the speciality of the regional cuisine.

Surf in Ericeira:
The characteristics of the sea and the coast, where tall cliffs alternate with small sandy coves, the preservation of Mediterranean natural habitats and the surf culture make Ericeira a destination for surfers from around the world. The part of the coast that is considered by the American organisation Save the Waves Coalition as the 1st surfing reserve in Europe and the 2nd in the world is 8km long and includes beaches that are a worldwide reference point for surfers, such as Ribeira de Ilhas, the Baía dos Dois Irmãos, known by the community as Coxos, Empa beach in front of the village, and São Lourenço beach. The diversity of waves provides various degrees of difficulty and therefore excellent conditions for practicing surfboard sports, be it at a professional or elementary level. The most challenging waves are at Pedra Branca, Reef, Ribeira d'Ilhas, Cave, Crazy Left, Coxos and São Lourenço. For those who want to get the adrenaline going in sea sports, there are several companies offering surfing lessons that can help you tackle your first waves or perfect your technique.

IVHQ Volunteer in Portugal Ericeira

Getting there from the Park:
Get the bus (Barranqueiro company) to Lisbon (it comes from Torres Vedras) at the Vale da Guarda bus stop. It is a 30 minutes walk from the Park. Note that the Vale da Guarda bus stop is not is not on the schedule but is between Malveira e Livramento. Leave the bus in Malveira and walk to the other side of the steet to the bus stop in front of CTT and get the bus (Mafrense company) to Ericeira.

Lisbon

Lisbon is Portugal's capital and the hub of a multifaceted area that appeals to different tastes and senses.

In a city that has been influenced by many different far-off cultures over time, there is still a village feel in each historic neighbourhood. Stroll through the Pombaline grid of streets in the Baixa district that opens on to the Tagus in Praça do Comércio, then follow the river to discover some of the city’s most beautiful parts: the monumental area of Belém with its World Heritage monuments, the mediaeval quarters and the latest contemporary leisure spaces, such as the Parque das Nações. The wide variety of landscapes and heritage is always close by, whether to the north or south of the capital. With beaches, natural parks and cultural routes for all tastes, it is hard to escape the Lisbon region on a visit to Portugal. Fado is another expression of what it is to be Portuguese that has also been awarded World Heritage status. You can hear it at night in a fado house or in a traditional neighbourhood. But go, as well, to the lively bars and nightclubs, to find other types of music. From reggae to African music, new wave, indie or electronic, there’s a great diversity of sounds and environments, but all are good excuses to have a drink and dance the night away.

IVHQ Volunteer in Portugal Lisbon

Getting there from the Park
Get the bus (Barranqueiro company) to Lisbon (it comes from Torres Vedras) at the Vale da Guarda bus stop. It is a 30 minutes walk from the Park. Note that the Vale da Guarda bus stop is not is not on the schedule but is between Malveira e Livramento.

Full-Day in Lisbon
Travel like a local in Lisbon! Enjoy a guided tour though the narrow neighborhoods, taste our delicious homemade gastronomy and enjoy the ride on a 100% ecological tuktuk trip. Let’s go?
- Full day • From 44€ / person -

Eco-Lisbon (Half-day)
Visit a Natural Park in Lisbon, plant a tree and enjoy a 100% ecological tuktuk trip.
- Half day • From 24€ / person -

10 things to do and see in Lisbon

There is so much to see and do that it is difficult to have enough time to see everything you want at your leisure... Here we present a selection of things from amongst all those you can do, which cannot be missed in the Portuguese capital.

1. Climb to the Castle of São Jorge and stroll through Alfama
Anyone coming to Lisbon and not going to the Castle of São Jorge will have surely missed an unforgettable moment. It is the highest point in the city, set amongst the most typical of neighbourhoods. A unique opportunity to feel and understand the city’s relationship with the river Tagus.

2. Listen to Fado
Whether or not you like the style of music, dinner by candlelight listening to fado in Lisbon is unmissable. Consider yourself lucky and do stop, if you hear it sung while strolling through some street in Alfama, Mouraria or Madragoa. This style is the so-called fado vadio, or amateur, sung when someone gets the urge to sing, with the guitars simply joining in.

3. Go to Terreiro do Paço
The largest square in Lisbon and also one of the most iconic symbols of the city and its rebuilding after the great earthquake of 1755. Currently, it mostly offers a very pleasant walk along the river in the late afternoon. It is also a very beautiful view from the river as you pass on a boat.

4. Go up in the Santa Justa elevator
You cannot miss it when you pass it while ambling through the downtown district. It offers enviable views over this old part of Lisbon, and it is a privilege to travel in this elevator designed by Ponsard, a disciple of the great master of iron works, Gustave Eiffel, more than a hundred years ago.

5. Take a tram ride
The tram is a common means of transport for Lisbonites, but also one of the best ways to travel through the historic neighbourhoods. It looks good on any photo, and the sound of the trams running on their rails is one of the most characteristic of the city. The no. 28 is the best known, but there are others...

6. Visit the Jerónimos Monastery and the Tower of Belém
Lisbon has two unique monuments which are World Heritage Sites. They are two jewels of the Gothic Manueline style that easily impress. Apart from the vaults carved in stone that are a remarkable piece of engineering, the wealth of decorative elements linked to maritime aspects and the voyages of the Navigators is fascinating.

7. Taste a pastel de Belém
This is a highlight of Portuguese cuisine and its recipe is a closely guarded secret that makes them unique. Not to be missed! A sweet pastry that Lisbonites like to eat along their coffee.

8. Visit the Oceanarium in the Parque das Nações
The Parque das Nações is a success story in the revitalisation of an industrial area, with a privileged location on the river. It is worth visiting the Oceanarium, one of the largest in Europe, where you can appreciate the flora and fauna of the various oceans of our planet.

9. Visit the National Tile Museum and the Coach Museum
These two museums are unequalled anywhere in the world. One tells the story of the tile in Portugal from its first uses on 16th century walls to the present day; the other has an unrivalled collection of carriages, with fine examples from the 18th century, exuberantly decorated with paintings and gild work.

10. Dine in Bairro Alto
Lisbon is also known for its very lively and busy nightlife. After an afternoon shopping in the elegant Chiado district, there’s nothing like a late afternoon at one of the viewpoints of Santa Catarina or São Pedro de Alcântara, then staying for dinner in the Bairro Alto. It’s the place to be for those who enjoy a night out having fun.

If you would like more details on any of these locations or activities, our local team in Portugal can assist you once you are registered onto the IVHQ Portugal program.

To apply for the program or explore the volunteering opportunities available in Portugal, visit our Volunteer in Portugal page.

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