Sesimbra, a lively fishing village surrounded by mountains and isolated bays and coves, is a popular day trip for lisboetas. And, despite high-rise apartments that now mar the approaches to the town, its surviving narrow, central streets reflect a traditional past. Moreover, the long beach is lovely, if a little crowded in high summer, and the calm waters are perfect for swimming (the coveted Blue Flag was raised here in 2016). The waterfront is guarded by a 17th-century fortress and overlooked by outdoor restaurants serving fresh fish. A short walk along the coast to the west takes you to the main port, littered with nets, anchors, and coils of rope and packed with fishing boats—which unload their catches at entertaining auctions. You can also take a 40-minute walk to the hilltop remains of a Moorish castle northwest of town—the grounds have jaw-dropping views over the sea, beaches, and surrounding Serra da Arrabida.
Not everyone has the courage to explore these macabre destinations. Do you?More