Azeitão & Arrábida

Azeitão & Arrábida

Nestling within forests of olive (possibly the word Azeitão derives from the Portuguese word for olive oil 'Azeite') and cork trees in the foothills of the Arrabida nature park between Setúbal and Sesimbra are a cluster of little hamlets or "aldeias" which are collectively known as Azeitão. These are the villages of Vila Fresca de Azeitão, Vila Nogueira de Azeitão, Brejos de Azeitão, Aldeia de Irmãos and Vendas de Azeitão. The area is prized for its fine products including, the Azeitão DOP cheese made from ewes milk. It's here too you'll find easy drinking and quaffable red wines made from the Castelão grape, similar to the Spanish Tempranillo, although in these parts it's known as Periquita. The Moscatel de Setúbal is also made here in abundance. The major vineyards and country estates (Quintas) have dominated the local economy for centuries. It's around these estates the villages originally sprung up from. Those with a sweet tooth will love the Totas de Azeitão, an egg-based tart with lemon and cinnamon flavours.

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Vila Nogueira de Azeitão

Vila Nogueira de Azeitão
Many aristocratic families made full use of the area's arable quality, its proximity to the capital and its natural beauty and built their manor houses and country residences here. prime examples are the Quinta das Torres, now a country hotel and the Renaissance palace of the Dukes of Aveiro, the Palace Távora, which was built by Jorge de Lencastre between 1520 and 1523, is now in a sad state of deprivation.

Fonte de Pasmados

Found on the main street in Vila Nogueira de Azeitão opposite the São Lourenço church the Fonte de Pasmados fountain is one of the villages landmarks. Baroque in style the fountain was built between 1764 and 1777 by Agostinho de Faria. The local legend states that those who drink from here will be tied to Azeitão forever.

Pelourinho

Following the rise in status of Vila Nogueira de Azeitão to a village this Pelourinho or Pillory was transferred from its original position just over a mile away in Vila Fresca de Azeitão by order of Queen Dona Maria I. Constructed in the 17th century the Pelourinho has a tall column which is crowned with an armillary sphere and globe. On the northern facet it's inscribed "FIDELÍSSIMA REGINA D. MARIA imperante/SENATUS erexit anno 1789".

São Lourenço Church

This modest construction stands on ancient foundations that date way back to the 14th century. Little remains of the original Gothic building and what replaced it is comparatively stark. The 16th-century outer walls are basic and lack any flourish. There is a single bell tower. Inside, one discovers 18th-century panels depicting scenes from the old testament and allusions to the village's patron religious figures such as São Lourenço (St. Lawrence) and Senhora da Arrábida. The main focus inside the interior is the altar, adorned with gold leaf carvings from the 17th century and a canvas painting of the last supper. | 38° 31' 01.5" N | 09° 01' 03.7" W


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São Lourenço Church

TOP TOURS

Setúbal Peninsula Private Wine Tour: Sesimbra, Azeitão and Arrábida

Setúbal Peninsula Private Wine Tour

Feast your senses on the fine wines and natural splendour of Portugal during this private full-day tour from Lisbon. With a knowledgeable private guide, travel through beautiful countryside to idyllic beaches and quaint fishing villages like Sesimbra, Azeitão and Palmela. Descend to Portugal’s oldest wine cellar to sample fine Portuguese wines in Azeitão and capture arresting views from a viewpoint in Arrábida. Receive undivided attention from your expert guide on this enriching tour. Hotel pick-up from Lisbon.

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Arrabida, Sesimbra and Azeitao and Setubal

Arrabida: Sesimbra, Azeitao & Setubal

If you want something different during your days in Lisbon, then this is an excellent option. In one of the most beautiful nature parks in Portugal, this is your best option. This Sesimbra Azeitão and Setúbal tour offers so many places to visitand experience, from wineries to Serra da Arrábida Natural Park. Private transportation in a comfortable air-conditioned vehicle. Stops at the Cristo Rei statue before heading south to Arrábida.


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Arrabida and Azeitao Private Tour with Wine and Cheese

Arrabida & Azeitao Private Wine & Cheese Tour

Tour the beautiful gardens, vineyards and art collection of Quinta da Bacalhoa before tasting their fine wines of the Setúbal wine region. This private day trip to the historical town of Azeitão includes a drive-through Arrábida. Marvel at the cliffside scenery along this stretch of coastline in southern Portugal. Wine and cheese tasting with private hotel transport are included in the full-day itinerary from Lisbon. Hotel pickup and drop-off.


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José Maria Fonseca

José Maria Fonseca
The main feature within Vila Nogueira de Azeitão is this magnificent nineteenth-century manor house which is the traditional home to the Soares Franco family owners of the José Maria Fonseca, who still produce Portugal's oldest wine brand. Lovingly restored in 1923 by the Swiss architect Ernesto Korrodi it served as a family home until 1974. Now it's a living museum that pays tribute to the family's long winemaking heritage. The house itself is a place of beauty with its imposing façade and elegant gardens. The tour starts with a brief explanation of the company's history, where traditions and values have been passed down eight generations and are kept alive while allowing the company to project itself into the 21st century.

The tour continues through the gardens to the cellars, where iconic table wines such as the Periquita brand is matured. José Maria Fonseca is also credited for making Moscatel de Sétubal wines. Made from Moscatel or Muscat grapes, these wines are fortified and aged in oak barrels. Within the darkest and most cobwebbed regions of the ageing cellar lie true relics over 100 years old. The company has expanded into other wine regions applying the same values and dedication to produce wines that excel. The tour ends within the wine shop where as part of the tour you will sample three wines and can sample wines from their whole range, complementing the wine with regional gourmet products.

April to October 10h00 – 12h00/14h00pm - 17h30 | November to March 10h00 – 12h00/14h30pm - 16h30

Rua José Augusto Coelho 11/13, Vila Nogueira de Azeitão, Portugal. | 38° 31' 05.2" N | 09° 00' 55.5" W
+351 212 198 940 | enoturismo@jmfonseca.pt | Website | Facebook

Paláçio da Bacalhôa

A mile and a half east of Vila Nogueira de Azeitão on the road to Setúbal is the magnificent 15th-century Paláçio da Bacalhoa and its beautiful gardens. The estate is considered to be one of the loveliest country houses in Portugal. Built by order of King Manuel I as a summer palace for his mother. The design is thought to be the work of the Tuscan sculptor and architect Sansovino. Amongst the building's most notable features are its Moorish melon domed towers and Italianate loggias. It was first restored in the 16th century and more recently in 1937 by the American Orlena Scoville. Inside there are antiques associated with Catherine of Braganza, wife of King Charles II and Queen of England during the 17th century.

The gardens too are part of the tour and are some of the most outstanding in Portugal. Renaissance in style, they feature the oldest azulejo tile panel in the country depicting the story of Susannah and the Elders. Newly established vineyards spread out beneath the well-ordered French parterres, here too are rose bushes that flourish year-round. A symmetrical garden pool that placidly mirrors the genteel Renaissance geometry of an exquisitely tiled l6th Century pavilion. The tour around the Palace and grounds takes about 60 minutes and includes a wine tasting session of the fine Bacalhôa wines. Tours can be combined with visits to the museum and winery in Vila Nogueira de Azeitão. Note: All visits start at the Bacalhôa Winery in Vila Nogueira de Azeitão.

Monday - Saturday: 10h00 – 19h00, Sunday: CLOSED | Guided Tours 10h30, 11h30, 14h30, 15h30, 16h30
Bacalhôa Palace/Quinta: €4.00, Bacalhôa Museum & Palace/Quinta (inc. wine tasting): €6.00

10 Estrada Nacional, 2925-483, São Simão, Azeitão, Portugal. | 38° 31' 09.8" N | 09° 00' 49.7" W
+351 212 198 060 | bacalhoa@jpvinhos.com | Website
Paláçio da Bacalhôa
Queijo de Azeitão

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QUEIJO DE AZEITÃO

The slopes of the Arrábida Mountains are ideal pastures for this local delicacy. Made from unpasteurised sheep's milk, Azeitão Cheese is produced by a small number of farmhouse dairies who still insist on using non-synthetic vegetable-based rennet made from thistles. This creamy cheese has a buttery, semi-soft consistency, velvety when ripe, ivory-white in colour, with few or no holes. The rind is a rust-brown colour, sometimes dotted with patches of white mould. The sweet sheepy flavours are evenly balanced with herbaceous and vegetal notes. Queijo de Azeitão enjoys popularity throughout Portugal and goes well on bread, olives and a glass of fruity red wine.

Quinta Velha Queijeira Cheese Museum

At the cheese museum you can do more than just have a look around and watch the production process. Enjoy a hands-on experience as you're invited to have a go at this ancient craft of making this iconic cheese. As you walk around the farm your senses are treated to the aromas of over half a century of cheese making on the site. Learn about the harmony between man and the surrounding Arrábida environment and the Saloia breed of sheep whose milk is used for the cheese. At the shop, you can sample other products from the farm including organic vegetables, fruit, chutneys and elderflower cordial.
Daily: 10h00 – 17h00
Quinta Velha Queijeira, 2925, Azeitão, Portugal. | 38º 31" 09.8' N | 09º 00" 49.7' W
+351 961 875 337 | qvq@netcabo.pt | Facebook

Beaches of the Costa Azul

Costa Azul
To the south of Azeitão, where the Arrábida Natural park meets the sea, one can find a series of beaches, most of which have Blue Flag status. Often marketed as Portugal's Dream Coast or Costa Azul this dramatic and beautiful coastline offers white sands, warm clear waters and stunning views. Take the coastal road off the N10-4 marked Praias and pass the cement works. There are buses from central Setúbal to most of these beaches:-

Praia Figueirinha, Outão

With the Arrábida Hills as the backdrop Figueirinha Beach extends over a great expanse of sand, at low tide a sandbank is exposed. Due to it's easy access, it's proximity to Setúbal (only five miles west), calm waters, size and amenities this Blue Flag beach can be quite popular, especially with those who have young families. 723

Praia de Galápos

Approached via a staircase the sheltered cove of the Galápos beach has crystal clear waters which are favoured by divers and bathers alike. With a calm swell, it's ideal for children and popular with windsurfers. Good ample parking and has a restaurant with facilities, who hire marquees as well as serve good coffee. There's a lifeguard at hand. The architectural record of the area indicates the richness of marine life here that have been harvested since Neolithic times.
Separated from Praia de Galápos by a few rocks is Praia Dos Galapinhos and offers the visitor a more tranquil and secluded spot to bathe. A little further along still is Praia dos Coelhos (Arrábida) . Coelho's beach is a small cove surrounded by forest at the foot of the Arrábida Natural Park. It consists of soft white sand, with clear and calm waters. The beach is small and quiet. It has a bar that can be accessed via Galapos beach or by boat. can be accessed via Galapos beach or by boat.

Portinho da Arrábida

Fourteen miles East of Sesimbra, in the direction of the Convento da Arrábida and down a meandering road is the tranquil little beach of Praia Portinho da Arrabida which is on the turn off after the road leading to the village of the same name. The water here is warm and crystal clear. It is a great spot both for divers and bathers. There's a 17th-century fort close to the village. It is now an oceanographic museum (Museo Oceanografico). It houses live and preserved local marine animals. There's a small restaurant on the beach and more further along the coast in Portinho da Arrabida village.
Praia Figueirinha

Arrábida Natural Park

Arrábida Natural Park
Founded in 1971 and covering 42 square miles (108 square kilometres) between Setúbal and Sesimbra, Palmela to the north and terminating at the Tejo estuary. Arrábida has a varied landscape from valleys surrounded by limestone mountain ridges, dramatic coastlines and the Arrábida mountain - Alto do Formosinho (499m) that stands guard over most of the park. This Nature Park contains vast amounts of Mediterranean shrubland biome and a large number of microhabitats. Perched on the slopes overlooking the sea is a whitewashed 16th-century Franciscan monastery. Alongside are five circular chapels which once were used for solitary meditation.

Where the park meets the sea one finds the crystal-clear waters of the beaches of the Costa Azul which, warm waters are popular with divers and bathers alike. It was along this stretch of coastline where Tracy Bond (played by Diana Rigg) was shot dead by Irma Bunt (Ilse Steppat) in a drive-by shooting at the end of the James Bond film On Her Majesty's Secret Service, 1969.

Convento da Arrábida

The Convento da Arrábida was built in the 16th century and consists of three segments; the Old Monastery located on the uppermost part of the hill, the New Monastery laying about halfway down and set within the 25-hectare gardens is the Bom Jesus Shrine. In addition, there are outbuildings, such as the living quarters of the Duke of Aveiro and guest houses for pilgrims. The oldest part of the monastery stands on the summit of the Arrábida hills consists of four chapels, a series of shrines with themes on the Passion of Christ and cells hewn out of the living rock.

The first Duke of Aveiro Dom João de Lencastre (1501-1571) granted some of his lands to a Castilian Franciscan monk, Friar Martinho de Santa Maria. He founded the monastery in 1542. The setting was already a place of pilgrimage. There already existed the Memória Shrine and four resident monks. The site was expanded by the Duke of Aveiros son, Dom Jorge de Lencastre and included works such as the perimeter wall. Further building work was carried out later by his cousin Dom Álvaro. Later his son D. António de Lencastre ordered the Bom Jesus Shrine to be built in 1650. Following the suppression of the religious orders in 1834, the site fell into a state of abandonment. It was sold to the Palmela family in 1863. Restoration started in the 1940s and in 1990 the whole 25-hectare site was sold to the Fundação Oriente.

Adult: €5.00, Concessionary: €3.00
Wednesday to Sunday. Reservation is required. Closed in August
Convento da Arrábida, Apartado 28,– 2925, Azeitão, Portugal. | 38° 31' 09.8" N | 09° 00' 49.7" W
+351 212 197 620 | arrabida@foriente.pt | Website | Facebook
Convento da Arrábida
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TOP ACCOMMODATION SUGGESTIONS

Quinta De Catralvos

Quinta De Catralvos (Guesthouse)

Just outside Vila Nogueira de Azeitão, in a rural location surrounded by vineyards the Quinta De Catralvos makes the perfect getaway. Small and intimate with lots of activities to enjoy throughout the day.

En 379, 2925-708 Azeitão, Portugal.
38º 29" 36.4' N | 09º 03" 18.6' W

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Quinta De Catralvos

Hotel Club D'Azeitão ★ ★ ★ ★

Located at the foot of the Arrabida Mountains, Hotel Club d'Azeitão is just 20 minutes by car from Lisbon. It offers a seasonal outdoor pool and air-conditioned rooms with satellite TV. Set in a landscaped garden filled with palm trees, Club d'Azeitão features rooms fitted with a minibar and traditional Portuguese rugs. Each has private bathroom amenities. Guests at Hotel Club d'Azeitão can enjoy a game of tennis on the on-site court. The hotel also offers a 24-hour front desk, car rental and free internet access in the business centre. Club d'Azeitão’s restaurant serves regional and international meals. At the bar, refreshing drinks and light snacks are offered.

Quinta do Bom Pastor, Vila Fresca de Azeitão, 2925-483 Azeitão, Portugal.
38º 31" 21.4' N | 08º 59" 01.2' W

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Villa Azeitão

Villa Azeitão

Set in Azeitao, Villa Azeitão offers accommodation with a terrace and free WiFi. The air-conditioned accommodation is 8.7 miles from Sesimbra. The villa is fitted with 3 bedrooms, 2 bathrooms, a flat-screen TV with cable channels, a dining area, a fully equipped kitchen, and a patio with garden views. A barbecue is available on site. Cycling can be enjoyed within close proximity to the villa. Lisbon is 21.7 miles from Villa Azeitão, while Troia is 16.8 miles away.

69 Rua José Maria da Fonseca, 2925 Azeitao, Portugal .
38º 31" 02.9' N | 09º 00" 37.9' W

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Restaurante Casa das Tortas 1910

This family-run restaurant with a long history has, through the generations, perfected its art. The food is of high quality, always fresh and well presented. Inside, the atmosphere is friendly and unobtrusive. The decor reflects local traditions and cuisine. Simple authentic local specialities served with a smile at competitive prices.

Tuesday - Saturday: 07h00 - 00h00, Monday: CLOSED
Praça da República 37, 2925, Vila Nogueira de Azeitão, Portugal.
38º 31' 08.7" N | 09º 00' 49.9" W | +351 969 146 996 | receitatraente@gmail.com


Restaurante Jardim do Moscatel

A well presented and homely restaurant serving local delicacies cooked to perfection and nicely presented. There is outside seating on the terrace. Popular with the locals, that is always a good recommendation.

Monday - Saturday: 12h00 - 15h00/19h00 - 23h00, Sunday: CLOSED
Rua 9 de Abril 9, 2925 Vila Nogueira de Azeitão, Portugal.
38º 30' 59.5" N | 09º 01' 09.8" W | +351 212 183 469


Restaurante Rosita

Customers are made to feel welcome and at ease straight away and service is excellent throughout. Good honest Portuguese fare cooked extremely well. Food is usually locally sourced and fresh.

Estrada Nacional 10, Brejos de Azeitao, Azeitao 2925-483, Portugal.
38º 31' 21.3" N | 08º 59' 01.2" W | +351 212 189 133

41km (25 miles) south of Lisbon Portela Airport Website

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From Lisbon take the A12 across the Vasco da Gama bridge and head south. Exit from A33 and follow N10 and N379. Latitude - 38º 31' 05.2" | Longitude - 09º 00' 55.5"

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The nearest train station is in Setúbal from where you can catch a bus to Azeitão, details below. Urban train services (comboios urbanos) from Barreiro train station, south bank of the tejo river (reached by ferry from Lisbon: Timetable

• Linha do Sado line Timetable

Trains of Portugal Website

Sul do Tejo buses service Setúbal and the surrounding area: Website

• 230: Setúbal - Sesimbra
• 768: Setúbal - Azeitão (Via Palmela)