Setubal, Portugal

Setubal, found in the south portion of Lisbon, Portugal, is known in Europe as a traditional coastal town accentuated by bustling ports, cobblestone pathways, and busy squares. The undeniable classic beauty of Setubal is courtesy of the natural assets that envelope it, making it the perfect destination for tourists who are fond of nature and outdoor adventures.

The third-largest port of the country is found in Setubal, in the capital district along the Rio Sado to be exact. Setubal may be a dominantly industrial city, but industrialization is hardly felt due to the strong natural appeal of its marina, fishing harbors and waterfronts. To witness an auction in the fishing port early in the morning is an experience that should not be missed out when in Setubal. Conversely, the seafood here is superb, something that the city takes pride in. Two of the sumptuous seafood dishes tourists rave about are the choco frito, or fried cuttlefish, and grilled pink salmon.

In the town proper, most of the tourist spots are in close distances to each other, which makes the walking tour quite convenient. In this part of the city is where ancient churches and grand museums are found, serving as perfect venues for learning the city’s historic past. Praça do Bocage, part of the old town is a bustling stretch comprised of cafes, antique stores, and quaint shops. The most-celebrated structures in its grounds include Convento de Jesus, Church of Saint Julian, and the City Museum.

Exploring Setubal’s natural wonders can be started by heading to the Arrabida National Park. This magnificent park found at the peninsula’s southeastern coast is famous for its long stretch of golden sand beaches, as well as lush fields that bear olives, pistachio, strawberries, lavender, and other fruits and herbs. The park is even made beautiful by the butterflies and birds that freely roam in its surroundings. East of the town is where a nature reserve is found, serving as a home to almost 100 different species of birds. Called Sado Estuary, the popular activity in this nature reserve is bird and dolphin watching, hiking, and camping.

The city of Setubal is quite compact, but despite the small size, it is still very much advised to tour the city by car. To make the Setubal experience authentic, take the roofless bus. This traditional model of transportation winds up to major roads of Setubal, leading to the historic districts, old towns, commercial areas, beaches, parks, and other destinations worth seeing in Setubal.