Outdoor Activities In and Around Lisbon

Outdoor Activities In and Around Lisbon
Outdoor activities in Lisbon number some excellent sports and leisure options for people of all ages, and there’s no reason for any visitor to slumber indoors.
One of the most convenient ways of exploring the city is on two wheels, and at Bike Iberia you can saddle up on a fun-packed guided tour or cycle solo at your own pace. Equally rewarding is discovering the city on foot. Joining a guided walking tour with Time Travellers is a wonderful way to learn more about Lisbon’s history, culture and heritage. A port city, Lisbon is blessed with an attractive coastline. One way of admiring the seascape is to take to the water with Bork Kayak Tours. But if you prefer to be in the water while learning to surf, take to the boards with Lisbon Surf Tours. One of the more unusual outdoor activities is The Real Lisbon Street Art Tour, which takes visitors on a graffiti-daubed journey to admire the work of some the most innovative street artists in Portugal. Feel the need for speed? Once again, Lisbon’s proximity to the ocean provides for an adrenaline-packed powerboat adventure with Megaverde. Similarly, Guincho Adventours specialize in outdoors activities on land and sea, including jeep safaris and horse riding. Kids love zoos, and a day out in the Jardim Zoológico provides hours of entertainment for all the family. Look out for the white tigers! Certainly one of the more novel of tourist activities is the motorbike experience offered by the Side Car Touring Co. Certainly one of the quirkiest outdoor activities is the motorbike experience offered by the Side Car Touring Co. Relax in a vintage sidecar while someone else steers through the city! And if fancy a stroll in the park, head out to Sintra for an intriguing contemporary art exhibition called Point of View that’s set in the verdant grounds of the stunning Palácio Nacional da Pena.

Point of View

To commemorate the bicentenary of the birth of King Ferdinand II, an original and highly unusual site-specific contemporary art exhibition is currently taking place within Sintra's verdant Parque da Pena, recognised by Unesco as a cultural landscape (the King created the grounds in 1838). Called Point of View, the exhibition brings together ten artists of various nationalities who were tasked with creating a series of installations, all strategically placed at different points around the park. To symbolise the relationship between humankind and nature each work incorporates natural materials found within the park's boundaries. By following the park's meandering footpaths visitors can view the installations at leisure. Information panels naming the artist responsible and the materials used are placed at their locations. Point of View enjoys a stunning location, designed as it is under the shadow of the magnificent Palácio Nacional da Pena. (+351 923 7300)

Side Car Touring Co.

Motoring around Lisbon in a sidecar attached to a vintage motorbike is one of more unusual ways to keep yourself occupied outdoors, but this is a wholly novel way to experience the capital and induces a wonderful feeling of nostalgia. This is sightseeing in style, and with someone else doing all the steering you can (literally) get the lowdown on Portugal's vibrant capital city. Sitting in the car just a foot off the ground, or riding pillion if there's two of you, everything suddenly appears twice as large and very near. The sidecar team are experienced bikers and excellent tour guides and know Lisbon's roads like the back of their hands – especially the old cobblestone streets around the historical zones. They can also take you beyond the city limits, to places like Sintra, Cabo de Roca and Arrábida. (+351 96 396 5105)

Jardim Zoológico

Lisbon Zoo is a guaranteed crowd pleaser and is a great day out for those visiting the city with children. The enticing collection of wildlife is impressive and features some truly magnificent beasts, including majestic mountain gorillas and rare white tigers. The reptile house is a fascinating draw, and there's a rich and colourful variety of free-flying birdlife on display in the Enchanted Forest. A marvelous way of getting to know the zoo's layout is by the cable car that flies through the canopy. There's also a "train" that chugs around the grounds. If you time it well you can then take the kids over the dolphin show, or perhaps to laugh at the sea lions being fed. Outside of the zoo's boundary is the free-to-enter Animax amusement park with various rides, restaurants and cafes providing further entertainment. (+351 21 723 2920, +351 21 723 2900)

Guincho Adventours

Thrill seekers in Lisbon will be impressed with the outdoors activities choice offered by Guincho Adventours. Based in Cascais, about 30km west of Lisbon, the company takes advantage of its proximity to the fantastic Guincho beach to offer water sports options such as surfing and kite surfing, and the nearby Sintra hills where quad and buggy tours take place. They even have an off-road Segway circuit in place! Horse riding, jeep tours and mountain biking can be arranged and they'll take groups further afield to Arrábida and Sesimbra for example, for hill trekking and dolphin watching excursions, among lots of other destinations and activities. Many of the programmes are designed specifically for kids and families, but essentially this is an outfit geared towards anyone with an adventurous spirit who can't sit down for five minutes. (+351 21 486 9700, +351 93 447 9075)

Megaverde

Taking full advantage of Lisbon's broad River Tagus and proximity to the sea, Megaverde specialises in thrill-a-minute nautical activities. For an ocean-going adrenaline rush, you can take to the water in a speedboat, boosted by twin 300 horsepower engines. Excursion options include the popular Lisbon-Cascais run, the culturally themed Alhandra Tour and the romantic Sunset Experience. The company arranges trips to little known Mouse Island, a small islet on the opposite side of the river. A favourite with nature lovers is the Birdwatching trip where passengers are taken along the north shore of the Tagus towards the cluster of islands anchored in the estuary. Besides birdlife, the variety of rich fauna includes wild horses. Most of the programmes offer an optional stopover lunch. (+351 961 926 389, +351 919 855 646)

The Real Lisbon Street Art Tour

Surely Lisbon's most unusual and original outdoors activity initiative, this tour takes visitors on a fascinating 4-hour journey through Lisbon's vibrant street art scene. Headed by Vasco T. Rodrigues, arguably Portugal's foremost graffiti and urban culture specialist, the programme focuses on some of the most striking works in the city, created on walls and facades in all sorts of different locations, some obvious others hidden and obscure. Travelling by mini-van between "canvases", Vasco provides his own unique interpretation of each artwork while shedding light on the artist or artists responsible. He also offers an historical and chronological explanation of the places visited. (+351 967 852 921)

Lisbon Surf Tours

The beaches along the Lisbon coast are excellent surfing destinations and the guys running this Portuguese surf tour company are all qualified and highly experienced instructors of this most exhilarating of water sports. Based on vibrant Carcavelos beach, the company offers instruction and lessons for all age groups and skill levels, in English, Portuguese, Spanish and French. The deal includes equipment hire (wetsuit, surfboard etc) and depending on the best weather conditions you could end up surfing on other beaches like Guincho or even at Costa de Caparica, across the river. There are also options of extending the surf tours further along the coast, from Lisbon to world-renowned Nazaré and Ericeira. Their Cultural Programme combines fun in the water with sightseeing trips to selected Lisbon monuments and other visitor attractions. (+351 91 877 7490, +351 96 268 1113)

Bork Kayak Tours

Located west of the city along the Lisbon coast, Oeiras marina is the departure point for exciting sea kayaking guided tours. Suitable for beginners and advanced kayakers, the expedition route passes several historical landmarks, including the impressive 16th-century Forte São Julião da Barra. Paddlers also pass the pleasant Santo Amaro beach, popular with locals and out-of-towners. Further west, the journey takes in a number of other sea fortresses as well as the small harbour of Paço de Arcos and its collection of colourful fishing boats. Along the way a stop is usually made at one of the beaches where you can swim and relax. All equipment, including wet suit and life jacket, is included. (+351 919 506 136)

Time Travellers

Raquel Policarpo and Inês Ribeiro are two archaeologists who share a passion for history and a love for all things Lisbon. Indeed, their extraordinary knowledge of the city and its culture and heritage, combined with a canny entrepreneurial spirit, led them to devise "Time Travellers", one of the Portuguese capital's most innovative and accomplished guided walking tours and activities companies. Designed around different themes, each tour is effectively a journey through time. For example, visitors can explore Moorish Lisbon where Raquel and Inês will lead groups through the narrow streets and alleys of Alfama to point out remnants of Islamic rule. Then there's the fascinating Lisbon Legends and Myths excursion, an enigmatic foray into the city's fabled past. Increasingly popular is the Jewish Heritage Walk that explains the sometimes troubled relationship between Lisbon and its historic Jewish community – with one or two surprises along the way! And a recent addition to the programme is the thought-provoking Days of the Revolution tour that revisits the events of April 25, 1974 when a bloodless coup toppled the government and heralded freedom and democracy. (+351 965 107 188, +351 965 107 138)

Bike Iberia

An action-packed way to see Lisbon is on two wheels, and Bike Iberia has designed 1 to 2-day off-road guided mountain bike rides that weaves through the city's undulating Monsanto Park before descending into the Restelo district of the Portuguese capital and into Belém, to pass monuments like the Mosteiro do Jerónimos. Whilst in the saddle you can also explore the Tagus riverfront. Alternatively there's a flat, traffic-free paved circuit that takes in Lisbon's waterfront zones. Other rides take in Sintra and Cascais. Several different rental options are available, and Bike Iberia staff can shuttle you and your bike to safe and picturesque locations. And it's not just Lisbon waiting to be discovered. The company can offer themed rides in the Algarve, Alentejo and even Spain. (+351 96 963 0369, +351 96 242 3455)

Recommended Place To Stay in Lisbon

Dear Lisbon

Dear Lisbon

Putting you within a 10-minute drive of Rossio Square and Santa Justa Elevator, Dear Lisbon offers an airport shuttle (available on request) for EUR 40 per vehicle. After splashing around at the outdoor pool, you can unwind with a drink at the bar/lounge. A terrace and a garden are other highlights, and all rooms offer LCD TVs and free WiFi.

 

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