Setubal is a lively port town anchored by a characterful historic centre and filled with seafood restaurants. Explore wildlife-rich nature reserves, climb up to a 16th-century hilltop castle and devour fish stew, baked oysters and fried cuttlefish.
Things to do in Setúbal
Setubal’s historic centre will charm you with its pedestrianised streets and sunny squares lined with cafes and restaurants. Castelo de São Filipe looms over the town and dates back to the late 1500s. Peer into the beautifully decorated chapel and take in the sweeping views from the ramparts.
Boat tours take you deep into the Sado Estuary, where you can spot bright pink flamingos and bottlenose dolphins. The birdwatching is excellent, with the chance to spot more than 250 species, including marsh eagles, purple herons and flocks of white storks. Nearby Moinho de Maré da Mouriscas is another birding hotspot, with spoonbills, grebes and other species flocking to the tidal mudflats. Stay to enjoy the golden sunsets.
Parque Natural da Arrábida protects a pristine stretch of coast bordered by pine-covered hills. Hiking trails wind through the park and take you to sandy beaches and jewel-toned bays. The challenging trail to the summit of Formosinho rewards you with panoramic views over the Atlantic Ocean and the surrounding hills.
Setubal serves some of the best seafood in Portugal, with everything from chargrilled seabass to eel stew on the menu. Choco frito, a local dish featuring fried cuttlefish served with potato chips, salad and a squeeze of lemon, is a specialty. You’ll find some of the best seafood restaurants along bustling Avenida Luísa Todi.
Getting around Setúbal
Setubal is compact and easy to get around on foot, especially in the historic centre. Local trains and buses run between Lisbon and Setubal in around one hour. Humberto Delgado Airport is a 45-minute drive away.