City of Setubal

Discovering the Treasures of Setubal

Setubal, located approximately 40 km south of Lisbon, was the quintessential old European fishing village–with cobblestone walks, vibrant plazas and busy ports. It was an important center of Portugal’s fishing industry in the 20th century. Today, however, its industrial life is in decline, as most of the fishing factories established in the city have been closed. But bustling with a huge range of tourism wonders, from man-made attractions to natural treasures, the city’s tourism industry is rapidly growing. In fact, tourism is now becoming one of Setubal’s biggest industries, replacing fishing industry.

At the town proper, visitors can feast their eyes on grand churches and museums that shelter gold and gilt treasures and just a ferry away are white sand beaches that serve as playgrounds for bottlenose dolphins, flamingos and white storks. Indeed, with all these wonders, it is no surprise why the city has been attracting thousands of local and foreign tourists alike every year.

Setubal, Portugal’s tourist attractions can be categorized into: man-made and natural. For visitors looking to feel the spirit of the place and learn about city’s the rich culture and colorful history, a tour to Setubal’s man-made riches will definitely complete their experience. Meanwhile, tourists looking to relax and commune with nature also have a wide range of options to choose from.

Setubal, Portugal‘s Man-made Riches

Praça do Bocage, a bustling plaza filled with cafes and shops, can be the perfect starting point for exploring the town proper and the town’s man-made attractions. The plaza is located close to the Church of Saint Julian, a 16th century structure that has tile art and gilded decorations. This church is a must visit for those who have interest in architecture and the city’s history.

Another most celebrated structure in the area is the Convento de Jesus, a 15th century church that showcase Manueline style of architecture. A chapel featuring intricate décor on the main doorway and Arrabida marble columns, writer Hans Christian Andersen has famously remarked that it is “one of the most beautiful small churches” he has ever seen.

Another treasure-filled site is the City Museum, which proudly displays classic religious paintings, antiques and archaeological finds. It also holds a stunning collection of gold, silver and crystal ecclesiastical items.

Natural Treasures of Setubal, Portugal

For visitors looking to unwind in Setubal’s natural attractions, the Arrabida National Park, located at the southeastern coast of Setubal Peninsula, is one of the places they should not miss in the city. The Park is known not only for its golden sand beaches and coastlines, but also for its thick vegetation of Mediterranean crops such as olives, strawberry and pistachio, and herbs such as chamomile, thyme and lavender. This rich foliage attracts different species of birds, butterflies, and insects.

Another natural attraction in Setubal is the Sado estuary, which is located east of Setubal town. It is a nature reserve home to over 100 species of protected bird life. Here, Flamingos and white storks play in its white, winding coastlines throughout the year. Meanwhile, visitors who want to see bottle-nosed dolphins can take on organized tours arranged by the Setubal tourism office.

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