Know more about this self-guided walking tour in Palmela, near Lisbon (Portugal), that provides you an itinerary, a map, tips and cool photos.
What you’ll see in this walking tour in palmela
Follow this free self guided walking tour in Palmela (24,9 miles or 40 km from Lisbon), which reveals a castle, old streets, historic buildings, gastronomy, wines and more. Along the way you will enjoy breathtaking views, so take your binoculars and camera!
- Walking time (estimated): 2.5 hours
- Course length: 0.3 miles (500 meters)
Map OF TOUR IN PALMELA, Near Lisbon
The numbers (#) in the Map and in the Text identify the places to visit.
tour in PALMELA, Portugal
=> The walking tour in Palmela starts near the Pousada and the Castle and at the top of the Avenida dos Cavaleiros de Santiago de Espada.
Pousada de Palmela, near Lisbon
(1) Pousada de Palmela (or Pousada Castelo de Palmela) was a former 15th century convent used by the monks of the Order of Saint James of the Sword. In the 70’s, of the twentieth century, the building was adapted to a Pousada (historic hotel).
The former dinning room of the convent is currently an excellent restaurant, that you can enjoy even though you are not staying there. Whereas the cloisters are now a leisure area. Because the lodge is perched on a hill, you can enjoy a panoramic view of the village, the rural and wine region, Serra da Arrábida, Setúbal and the Sado Estuary.
=> Afterwards, head towards the Palmela Castle in front of a beautiful garden area with the ruins of the old Igreja de Santa Maria (church) on the left side. Passing through a bow, you reach the interior of the castle.
(2) Since the Palmela Castle (Castelo de Palmela) is situated in the highest place of the village, it allows you to enjoy a spectacular view of the Sado Estuary National Reserve (with the Tróia Peninsula), the Serra da Arrábida Natural Park, the famous vineyards of the region, the sea and even the Tagus River! It is therefore one of the highlights of this roadmap in Palmela.
The Palmela Castle is listed as a national monument, being of Arabic origin. Palmela owes its name (“Balmala”) to the Arabs, who occupied the region from the 8th to the 12th century. At that time, the network of river channels linking the Tagus and Sado estuaries allowed the connection by boat of the Castles of Palmela, Sesimbra and Alcácer do Sal, as well as access to the localities of the interior.
The Palmela Castle was conquered by D. Afonso Henriques (first King of Portugal) in 1147, who later donated it to the Order of Saint James of the Sword, which used it as headquarters from the 15th to the 19th century. Later, the castle had several extensions and reconstructions to the present state.
In this walking tour in Palmela, at the Castle we have the following suggestions:
Castle Museum’s Nucleus – MILITARY TRANSMISSIONS SPACE
The strategic location of the Palmela Castle led to it being used as center for military transmissions in Portugal, until the end of the 20th century. The Castle Museum’s Nucleus – Military Transmission Space (Espaço de Transmissões Militares), located in the former House of Radiotelegraphers, presents an interesting collection of objects related to military communications, by various means, such as physical, sound and optical. From the collection we highlight whelks, pigeons-mail, flags, rockets and heliographs used in the castle. These heliographs allowed the communication, through Morse code and reflection of the solar rays in mirrors, to Lisbon, Sintra and surprisingly to Santarém!
Castle Museum’s Nucleus – ARCHAEOLOGy SPACE
In the Castle Museum’s Nucleus – Archeology Space (Espaço Arqueológico), you can see several objectives found in excavations in the region related mainly to the medieval, Roman and Islamic periods.
The Keep was built in the fourteenth century and served as housing for the most important people of the castle. In this one you can see a set of battlements and several loopholes. Then go to the top of the Keep to find the best view of Palmela and its magnificent horizon. There you will discover, for example, the 25 de Abril Bridge and the Vasco da Gama Bridge, on the Tagus River.
The old Santiago Church (Igreja de Santiago) of Palmela, of the XV century, is of the late-Gothic period in Portugal and is listed as a national monument. In the interior there are 3 naves that support the central vault, also there are polychrome tiles from the 17th and 18th centuries. Finally, it has a funerary chest of the last master of the Order of Santiago, D. Jorge de Lencastre. Currently, the space is used for exhibitions. Next to the church, discover 2 clocks. The first is on the outer wall, a beautiful Belgian clock, of 18th century, with connection to the bell, with the watch face in tiles, Roman numeration and the clock hands that represent the sun and the moon. The second clock is next to the bridge, a sundial, of unknown date, with a wedge and markings of the hours engraved on the stone.
Santa Maria of the castle church
At the exit of the castle, you will see what remains of the first church of Palmela, the Santa Maria of the Castle Church (Igreja de Santa Maria do Castelo), from the 12th century. Later, it was destroyed by the 1755 earthquake. It remained in ruins, because people started to attend São Pedro Church, in order not to walk up to the castle.
In the castle there are 4 cisterns used to collect rainwater. A cistern is located near Santa Maria Church, at the entrance of the castle.
Square of Arms
Inside the castle there is a parade ground, called the Praça de Armas, where ceremonies and military parades are held. From there, on walls of the Castle, the view over the horizon is undeniably superb !!
Next to the entrance is the Tourist Office, which can give you more indications about the place.
=> Leave the castle and you will find a huge green space, Venâncio Ribeiro da Costa Park.
Venâncio Ribeiro da Costa Park
(3) Venâncio Ribeiro da Costa Park (known as Esplanada) is the lung of Palmela. The Park was built in the middle of the 20th century and is used as a leisure and cultural space. Among trees and plants, you may walk or run on the paths or training circuit, relax and listen to the birds by the water mirrors or attend events in the amphitheater. In the past, the Park was used a lot for picnics and nowadays it is still used as a picnic park.
=> Follow Avenida dos Cavaleiros de Santiago de Espada and you will see on your right, in the wall, an old door of access to the interior of the castle.
=> Continue along the avenue and before a little square on your left, go down the stairs and you’ll find on the ground a set of silos carved in the rock (in Rua de Nenhures).
Silos carved in the Rock
(4) A set of silos carved in the rock are found in Rua de Nenhures. These silos made by the Arabs were used until the eighteenth century with the purpose of storing and preserving food. In addition the archaeological excavations carried out in the place discovered a set of objects, as currencies, metals and ceramics pieces.
Further down this avenue you will find a garden with a pleasant Belvedere.
(5) The Municipal Belvedere (Miradouro Municipal) is a belvedere with a magnificent view. Also on your right you’ll find an old mill. Around the belvedere there is a beautiful garden.
=> Turn left and walk a little on Rua Elias Garcia and you’ll find on your left the City Hall.
Palmela City Hall
(6) The City Hall (Paços do Concelho) is housed in a 17th-century emblazoned building. In the access to the lower floor there is a classic stone arcade. On the top floor of this building in Palmela you will find the Noble Hall with ceiling and painted walls and portraits of the kings of Portugal. Next to the stairs, on the right side, you can see a steeple with a bell. As curiosity is said that this bell rang until it cracked at the celebration of the end of World War I. This building had several uses in the past, having been a court and a prison.
=> In front you can see the Mother Church next to a beautiful typical Portuguese house from the mid-twentieth century.
(7) The 14th-century Mother Church (Igreja Matriz ou de São Pedro) has two turrets with bells. Inside the church there are three naves, and the walls are covered with blue and white tiles from the 18th century.
=> You have reached the end of the self-guided walking tour in Palmela.
=> If you have more time, go through the tangle of old streets of Palmela, where you can discover a variety of houses, doors, windows, colors and more.
How to get to Palmela?
- Bridge 25 de Abril => A2 (Setúbal) => Exit 4 Montijo / Palmela (23 miles or 37 Km, 27 min)
- Vasco da Gama Bridge => A12 (Setúbal) => A2 (Algarve) => Exit 4 Montijo / Palmela (25 miles or 40 Km, 29 min)
From South: A2 (Lisbon) => Exit 4 Montijo / Palmela
From Lisbon: Gare do Oriente Station => Palmela Bus Station (40 min, TST operator: Timetable)
From Lisbon: Entrecampos Station => Palmela Station (51 min, operator Fertagus: Schedules)
Where to eat in Palmela? (restaurants)
3ª GeraçÃO RESTAURANT
We suggest the 3ª Geração Restaurant, located on Serpa Pinto Street, 147, in the village of Palmela. Its appearance on the outside is simple but worth getting in as it has good dishes and is well rated on Tripadvisor. As the name implies, this space has been in the same family for three generations, and is currently the home of the “fishmonger”, who sells fish in the Palmela Market (bought in Setúbal). So, there is always the best fresh fish here!
Our meal was as follows, with a cost of € 25.25:
- Main course: Grilled sea-bream with boiled potatoes (fish bought by weight)
- Mixed salad: tomato and lettuce
- Entrees: Bread, olives and typical Azeitão cheese. Although everyone calls it Azeitão cheese, it is actually manufactured near by, at Quinta do Anjo. Its name is due to the fact that it was in Azeitão that in the past the farmers came to sell the cheese, near a bus station.
- Beverages: Glass of Palmela white wine (with gas) and lemon balm tea
- Dessert: Travesseiro de Noiva (Bride’s Pillow), which is a type of rolled and covered poached meringues with custard. Huge and very good!
Bobo da Corte Restaurant
Another good option is the Bobo da Corte restaurant, within the walls of the Castle of Palmela. The space is much appreciated, with a warm and cozy atmosphere (tavern type). It serves simple dishes, snacks and wines, especially the region. From the outdoor terrace you can enjoy a fantastic view.
Where to stay in Palmela?
Although Palmela is near Lisbon, there are excellent places where you can spend the night, with a varied offer inside the village and around, being the most emblematic place the Pousada de Palmela (or Pousada Castelo de Palmela) mentioned above.
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