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Get up and go! 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. 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. They also offer tours further south, down near Sesimbra. Are you a keen ornithologist? Then you'll be well rewarded on one of Birdwatching Lisbon's excursions to the Tagus Estuary Nature Reserve. They even supply binoculars! Expanding the nautical offer is Sailing with Nigel, a cruise sightseeing operation that's highly regarded for its tour program and level of hospitality. Back on terra firma, and 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. Do you surf? Then take to the boards with Lisbon Surf Tours, based at Carcavelos Beach. They'll soon have you hanging ten like a pro! One of the more unusual of Lisbon's outdoor activities options 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 lots of fun on the river, and the adrenaline-fulled powerboat adventure that is Megaverde is a white-knuckle ride with attitude. Similarly, Guincho Adventours specialize in outdoors activities on land and sea and includes surfing, jeep safaris, and horse riding options. 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! 


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Sete Rios/Benfica


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.


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Outside the City


Thrill seekers in Lisbon will be impressed with the outdoors activities choice offered by Guincho Adventours. Based in the village of Areia, about 15 km north of Cascais, 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.


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24 de Julho & Docas/Alcantara


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.


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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.


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Outside the City


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.


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Anjos/Intendente


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.


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Cais do Sodré/Santos


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 weave through the city's undulating Monsanto Park before descending into the Restelo district of the Portuguese capital and onwards to 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.


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24 de Julho & Docas/Alcantara


Based out of Doca de Santo Amaro, the marina located under the 25th of April Bridge, this sightseeing sailing operation has garnered rave reviews for its tour programs. Morning, afternoon, and sunset cruises are offered by skipper Nigel and his crew. There's also a full day cruise option. Passengers can enjoy champagne and snacks while soaking in the sights on the River Tegus which, depending on the cruise, includes the former Expo zone at Parques das Nações, Lisbon's historic waterfront, and the collection of monuments at Belém. Day trips also take in Alcochete on the far side of the estuary where the Octonia, a 45 ft luxury yacht, anchors off a beach to allow everybody a chance to swim. Couples, families, and small groups of friends will find the relaxing pace of the cruises an ideal way of discovering the city's waterfront. And Nigel also hosts hen and stag parties.


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Sete Rios/Benfica


Year-round guided bird watching tours to the Tagus Estuary Nature Reserve (about a 30-minute drive from Lisbon) afford outdoors enthusiasts fabulous opportunities to see a variety of resident and migratory bird species that call the wetlands and saltpans south of the river home. Depending on the season and the location, expect to spy black tern, spoonbill, and flamingo. Iberian magpie and bee-eater are regularly spotted. If you're lucky, the great reed warbler will put in an appearance. Tours are also arranged further afield, to the Sado Estuary Nature Reserve, about a 50-minute drive south. Led by local expert ornithologists, both these options introduce visitors to the incredible array of wildlife to be found in and around the Lisbon area. As well a ticking off a prized checklist of feathered friends, you'll learn more about the environment and a fascinating ecosystem of mudflats, marshes, river islands, and agricultural land.


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Outside the City


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.


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Meet Paul Bernhardt

Paul Bernhardt cut his teeth as a press photographer in England before leaving the UK to settle in Portugal, where he has lived for over a decade, and where he started to focus on more...  More About Paul

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