If you are looking to take a break from the hustle and bustle of city life, Azenhas do Mar is a great destination for you. Nestled between the ocean and the mountains, this small town has a heavenly location. But that privileged position is not the only thing that makes Azenhas do Mar magical. The rarity of the location stems from the fact that it has incredible beaches decked with white houses and magnificent sets of pools dug into the cliffs way back in 50s.
Located on a cliff off the coast of Lisbon, near Sintra, Azenhas do Mar is among the most appreciated and exciting beaches in Europe. Because of the amazing views that it offers, it remains a popular tourist destination in both winter and summer. It gives you a chance to admire the great Atlantic Ocean in its entire splendor.
How do I get to Azenhas do Mar?
Azenhas do Mar is a small seaside town found in the Sintra Municipality. It is just 30 km from Lisbon. To get to Azenhas do Mar, take a train playing the Lisbon-Sintra route. Just opposite the train station in Sintra, there is a bus terminal. Board bus number 441 or 440 as all of them will get you to Azenhas. It will take you roughly 35 minutes to reach Azenhas do Mar by bus.
Note that there are just seven buses playing that route per day. If you are visiting between April and September, you can choose to walk from Sintra train station to the tram station and this takes you rougly about 10 minutes. After that, board a tram to Praia adas Macas which takes roughly 50 minutes. When in Praia, you can take a bus (441/440), walk or even board a taxi to Azenhas do Mar. It's that simple.
What can I do in Azenhas do Mar? What can I do in Sintra?
The one thing that is most attractive about Azenhas do Mar is the spectacular views of the Atlantic Ocean that it offers visitors all year round. But that’s not all. Rain, shine or cold, there is still the mountain and hence the sea and the river.
You can visit the Pena National Palace in Sintra (Palácio Pena). The palace is located on the top of a hill above the town and is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Two other palaces are Monserrate and Seteais. Cabo da Roca is another attraction you should visit. It is a beautiful cape with a view to the Atlantic Ocean. Quinta da Regaleira is another UNESCO World Heritage Site. It is a spraling estate also known as "The Palace of Monteiro the Millionaire" and is considered one of the principal tourist attractions of Sintra. Some people insist that having dinner at restaurant Azenhas do Mar, yes same name as the village, while watching the sun set, is an ideal way to end the evening.
Is it expensive? What's the cost of things there? Azenhas does not have the greatest number of must-see attractions, but it is charming as well as a great travel bargain compared to other places in Europe. You will find that hostels and hotels are very affordable. Also, you can easily find bargains especially outside peak summer months.
The majority of attractions here are either free or reasonably priced. Considering the European standards, foods and drinks are quite cheap. You will find good wines and local dishes at modest prices. The average cost of a dinner for two people is 30 Euros. A bottle of beer costs 1.5 Euros at a mid range restaurant.
Accommodation is fairly cheap starting from $17 a night, but can be as high as $142 a night. The average cost of a double room is $56 per person, but you can also find a double room for $24 pp., surf lessons cost $28 an hour.
What is the food scene like in Azenhas do Mar? Visiting Azenhas do Mars gives you a chance to sample the finest Portuguese cuisine. There is a never-ending array of algae and seafood as starters. Starters include baby lobsters and oysters, clams, cadelinhas and barnacles.
Specialties include cod fish, shrimp curry, wreck fish and seafood in garlic and bread soup.
Desserts include delicious chocolate cake, passion fruit mousse or apple pie.
Is it easy to move around in Azenhas do Mar? Getting around in Azenhas do Mar couldn’t be easier. If you want to be completely in charge of your day, just go for a car rental. You can also hail a taxi or use public transportation to get around Azenhas. Whenever you can, opt for car rentals. This gives you an opportunity to explore Azenhas at your own pace. Also, they are cheap so you don’t have to break the bank. You can also get a scooter for around Euro 40 per day.
Portugal! They must have wine Right! What should I look out for? Portugal is renowned for its fine wines. In fact, Azenhas do Mar is closely related to traditional production of Colares wine. These are planted as deep as 10 meters below the ground since it is at that depth that there is clay soil suitable for growing wine.
There are many wine bars in Azenhas. Restaurants also offer great wine at inexpensive prices. Recently, ethnic restaurants have grown in popularity here. You can even take a wine tour if you like!
Magic meets mystery
Azenhas do Mar, found in Sintra municipality, is a picture-perfect village located by the Atlantic Ocean. With its picturesque white houses that balance on the cliff, it is one of the best destinations away from the busy town life. Active both in winter and summer, it is arguably one of the most breathtaking places you will ever visit. Most importantly, it is fairly cheap. The foods, car rentals, accommodation and beer is unusually affordable. It has the most hospitable people in the world and great hotels. Azenhas do Mar is where magic meets mystery.
For more information about Azenhas do Mar/Sintra, go to VisitPortugal.com
StLucianow.com is the official tourism website for Portugal.
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