For travellers, the best way to get to Sesimbra is to take a Taxi on the arrivals terminal at Lisbon airport (costing around 50€ - 60€). There is also a Taxi Voucher sold at the airport’s arrivals terminal Tourism Bureau (working hours: 07 am - 24 pm). The fixed price to Sesimbra during the day/weekdays is 55.53€ and during nighttime/weekends 66.64€. Alternatively, you can hire a car and take the motorway heading South trough Vasco da Gama Bridge (A12) or 25 de Abril Bridge (A2). Then follow the road signs to Setúbal and then to Sesimbra.
Further information on transport from Lisbon Airport
DET 2006 Conference will be held at Hotel do Mar, in Sesimbra. This village is a seaside resort situated in Setubal’s region, and stands at approximately 40 km south of Lisbon (Lisbon Airport) and about 15 km west of Setúbal city.
Hans Christian Andersen, who visited the region in 1834, described Setúbal as a "terrestrial paradise". The untouched city evolved steadily from the 19th century until it became the 3rd largest port in the country and a major industrial centre in the mid 20th century, particularly in the 1960’s and 1970’s. From shipbuilding to fish canning, production of fertilizers, cement, seafood and oysters cultivation, salt production, and a variety of wines including a superb Muscatel (made from a type of grape, with the same name, typical in this region) to fishing and tourism, Setúbal has a lot to offer. Located only about 40 km south of the capital (Lisbon), Setúbal is situated on a beautiful estuary (the river Sado estuary), today a Nature Reserve, between Tróia Bay (an ancient Roman settlement) and Arrábida Natural Park. This estuary is considered a dolphin sanctuary and great awareness and efforts exist in order to create sustainable development that fully respects its natural endowments. River Sado Estuary (1.04 MB)
A local legend states that Setúbal was founded by Tubal, son of Cain. Although such remote and biblical origins are not credible, archaeology has revealed plentiful evidence from prehistoric times, along with many traces of Phoenician and Greek passages. There are even more remains from Roman times the Sado Estuary was the location of the famous town of Cetóbriga (situated across the river from Setúbal on the Troia Peninsula) and an important fishing port. The potential of its natural harbour certainly determined how and why this region has been continuously chosen for human settlement throughout time from the Mesolithic era up to the present day. Many of these archaeological sites can nowadays be visited and are frequently undergoing excavations. Troia Peninsula (928.87 kB)
The city’s most important monument is the old Monastic Church of Jesus (Igreja de Jesus) dating back to 1491. Built in Manueline style (estilo Manuelino - style from the discoveries era, when the King D. Manuel I was the lord of the spices route), according to the plans of one of the king’s best architects, Diogo Boytac. It mixes late Gothic structures, Renaissance principles, and an exotic decoration of twisted columns, ropes and other navigation and/or festive symbols. Later during the 18th century an internal decoration of tiles was added. Attached to the church/convent is the Town Museum (Museu da Cidade) where we can find many treasures from old times, including religious paintings, examples of the goldsmith’s crafts, etc. Church of Jesus (667.45 kB)
Another church from roughly the same period (1513) and style is São Julião (St. Julian) church with a beautiful Manueline doorway. The inside walls are also decorated with large tile panels from the 18th century portraying scenes from São Julião’s life. São Julião Church (1.38 MB)
It is worthwhile visiting the Ethnographic Museum (Museu Etnográfico) dedicated to the region’s main economic activities.
Students of life will be fascinated by a visit to the lively Lota, which is the Fish Auction that takes place every morning by the quay side. This fresh fish and seafood is then redirected to the country’s best restaurants, hotels, and markets, including many in Setúbal where you can taste them daily. Lota (1.21 MB)
Throughout the centuries, Sesimbra has been a small port with an intense fishing activity. On the sea front, west of Setubal Bay and the Sado estuary, the village is a lovely place with hilltops all around. Sesimbra remains a fishing village and nowadays is mainly a popular weekend/holiday resort, with remarkably picturesque sights. If you get up early in the morning, you will see the fishermen mending their nets on the town’s beach. Traces of an old way of living and tradition remain intertwined with today’s leisure activities offered to the weekenders and holidaymakers in bars and restaurants.
Sesimbra has an excellent swimming beach, with clear and calm waters, and an endless row of cafe-restaurants along the beach road, each with an outdoor charcoal-grill wafting fine culinary aromas across the town. An easygoing environment and relaxed way of living are what you can expect to find while you are here.
Above the town, on the top of a hill, the Castle (or Castle walls) is of Moorish origins, although it has been entirely rebuilt since that time. In 1165 D. Afonso Henriques (the 1st King of Portugal) captured it, but later that century (1191) the Moors razed the structure. In the following century (13th century) the fortress was recaptured and restored by the new Christian kings. Inside the walls there are remains of an old Romanesque church, Santa Maria, and of the old town hall. In 1236 Sesimbra was donated to the military and religious Ordem de Santiago (Knights of the Order of Saint James) who took in hand the defence, economic exploitation and ruling of the region. In 1323 Kind D. Dinis conferred upon Sesimbra the status of "town". During the following centuries (15th, 16th, and 17th) as the overseas discoveries progressed and new faraway territories where incorporated in the Portuguese empire, Sesimbra became an important shipping and fishing centre. Sesimbra’s Castle (17.9 kB)
Downtown you can visit the 17th century Saint James’s Fortress (Forte de Santiago) that splits the beach in two, the 16th century Church of the Mother (Igreja da Mãe) in Manueline style on the street called Rua de João de Deus, the Town Museum (Museu Municipal), mainly dedicated to seafaring activities, and the Forte do Cavalo at the top end of the bay where everyone can try their hand at sea fishing.