Just 35 kilometers south of Lisbon, Portugal’s Arbida region spans the municipalities of Palmela, Sesimbra and Setúbal and offers the perfect blend of natural beauty, rich culture and culinary delights. “Serra”, as the locals call it, ticks the boxes for those seeking both adventure and relaxation.

And located in the heart of this enchanting region Once upon a day, a premium destination management company that provides tailored travel experiences to luxury travelers worldwide. Here’s how you can immerse yourself in their services and the very best that Arrabida and the Setubal Peninsula has to offer.

Nature and adventure

Made up of spectacular landscapes, the Arbida Natural Park – with its mountains, valleys and dense forests – forms a pristine section of Portugal’s Atlantic coast. It’s the perfect setting for hiking, wildlife spotting and breathtaking scenic views – and an opportunity for visitors to connect deeply with nature.

Ocean enthusiasts won’t want to miss the Professor Luiz Saldanha Marine Park. This marine biodiversity sanctuary boasts crystal-clear waters teeming with rich marine life – a vibrant underwater ecosystem perfect for snorkeling or diving.

Likewise, the Sado Estuary Natural Reserve, where the Sado River meets the Atlantic, is home to a variety of coastal flora and fauna. Those who want a bit of adventure can kayak from the river banks or take a dolphin watching tour.


By visiting the Setúbal Peninsula, you are in a region famous for its Moscatel de Setúbal wine, produced in nearly 40 boutique wineries. You can visit these for tours and tastings, but, even better, immerse yourself in participating in the grape harvest. The lush vineyards provide the perfect opportunity to learn about the complex winemaking process and taste some of Portugal’s best wines.

But for an exceptional gastronomic experience, don’t miss one of the best food markets in the world – Mercado do Livramento. Taste the region’s freshest produce, talk to farmers and hear stories from local fishermen while tasting oysters. This lively hub of activity represents the essence of Portuguese culinary traditions.

The Arabida region is also famous for its artisanal cheeses, especially the delicious Quejo de Azitao Pido (a semi-soft cheese made from raw sheep’s milk). There is the opportunity to attend workshops, learn about regional cuisines and gain a deeper understanding of Portuguese culinary heritage through a variety of interactive experiences.

Arts and Culture

The Arrabida and Setubal peninsulas are dotted with historical monuments and museums and are perhaps most notable for their traditional crafts. Small tile factories invite visitors to explore the history of Portuguese tiles, from its Muslim origins to the modern-day acclaim it now holds. Take the opportunity to create your own piece in a traditional workshop, experience this ancient art form.

In the historic city of Setúbal, itself shaped by Romans, Visigoths, Muslims and more, you can’t help but notice the architecture and customs. Every corner of the city tells a story, from majestic churches to bustling squares. Take some time to meet local artisans and attend traditional parties or workshops to get a more intimate connection with the region’s heritage. This is an opportunity for tourists to truly immerse themselves in the local lifestyle.

body and soul

Arrábida provides the perfect backdrop for some rejuvenation. Practicing yoga or pilates amidst the tranquility of a natural park or on a quiet beach will make you feel at one with the environment, whether it’s the gentle sounds of lapping waves or rustling of leaves in the forest. A unique program of massage and detox programs provide the perfect ingredients for mindfulness and inner peace. These unique sensory experiences can be combined with physical exercise, such as a healthy walk through nature, to achieve holistic well-being and balance between body and mind.

Why Choose Once Upon A Day?

Born and raised in the region, the team at Once Upon a Day has an intimate knowledge of Arabida’s tourist attractions and local culture. Partners are selected based on their service excellence and sustainable practices, while experiences are tailored to each visitor’s needs, ensuring more personalized and memorable adventures. This expertise ensures a high standard of tourism that respects and preserves the region’s natural and cultural heritage. And the team’s own dedication to excellence means that every moment of your time in Arbida and the Setubal Peninsula is planned and executed.

Disclosure: This post is sponsored by Once upon a day.

Paul Johnson

Paul Johnson is the editor of the Luxury Travel Blog and has worked in the travel industry for over 30 years. He is the winner of the Innovation in Travel ‘Best Travel Influencer’ award from WIRED Magazine. The blog has also been voted “one of the world’s best travel blogs” and “best luxury” by The Daily Telegraph, among other awards.

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