The City of Setubal (Portuguese) is primarily a fishing and industrial city. It is located at the edge of a large estuary with abundant wildlife and the wonderful Arabida National Park. While there are not a lot of tourist attractions in the Port of Setubal, it has some beautiful beaches and a Mediterranean climate that make beach activities very popular. It is also very convenient to Lisbon.
The Port of Setubal has many pedestrian streets, gardens, and fascinating shops. Within the Mosterio de Jesus is the Museu de Setubal with many religious paintings and objects. The 16th Century Cathedral Santa Maria da Graca boasts wonderful tiles from the 18th Century, and the Gothic Igreja de Jesus has interior columns carved in pink stone taken from a nearby quarry. The 16th Century Castelo de Sao Felipe is now a beautiful luxury pousada (inn) where many tourists enjoy their stay.
The Museum of Archaeology and Ethnography of Setubal District contains archaeological treasures from the region and an interesting ethnographic collection. The collection encompasses the Paleolithic period to the Roman era and tells the story of the region’s first occupations: salt, fishing, agriculture, and religion. Seven exhibition halls are filled with information and objects related to the area’s past.
To the southwest of the Port of Setubal is the Arrabida Natural Park, located on the northern banks of the Sado River estuary and protecting vast mudflats, lagoons, and small pine forests. The park covers over 10 thousand hectares and contains the Arrabida Hills with Mediterranean-type vegetation and climate. Here, visitors can find two beaches that are very popular with people from Setubal and Lisbon. The Portinho da Arrabida beach is in a large cove and beach protected by a 300-meter tall slope with a small island off shore. On the slope is a 16th Century Franciscan Monastery that offers some of the most beautiful views to be found in Europe. Carefully restored, the monastery is now used as a study center. The natural park was seriously damaged by a 2004 fire, but it is recovering.