The best guide to the Costa da Caparica
The best guide to the Costa da Caparica
The Costa da Caparica is the stunning 26km coastline of glorious sandy beaches, powerful Atlantic waves and beautiful natural scenery, that extends along the western side of the Setubal Peninsula.
The Costa da Caparica coastline faces the might of the Atlantic Ocean, and onto the wide, sandy beaches powerful waves break, making it ideal for surfing and kitesurfing. From these beaches, fishermen employ traditional Xávega fishing techniques (by hauling the nets on to the beach) and with catches ladened with sardines.
During the summer the Portuguese flock to the beautiful beaches of the region, and there is a buzz about the town of Costa da Caparica, while late at night beach parties are hosted at secluded beach bars.
Most foreign tourists head to the beaches of the Cascais-Estoril coastline, but the Costa da Caparica is as equally enjoyable for a day on the beach.
This guide will provide an introduction to Costa da Caparica region and the town of Costa da Caparica.
Related articles: Lisbon beach guide - Cascais guide
Costa da Caparica’s best beaches: 1) Praia de São João 2) Praia da Saúde 3) Praia da Mata 4) Praia da Rainha 5) Cabana do Pescador 6) Praia do Rei 7) Praia da Bela Vista 8) Praia 19 9) Praia da Fonte da Telha 10) Praia da Lagoa de Albufeira 11) Praia do Meco
Sights of the Costa da Caparica: 1) Costa da Caparica (town), 2) Fonte da Telha, 3) Lagoa de Albufeira 4) Cabo Espichel 5) Convento dos Capuchos 6) Aroeira golf course
Insight: Generally, the further south you travel along the Costa da Caparica coastline, the quieter and more picturesque the beaches are.
Costa da Caparica town is a favourite with the Portuguese, who either own holiday homes here or visit as a day trip from Lisbon. Within the town are many excellent and inexpensive restaurants cafes and beach bars, and in the summer there is a lively holiday atmosphere about the region.
As Costa da Caparica is a modern town, it lacks any Portuguese charm or unique identity as with Cascais or Sesimbra, the other main resort towns of the Lisbon region. A holiday or day trip to Costa da Caparica will primarily focused on the beach and sea (for surfing), with the town and setting unimportant.
There are regular bus services connecting Lisbon to Costa da Caparica town, and guide to the bus service is here.
The real magic and beauty of the Costa da Caparica is when you have a car and explore further south. You don’t even have to travel that far, by the Praia da Saúde (1.7km south of the town) the beach is surrounded by rolling sand dunes and pretty beach huts.
Fonte da Telha lies at the middle of the Costa da Caparica coastline. This village with its low-key ambience and proud fishing heritage, makes for much better beach trip than soulless Costa da Caparica town. There is a wide sandy beach, and the strong sea-breezes make this area popular for kitesurfing
The pretty village of Lagoa de Albufeira sits on the edge of a tranquil lagoon and is surrounded by pine forests. The beach at Lagoa de Albufeira is unique as it offers dual aspect, with a sheltered side facing the lagoon and a more exposed side facing the sea.
The Praia do Meco beach, covering the southerly section of coastline, is infamous with the Portuguese as it was the first nudist beach in the country. Today the nudist section and family-friendly part are clearly segregated, and Meco is another good option for a day on the beach.
At the southern tip of the Costa da Caparica coastline is the Cabo Espichel headland, an area of towering cliffs, raging seas and dramatic windswept scenery.
Related articles: Lagoa de Albufeira – Cabo Espichel headland - Fonte da Telha - Praia do Meco
Insight: A mini-train used to connect the town of Costa da Caparica with Fonte da Telha and served all of the beaches along the line. Sadly, the mini train was abandoned in 2020, and now there is no public transport to travel to the beaches south of Costa da Caparica town.
The main draw of the region is the beach and there are only a handful of other sights or attractions in the region.
The Convento dos Capuchos is a 16th-century monastery high on the cliffs above the town of Costa da Caparica, which has a wonderful viewpoint over the region.
There is a hiking trail that extends along the length of the coastline, and a popular section is from Fonte da Telha to Lagoa de Albufeira.
The marshes inland from the Lagoa de Albufeira (known as the Lagoa da Estacada) are a popular for bird watching.
The beach parties hosted at the remote beach bars – the trendiest venue and schedule always change (especially with the events of 2020). To find the best parties chat to bar or waiting staff at the beach bars and cafes, as insider local knowledge is always the best.
For golf, there are the two championship rate courses at Clube de Campo Golfe Aroeira, unimaginatively called Aroeira I and Aroeira II. Aroeira I plays through the pine forests whereas Aroeira II is flatter and open, both courses are managed by Orizonte Lisbon Golf: https://www.orizontegolf.com/
The town of Costa da Caparica can make for an enjoyable, if alternative, holiday destination. The town has excellent tourist facilities and offers a good selection of hotels or self-catering accommodation while the town centre is crammed with restaurants, bars and shops.
For the intrepid visitor, there is a range of interesting day trips that could include Lisbon, Sesimbra, Setubal or simply hiking around the Arriba Fóssil da Costa coastline. For families, the Costa da Caparica is a traditional Portuguese family holiday destination where children will be welcomed everywhere.
The map below shows the location of the best hotels on the Costa da Caparica, if you set the dates to your holiday it will show current prices and availability:
The average weather of Costa da Caparica
Discover more of Lisbon with our guides