The best independent guide to Lisbon
The best independent guide to Lisbon
The Costa da Caparica is the beautiful, sandy coastline that extends along the western side of the Setubal Peninsula.
The largest town of the region is also named Costa da Caparica and lies to the north of the 25km coastline. The town of Costa da Caparica is a modern and lively holiday destination, that boasts a glorious, sandy beach with powerful waves that are suitable for surfing.
The coastline becomes more tranquil as you head southwards, encompassing the pretty village of Fonte Telha and the picturesque lagoon at Lagoa de Albufeira.
The town of Costa da Caparica is connected to Lisbon by regular and inexpensive bus services, but the central and southern sections of the coastline have almost no public transport. To get the most from this beautiful region, a car will be needed.
This article will detail how to travel from Lisbon to Costa Da Caparica.
Related articles: Costa da Caparica guide
The town of Costa Da Caparica has many fantastic beaches, such as the Praia da Cornélia
The town of Costa da Caparica is located 10km to the south-west of Lisbon, with the route crossing the Tejo River by the 25 de Abril suspension bridge. This relatively short journey and good public transport links mean that the northern beaches of the Costa da Caparica are very popular during the summer season.
Insight: The majority of tourists who are based in Lisbon and want to spend a day on the beach head to the Cascais/Estoril coastline (to the west of Lisbon), but the Costa da Caparica is equally as good for a beach trip.
The main bus route connecting Lisbon to Costa da Caparica town is the number 3710 service, operated by Carris Metropolitana. The bus departs from Areeiro in Lisbon and terminates in Costa da Caparica bus station. There is a second and less frequent service (route 3709) that departs from the Marquês de Pombal plaza. Both services take 55 minutes and cost €2.60.
An alternative is to catch the ferry from Cais do Sodré to Cacilhas, then take the bus from Cacilhas to Costa da Caparica. This route may sound longer, but the ferry ride is short (10min), and there are many departures per hour. The ferry takes about the same time as catching the metro to Areeiro. Once at Cacilhas, there are two bus services (3022 and 3011) taking 45min or 35min to travel to Costa da Caparica.
Insight: All bus services south of Lisbon and in the metropolitan area are operated by Carris Metropolitana. This changed from Transportes Sul do Tejo (TST) buses in 2022, but TST may still be mentioned in some outdated tourist guides.
The official website for Carris Metropolitana is: https://carrismetropolitana.pt
Insight: A mini train used to travel down the Costa da Caparica coastline to Fonte da Telha, and was a great way to travel to the much quieter beaches of the region. Unfortunately, this train was cancelled in 2020, and now only the infrequent 3030 bus service serves the coastline between Fonte da Telha and Costa da Caparica.
Fishing boats are launched from the beach and use traditional techniques where the catch is drawn directly onto the beach
The 3710 bus service is the main route from Lisbon to Costa da Caparica, and is the recommended route - unless you want to take the ferry to Cacilhas.
This is the most frequent bus service between Lisbon and the town of Costa da Caparica, with at least two departures every hour, increasing to every 15 minutes during peak times. The latest timetable can be seen on the Carris Metropolitana website:
Advice: On the above webpage, adjust the box marked ‘Sentido’ to change the direction of travel (Lisbon-Costa da Caparica or Costa da Caparica-Lisbon).
The 3710 route is classed as a ‘Linha Longa’, and a single ticket costs €2.60. The journey should take 55 minutes, but can be longer depending on traffic around the 25 de Abril bridge.
The bus departs from the Avenida Padre Manuel Nóbrega, which is just to the north of the Areeiro plaza (the Praca Francisco Sa Carneiro). Areeiro is served by the green metro line. Below is an interactive view of the Avenida Padre Manuel Nóbrega, as seen on Google Street view:
Insight: The departure location of the 3710 service moved to Areeiro in February 2023, after temporarily (for 4 years!) departing from Sete Rios bus station.
The bus route also stops at Campo Pequeno and Alcantara-Terra, but it is advisable to board the bus at the start of the route at Areeiro to ensure you have a seat. This bus service can get very busy during the summer months, especially if passengers are taking surf boards to the beach.
Tourist advice: When riding the bus to Costa da Caparica, it is advisable to sit on the driver’s side, as this will provide the best views when crossing the Ponte 25 de Abril bridge.
In Costa da Caparica, the 3710 bus route terminates at the ‘Terminal da Costa da Caparica’ (GPS 38.640394, -9.230266). This bus station is to the south of the town centre and a 300m walk to the beach. Most passengers get off at the ‘Avenida Aresta Branco Mercado’ bus stop, which is closer to the town centre.
Terminal da Costa da Caparica
The 3709 is a much less frequent bus service to Costa da Caparica, but it departs from the Marquês de Pombal plaza. This may be of use if it is close to your accommodation, as it removes the hassle of travelling to Areeiro.
The problem with this service is that there are no departures at the weekends or on public holidays. The latest timetable can be seen on the Carris Metropolitana website:
The bus fare is the same as the 3710 route, costing €2.60, and takes an almost identical time of 55 minutes.
The Marquês de Pombal
As impractical as it sounds, catching the ferry to Cacilhas and then taking the express bus to Costa da Caparica can be faster and less hassle than the metro/3710 bus option. If you are based in the tourist areas of Lisbon (such as Baixa or Barrio Alto), then the ferry and bus route is often a better option.
The ferry to Cacilhas departs from the Cais do Sodre ferry terminal, which is part of the larger Cais do Sodre metro/train station. The ferry journey costs €1.40 and is only a 10-minute crossing, which passes close to the 25 de Abril bridge.
The ferry from Lisbon to Cacilhas
Cacilhas is a major transport hub for the southern side of Lisbon, with tram, bus and ferry connections. There are two bus services from Cacilhas to Costa da Caparica; the 3022 service (taking 45 minutes and departing every 30 minutes) or the less frequent 3011 express route (taking 35min but with hourly departures). Both bus services cost €2.60.
If you wish to travel to Fonte da Telha, the 3012 from Cacilhas provides a direct route. The timetables for all can be seen on the Carris Metropolitana website:
• 3022 - www.carris
• 3011 - www.carris
• 3012 - www.carris
Cacilhas bus station is also the departure location for the bus to the Cristo Rei statue, with its amazing views over the Tejo River and suspension 25 de Abril bridge. The 3001 bus has hourly departures to the statue, which makes for an enjoyable side excursion before heading to Costa da Caparica.
If you find yourself waiting at Cacilhas bus station, do include a visit to the magnificent Dom Fernando II e Glóiria, Portugal’s last sail-powered ship. This impressive ship has been beautifully restored, and its interior can be seen for just €4.
The Dom Fernando II e Glóiria
Due to the lack of public transport in the centre or southern sections of the Costa da Caparica, a car is needed to explore this region. If you have a car, we highly recommend visiting the pristine lagoon at Lagoa de Albufeira, or the beaches of Praia da Rainha and Praia do Meco.
Insight: The picturesque beaches of the Portinho da Arrábida get incredibly crowded in the summer, and it can be impossible to find car parking. The southern and central areas of the Costa da Caparica are much quieter and better for a day on the beach.
The Ponte 25 de Abril bridge is a toll bridge, and this is paid on heading north into Lisbon. There is no toll when heading south out of the city.
At rush hour, as well as evenings at the weekend (when everyone is returning from the beach), this toll station becomes a major bottleneck and there can be horrendous traffic. If you are visiting the beach at the weekend, our advice is to have dinner at the Costa da Caparica and return after 7pm when there is less traffic.
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