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 entire 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 24km coastline. Costa da Caparica is a modern and lively and resort town, which boasts a glorious sandy beach and decent surfing waves.
There are regular bus services between Lisbon and the town of Costa da Caparica, but there are no direct bus services to the villages south of the region such as Fonte da Telha, Lagoa de Albufeira or Meco.
This guide will detail how best to travel from Lisbon to the Costa Da Caparica.
Related articles: Costa da Caparica guide
The Praia da Cornélia is only a short walk from the centre of Costa Da Caparica
The town of Costa da Caparica is located 10km to the south-west of central Lisbon, and the route crosses the Tejo Estuary via the Ponte de Abril suspension bridge. This relatively short journey means that the northern beaches and town are very popular during the summer months.
The main bus route from Lisbon to the town of Costa da Caparica is the number 161 service, which is operated by Transportes Sul do Tejo (TST). This bus service departs from the Praça Areeiro in Lisbon and terminates in the bus station in Costa da Caparica.
There are two other lesser bus routes; the 153 that departs from outside Sete Rios bus station and the seasonal weekday 155 route that departs from the Marquês Pombal plaza.
An alternative method of travel is to cross by ferry to Cacilhas and then catch the bus (135 or 124 routes) from Cacilhas to Costa da Caparica. Cacilhas is a major bus terminal for the southern side of the Tejo Estuary, and this is where the bus to Fonte da Telha departs from.
Advice: For most journeys to the town of Costa da Caparica, plan to catch the 161 service.
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 it is very difficult to explore the central and southern Costa da Caparica coastline by public transport.
Fishing boats are launched from the beach and employ traditional techniques where the catch is drawn directly onto the beach
The most frequent bus service from Lisbon to Costa da Caparica town is the 161 route operated by Transportes Sul do Tejo (TST). The bus service departs from the Praça do Areeiro, which is connected by the green metro line.
There are at least two departures of the 161 bus per hour, with services starting early in the day and continuing into the night (last departure 21:15 from Costa da Caparica). For the exact timetable, please see the TST website: www.tsuldotejo.pt
The journey takes 45 minutes but can take much longer due to traffic. A single ticket costs €3.20 and is purchased from the driver. TST buses do not use the Viva Viagem card system, as with the rest of public transport in Lisbon.
The bus to Costa da Caparica crosses the Ponte de Abril suspension bridge
The main issue with the 161 bus service is the departure location, in the Praça do Areeiro. Praça do Areeiro is a busy plaza, with the junction of two of Lisbon’s main avenues, and the TST bus stop is off down one of the side streets.
The actual bus stop (GPS 38.743672, -9.133839) is on the Avenida Padre Manuel da Nóbrega, 120m from the central roundabout. Fortunately, Google maps now has the bus stop marked as “TST 161 bus to Costa de Caparica.”
Advice: Do leave yourself enough time to locate the bus stop, as it is very easy to get lost when exiting from the metro…
Insight: The 161 bus service is commonly delayed due to heavy traffic in Lisbon or when crossing the Ponte de Abril bridge. These delays can be longer than 20 minutes.
The 161 bus also stops in the Alcântara district on the Avenida de Ceuta (GPS 38.708290, -9.173997). This bus stop is not convenient for most tourists as it is not served by the metro or close to the historic centre of Lisbon. If you did want to join the bus here, the best means of travel is the number 15 tram.
As impractical as it sounds, catching the ferry to Cacilhas and then taking the express bus to Coast da Caparica, can be faster and less hassle than the metro/161 bus option.
The ferry to Cacilhas departs from the Cais do Sodre ferry terminal, and this is part of the larger Cais do Sodre metro/train station. Cais do Sodre is the final station on the green metro line and departure location for trains to Cascais and Estoril.
The Cacilhas ferry service is an important commuter route, and there are many departures (up to 8 per hour). A single ferry ticket costs €1.30 and is charged to the Viva Viagem public transport ticket.
Related article: Lisbon ferry guide
The Lisbon ferry
Once across the estuary, the ferry terminal of Cacilhas is connected to the bus station and is just beyond the tram station. From Cacilhas to Costa da Caparica there are two bus services; the frequent 124 service (40min journey) or the 135 express service (20min journey), which departs every hour.
If you wish to travel to Fonte Telha, the 127 and 145 routes provide a regular and direct service. The latest timetables are displayed at each of the bus stops, or can be seen on the TST website: www.tsuldotejo.pt
Advice: Cacilhas bus station is also the departure location for the bus to the Cristo Rei statue, with its amazing views over the Tejo estuary and suspension bridge. The 101 bus has many departures per hour to the statue, which makes for an enjoyable side excursion before heading to Costa da Caparica and the beach.
Related article: Cristo Rei guide
If you find yourself waiting at Cacilhas bus station, take a short trip to the magnificent Fernando II Gloria, Portugal’s last sail-powered ship, located just south of the bus station. The impressive ship has been beautifully restored and is open Tuesday-Friday 10am-5pm, and the entrance fee is €4.00.
The Fernando II Gloria
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 beaches at Praia da Rainha and Praia do Meco.
Insight: The picturesque beaches of the Portinho da Arrábida get incredibly crowded in the summer, and it is 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 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 Lisbon.
At rush hour and in the 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 the traffic is less.
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