The best independent guide to Lisbon
The best independent guide to Lisbon
Surrounding Lisbon are some of Portugal's finest beaches, and during the summer, a trip to the beach is a wonderful addition to your holiday.
The beaches of the Lisbon region extend along four very different coastlines, and range from wild surfing beaches, through to calm family-oriented beaches and charming resort towns.
The close proximity of Lisbon to beautiful beaches is not well publicised, and few visitors realise that a holiday to Lisbon can combine the delights of a city break with the relaxation of a beach holiday. Many of Lisbon's beaches can be easily reached using public transport, which makes them ideal for a day trip while based in the city.
This guide will provide an introduction to Lisbon's beaches, highlight the best beaches and provide links to further detailed information.
Related articles: Lisbon introduction – Secret Lisbon – 1 week in Lisbon
The following map shows the location of the top ten beaches in the Lisbon region.
The yellow markers display the top 10 beaches easily accessible from Lisbon by public transport, and are all highly recommended for your beach day trip. The green markers show the more remote and beautiful beaches of the region, but often need a rental car to travel to them.
The popular beaches are: 1) Praia de Carcavelos 2) Praia da Conceição 3) Costa da Caparica 4) Praia do Tamariz 5) Praia de São Pedro do Estoril 6) Praia da Torre 7) Santo Amaro de Oeiras 8) Praia Velha 9) Praia de Paço de Arcos 10) Praia da Rainha
The best lesser known beaches are: 1) Praia do Creiro 2) Lagoa de Albufeira 3) Praia do Guincho 4) Praia da Ursa 5) Península de Troia 6) Praia das Maçãs7) Praia da Adraga 8) Praia do Meco 9) Praia da Figueirinha 10) Fonte da Telha
Let’s keep it simple......
If you are wanting for a beach day trip from Lisbon, then head to the Praia de Carcavelos (1), the Praia de Santo Amaro de Oeiras (7) or the Praia da Conceição (2).
These beaches are very easy to travel to and are all connected by the regular Lisbon to Cascais railway, which departs from the Cais do Sodré train station. The beaches are beautiful, with vast expanses of golden sands, clean sea waters and excellent tourist facilities, making them ideal for children and adults of all ages.
There are four very different coastlines close to Lisbon; the Oeiras-Estoril-Cascais coastline, the Costa da Caparica, the Serra de Sintra coastline and the Serra da Arrábida.
The Oeiras-Estoril-Cascais Coastline
The Oeiras-Estoril-Cascais coastline extends to the west of Lisbon and offers sandy beaches, calm sea waters and characterful resort towns. This is the coastline where most tourists will head to for a day on the beach, and the beautiful beaches will appeal to the majority of visitors.
The Oeiras-Estoril-Cascais region is served by a regular train service, and this makes all of the beaches easily accessible from central Lisbon. The only downside is that these beaches can get very crowded during the summer.
The Praia de Carcavelos is the largest and most popular beach of the region, while the Praia de Santo Amaro de Oeiras and Praia Sao Pedro are also highly recommended.
The historic town of Cascais, situated at the end of the railway, is a fantastic destination for a beach-based holiday and has the pretty Praia da Conceição beach. Close to Cascais is Estoril, another popular holiday destination which is famed for its casino, and lines Praia do Tamariz beach.
Related articles: Cascais guide - Cascais beach guide - Estoril guide
The Costa da Caparica
The Costa da Caparica coastline is to the south of Lisbon, and extends along the entire western side of the Setubal Peninsular. This coastline comprises a single 23km continuous stretch beach, and the region offers beautiful beaches, outstanding surfing, and a trendy nightlife beach-bar scene.
At the northern end of the coastline is the modern and lively resort town of Costa da Caparica, while further to the south are pristine beaches and countryside, protected from development by the Arriba Fóssil nature preserve.
Halfway along the coastline is a tranquil lagoon, the Lagoa de Albufeira, which provides sheltered and calm waters, along with a beautiful natural setting. Fonte da Telha is a traditional fishing village, with a distinctly Portuguese atmosphere, and is a calmer option than the town of Costa da Caparica.
The southern end of the Costa da Caparica coastline provides some of the quietest beaches of the entire Lisbon region. This area includes the Praia do Meco, Portugal's original nudist beach.
Advice: There are regular bus services from Lisbon to the town of Costa da Caparica, but a car is needed to visit Fonte da Telha, Lagoa de Albufeira or the deserted southern beaches.
Related articles: Costa da Caparica - Fonte da Telha - Lagoa de Albufeira - Praia do Meco
The Serra de Sintra Coastline
The Serra de Sintra coastline lies to the north of Cascais, and is formed of jagged cliffs, vast beaches, and dramatic natural scenery. The wild and windswept coastline is exposed to the ferocity of the Atlantic Ocean and is ideal for outdoor activities such as surfing, hiking or simply admiring the stunning natural scenery.
The Serra de Sintra coastline lies within the Parque Natural de Sintra-Cascais, and this has protected the beautiful natural scenery. The most famous beach of the region is the Praia do Guincho, a wonderful surfing and kitesurfing beach, while the Praia da Ursa and Praia da Adraga exemplify the region's spectacular scenery.
Further north are the charming beach towns of Praia das Maçãs and Azenhas do Mar, and the popular surfing beach of Praia Grande. There is very limited public transport within the Serra de Sintra and a car is needed to travel to the beaches.
Insider tip: While exploring the region do visit the Cabo da Roca, the most westerly point of mainland Europe.
Related articles: Praia do Guincho - Praia das Maçãs - Cabo da Roca
Serra da Arrábida Coastline
The Serra da Arrábida coastline is situated on the southern side of the Setubal Peninsula between the towns of Sesimbra and Setubal.
The beaches of the Serra da Arrábida are some of the most picturesque beaches in Portugal, with soft golden sands, turquoise sea waters, and surrounded by hills of the Serra da Arrábida. These idyllic beaches include the Praia do Creiro, the Praia da Figueirinha and Praia de Galápos.
Advice: The Serra da Arrábida beaches may be beautiful, but they have very limited car parking, and are almost impossible to visit by midmorning during the summer season. If there is no parking head to the Lagoa de Albufeira or Praia do Meco for quieter options.
The main resort town of the Serra da Arrábida region is Sesimbra and is a popular holiday destination for the Portuguese. Setubal is the other major city of the region and is a historic port, which makes for an enjoyable day trip but is not a beach destination.
South of Setubal are the paradise beaches of the Tróia Peninsula, but these are too far to travel from Lisbon for a beach day trip.
Related articles: Serra da Arrábida - Sesimbra guide – Setubal Guide
The weather in Lisbon is suitable for spending time on the beach from May through to the end of September, and the beaches will be at their busiest from July to August. At the weekends during the summer months, it can feel as if the entire population of Lisbon has moved to the beach, and it is often better to visit during the working week (Mon-Fri).
The weather of Lisbon
The waters surrounding the Lisbon coastline are surprisingly cold, even at the height of the summer, when the water temperature only reach a maximum of 18C. If you plan to be in the water for extended periods, it is advisable to bring or hire a wetsuit.
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