The best independent guide to Lisbon
The best independent guide to Lisbon
The Praia da Torre is a gorgeous sandy beach that is situated on the beautiful Lisbon coastline. Torre beach has a magnificent setting, as on the western side is the imposing Forte de São Julião da Barra, a colossal 16th-century coastal defence.
The Praia da Torre boasts soft golden sands, clean and safe seawaters, along with great amenities (shops, bars & restaurants) that are only a short walk away. The beach is safe for families, and the ocean swimming pool (Piscina Oceânica de Oeiras) close by means this area is popular with Portuguese families.
Torre beach is always less hectic and crowded than the Praia de Carcavelos, which is on the opposite side of Julião da Barra fort.
The Praia da Torre is a beautiful beach of soft golden sands and turquoise waters
The Praia da Torre is a sandy beach, which sits on the sheltered side of the Forte de São Julião da Barra fort. At the eastern side of the beach is the Oeiras Marina, and the harbour wall which protects it. Torre is not the largest beach of the Lisbon coastline, having a shoreline of only 350 meters but it is wide, with over 50m of sand from the cliffs to the sea.
The Praia da Torre beach lies on the tidal mouth of the Tagus estuary, meaning that the primary source of the water comes from the Rio Tejo but is sufficiently mixed with the ocean currents to be safe to swim in. The water quality is much better than beaches closer to Lisbon (to the east), such as the Praia Santo Amaro, and Oeiras council regularly monitor water quality and act quickly if quality drops.
Looking eastwards along Torre beach to the seawall of the marina
The Praia da Torre is great to head to if the waves on the Praia de Carcavelos are too larger (either for swimming or for children) as the beach is sheltered by the headland.
During the summer season, there is a lifeguard on duty, but the waters here are calmer and safer than the other beaches close by.
There are two beach cafes close to the beach, the Praia Caffe and Torre Mar, and these are fine for snacks and refreshments. At the top of the cliff is the Luar da Barra, an atmospheric bar which is housed in a classical railway carriage – this is a wonderful place for evening drinks!
The beach is named “tower beach”, after the central tower of the Julião da Barra fort, which stands above the formidable walls.
The “Praia Caffe” sits on the beach and is great for refreshments
The Praia da Torre is a great beach, but its accessibility by public transport (details further on) means it is not the easiest of beaches to travel to. Alternative beaches which are easier to reach by public transport in the local region include:
• The Praia de Carcavelos – The much larger beach on the opposite side of the Julião da Barra fort, which is closer to the train station
• The Praia de São Pedro do Estoril – Sand bay beach close to Estoril, calm waters, family friendly, and pretty setting.
• Praia de Santo Amaro de Oeiras – The main beach of Oeiras is lively and bustling and attracts a young age of visitor
• Praia da Conceição – Popular beach in Cascais, sea inflatables and within walking distance of the excitement of Cascais
The Piscina Oceânica de Oeiras is a huge saltwater swimming pool (50m), which is famed for its high diving boards. The entrance is quite expensive (€14/€10 adult/child full day), but it gets very busy in the summer, as many Portuguese families purchase the unlimited 3-5 day pass. The complex is open between 10:00 to 19:00, June to September.
The Praia da Torre is the starting point for the Passeio Marítimo de Oeiras, a coastline cycle path and footpath which leads to Caxias 6km to the east.
This is a very scenic walk/cycle route which passes many interesting sights and attractions, such as the Marina de Oeiras, Piscina Oceânica, the Santo Amaro do Areeiro fort, Oeiras beach and the charming town of Paço de Arcos. This is one of the best walking routes of the Lisbon coastline and an enjoyable activity if you tire of the beach.
Oeiras Marina is only a short walk from the beach
The beach is best reached by car, and the main car park directly exits from the N6 main road. There is one small and one medium size car parks, but if both are full, then the beach is probably too crowded. The car parking is by machine (or smartphone payment) and costs €0.85, €1.95 and €3.25 (1, 3 and 5 hours) and is applicable 8:00-20:00 every day.
Unfortunately, the Praia da Torre beach is one of the least accessible beaches along the Lisbon-Cascais coastline. The nearest train station is in the town of Oeiras (1.7km away) or Carcavelos (2.2km away). The best option for public transport is to head to Carcavelos station then walk along Carcavelos beach to the Praia da Torre.
A train ticket to Oeiras or Carcavelos requires a “Zone 3” train ticket and a single costs €1.95/€1.00 (adult/child). The train departs from the Cais do Sodré train station in Lisbon, and this station is served by the green metro line.
The train to Oeiras
The Forte de São Julião da Barra dominates the western edge of the Praia da Torre beach. The fort stands on a natural headland and is the largest coastal fort in Portugal, designed to protect the Tejo Estuary.
The Forte de São Julião da Barra was constructed during the 16th century following Vauban ideals (star-shaped defences, with multiple lays of fortifications). The outer walls envelop part of the beach, and there riffle towers directed to the beach, to prevent boats landing.
São Julião da Barra fort was built in conjunction with the Torre do Bugio (now used as a lighthouse), which stands on a sand bar in the centre of the estuary.
Sadly, this very impressive monument is closed to the public, as it is the official home of the Minister of National Defence.
The Forte de São Julião da Barra, with the lighthouse tower rising out of the centre of the complex, for which Tore beach is named after
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