Lisbon is surrounded by excellent beaches, all of which are easily accessible by public transport from capital. Lisbon’s beaches stretch along three coastlines and offer a varied selection of styles suitable for all types of tourists. The most popular region is the Cascais-Estoril coastline, which is directly west of Lisbon on the northern banks of the Tagus estuary, these beaches offer the best facilities but can be very busy at the weekends.
A beach in the Serra de Sintra national park
The Costa da Caparica coastline is south of Lisbon and the beaches extend for the entire length of the Setubal Peninsular. The third coastline is the Serra de Sintra national park coastline, north of the resort town of Cascais, these beaches are wild and rugged with great surfing but are the least accessible from Lisbon. This guide will detail the best beaches of the Lisbon region and identify the most suitable for different visitor styles.
The Praia do Carcavelos is the most popular beach of Lisbon, and at the summer weekends it feels as the most popular beach in Portugal! The Praia do Carcavelos is a beach which does everything well, and this all round performing makes the beach the most popular of the Lisbon coastline.
Carcavelos is situated halfway between Lisbon and Cascais and is served by the Cascais railway that makes the beach easily accessible from Lisbon or any of the other resort towns along the coast. The beach faces a south westerly direction and there are good enough waves to surf or body-board while the waters are reliably clean as the currents come from the Atlantic Ocean and not the Tejo Estuary.
Praia do Carcavelos is a massive beach
The beach is wide enough for the masses and along the promenade is a good selection of good cafes and restaurants. Praia Carcavelos is the first recommended beach to visit for visitors new to the region and suitable for families, teenagers and couples.
Praia do Carcavelos is a popular surfing beach
Praia de Guincho is the best beach of the Lisbon coastline. The beach is every surfers paradise with massive waves and stunning scenery. The beach is situated on the edge of the Sintra national park and this has limited mass tourist development. It is sometimes difficult to believe that such a remote feeling beach is less than 30 minutes’ drive from central Lisbon.
The amazing surfing beach of Guincho
Visitors can hire surf or body boards and be prepared for the shock of the very cold sea even in the summer months. Praia de Guincho is perfectly suited for those who appreciate nature, be that surfing or hiking but the area is not suited for families due to the almost constant breeze and strong tides. Praia de Guincho was not at the top of our beach list simply because public transport is difficult from Lisbon, the route involves a train and slow bus ride.
The town of Costa da Caparica is a purpose built resort town that is situated at the northern edge of the Setubal Peninsula south of Lisbon. The town has a lot going for it; a huge beach with great waves, amazingly clean waters and a town full of cafes, restaurants and hotels. Costa da Caparica is a great alternative to Praia Carcavelos as the beach extends for 30km along the peninsula and there is always space to be found.
A fishing boat on the Costa da Caparica
The Costa da Caparica is served by a regular bus service that crosses Lisbon suspension bridge but it is slightly less accessible than Carcavelos. The town of Caparica makes for a very affordable destination for a couple of days away from Lisbon and has a lively atmosphere during the summer. The town and beach is family friendly.
The town of Cascais and Estoril is a traditional fishing town which became popular with the Portuguese nobility. For a guide to Cascais please click here. The town combines good beaches, traditional atmosphere and free stately homes and museums. This is the area to head to for visitors who want more than just a beach.