Top 10 Best Beaches near Lisbon
Portugal is renowned for its mesmerizing coastlines in the Algarve but its capital city, Lisbon, is just as blessed with dozens of sandy beaches, many of them located no more than an hour from the centre.
Lisbon’s prime location on the Western edge of Europe means beach weather can be any time of the year. Portugal is very fortunate to experience year-round warm, sunny weather, even in winter. So, no matter what time of year you visit, you will likely find yourself at a beach.
With so many spots to sunbathe or dip your feet in the water, it’s not a simple task to choose the best beach to visit. We’ve tried to make your decision a little easier, with 10 of our favourite beaches near Lisbon’s city centre.
1. Costa da Caparica
Take a ride across the Tagus River along the “Ponte de 25 de Abril” bridge and you’ll soon find yourself on the longest stretch of sand in Portugal.
With over 20 kilometres of sand to set up shop, you can choose to sit amongst busy crowds of beach-goers or walk a little further to find a cosy, quiet spot.
This beach is great for surfers, with several beginner surf schools and decent-sized waves to practice on.
It can be quite touristy in summer, but there are plenty of restaurants, beach bars and activities to do in the beach side town too. The beach is easily accessible by buses or ferries from downtown.
Costa da Caparica is a good place for a picnic with friends, drinking Vinho Verde on the white sand, splashing about in the water, relaxing with a book, people watch, and listen to music from the beach bars. Be sure to stay for sunset, it is magical.
Cascais is a small coastal town west of Lisbon’s centre, filled with picturesque coloured homes overlooking white sand and crystal-clear waters. The town is a former fishing village that is now a hotspot for tourism, especially in summer. You will likely struggle to snatch a spot for your beach towel at Praia da Ribeira, also known as Fisherman’s Beach. If you don’t mind the crowds, this beach is very beautiful and family friendly with calm, clear water for swimming.
Your day at the beach here isn’t complete until you’ve tried the famous ice-cream from Gelados Santini, a home-made Italian gelateria that has been indulging the Portuguese for over 60 years.
*Foto: Robi Weber
3. Praia de Carcavelos
Another popular beach location 20 minutes from Cais do Sodré by train. Great for surfing and other water sports, sipping on cocktails, or lazing in the sun, it’s no wonder this golden sandy beach attracts thousands of visitors, especially on a hot summer day.
A água é fria, tal como no resto do país, mas não há melhor maneira de se refrescar no verão!
4. Praia do Baleal, Peniche
Tucked away, 4 km north of Lisbon, Praia do Baleal is a beach fit for mermaids.
Here you’ll discover bathing lagoons at low tide and rock pools with sparkling seaweed, small crabs, fish, and seashells – good for families with curious children.
There’s good surf here too, but bigger waves can be found further north. Bars, restaurants, and cafes serving up fresh seafood can also be found nearby.
5. Praia da Adraga
Amongst the hills of Sintra, nearby the ancient castles and breathtaking palace gardens, is the western coast of Portugal.
Here you’ll be amazed by dramatic cliff faces with several coves, including Praia da Adraga. This coast is famous for the rock formations shaped like an elephant’s trunk arching into the sea.
If you enjoy hiking, you can also follow the walking trail along the cliffs for 5 km south to Cabo da Roca, the westernmost tip of mainland Europe (once thought of as the edge of the world).
There is no public transport to get here, so you will need to rent a car (50 minutes from Lisbon) or join a tour. Because of this, it is often very quiet, and its natural beauty can be truly appreciated, especially at sunset if you time it right.
*Foto: Restaurante da Adraga
6. Praia do Guincho
For the surfers visiting Portugal, this is the place to be. The waves crashing in from the Atlantic Ocean are huge, making Guincho Beach a prime location for surfers. Located at the Serra de Sintra National Park, this beach is best accessible by bus (405 or 415) or taxi from Cascais; the journey takes around 35 minutes.
*Foto: autor desconhecido.
7. Praia do Tamariz, Estoril
Consider Estoril the “Hollywood” of Lisbon. There’s a casino here made famous by Ian Fleming, author of James Bond, who was inspired by the Portuguese seaside town to write the novel. Amongst the glamour of hotels and resorts, you can also find a medieval castle, and a huge beach.
The beach is perfectly located in front of the train station just 40 minutes from Lisbon’s downtown, making it the ideal beach day, without having to hire a car. The water here is calm and monitored by lifeguards during on-season, perfect for families with children.
8. Praia do Meco, Sesimbra
Imagine white sandy beaches that seemingly last forever – that’s Meco, a beach paradise around 45 minutes journey by car from Lisbon. Here you can escape the city crowds and completely relax with just the sounds of the ocean. Some people relax so much that they hop into their birthday suits! (Be warned)
This beach is a little remote, with no tourist stores or shops around - just white sand and blue water, it’s surreal. The water is known for its mix of calm and rough waters, fit for swimming and surfing, but take precaution. We also recommend tasting local seafood dishes at the beachside restaurant; Sesimbra may be a small town but it has a big reputation for its fishing industry.
*Foto: autor desconhecido.
9. Portinho da Arrábida
Located in the Serra da Arrábida National Park, the blue waters, mountain backdrop and sandy shore here will certainly take your breath away. While this beach takes a little longer to reach, the journey is worth every minute; you can go by car (1 hour) or bus from Lisbon Oriente Station. On arrival there is a long staircase to reach the beach, so be sure to wear comfortable shoes. Once your toes feel the tingling of sand or salty water, and you witness the immense beauty of the deep blue ocean, its likely you’ll never want to leave.
Another beauty on the Setubal coastline is Tróia, a beach almost “untouched” and full of immense natural landscapes to admire. This is a good destination for relaxing by the seaside away from the hustle of the city. Tróia is also a great place for water sports, and sometimes even dolphin-spotting! Don’t forget your camera.
*Foto de Bruno Martins.
Are the beaches around Lisbon worth it?
As you can see, Lisbon has an impressive set of beaches for a capital city. There are plenty of stunning beaches with longs stretches of white and golden sand, meeting gorgeous crystal blue oceans. On top of that you will never be bored, with a range of water activities for the adventure-goers and cafes and bars for a more chilled beach day. Most of these locations also offer a range of accommodations from hostels to hotels and resorts, so your beach day could turn into a beach week or even year, if you like.
ABOUT BRUNO ABRANTES
Bruno Abrantes is the co-founder of bePortugal, an online platform for expats and tourists who are interested in Portugal. He has been connected to the expat community of Portugal for over 5 years which boosted his desire to connect Portugal to the international community. The aim of the project is to provide reliable, trustworthy and easy to understand information about Portugal, all in one place.