All you need to know about Lisbon beaches – The best 5 beaches you cannot miss
Few visitors realise that a holiday to Lisbon can easily combine the amusement of a city break with the relaxation of a beach holiday that pleases all tastes: from calm family-orientated beaches, charming resort towns through to wild surfing and other multiple aquatic sports beaches. The best part? All this at less than an hour away from the capital’s centre, which makes them ideal for a day trip while based there. Although it is a very difficult mission to elect the best beaches in this region, we will provide you a guide that help you understand the different coastlines of Lisbon beaches and elect one of the best beaches of each coastline.
To better understand, let’s start from the beginning! There are five different coastlines in the region of Lisbon: if we go north there are Oeiras – Cascais, Serra de Sintra and Ericeira coastlines, and if we go south there are Costa da Caparica and Serra da Arrábida coastlines.
Oeiras – Cascais coastline and Praia de Carcavelos
Extending to the northwest of Lisbon we have Oeiras – Cascais coastline that offers sandy beaches, calm sea waters and beautiful resort towns. These beaches are also sheltered from the strong sea breezes that the Atlantic Ocean blows in.
Praia de Carcavelos is the largest beach in the region, with soft golden sand and clean sea waters and with an extensive number of facilities including cafes, restaurants, beach sports and water activities. It is, for sure, the most popular among the Lisboetas, both to spend your sunny day sunbathing and bathing, as well as in the winter to go for a walk, to drink a beer looking at the incredible sunset or take surf lessons at one of the many schools established there.
In this coastline we also suggest you check more about Praia do Tamariz (Estoril) or Praia da Conceição (Cascais)!
Serra de Sintra coastline and Praia do Guincho
Continuing north of Oeiras – Cascais, we have Serra de Sintra coastline that lies within the Sintra-Cascais Natural and Protected Park which has protected the beautiful natural scenery formed of jagged cliffs, vast beaches and dramatic natural landscapes. It is ideal for outdoor activities as surfing, kitesurfing or simply hiking once the windswept coastline is exposed to the ferocity of the Atlantic Ocean and its winds.
Praia da Adraga, Praia da Ursa, Praia das Maçãs and Azenhas do Mar are different examples of beautiful beaches that exemplify the region’ spectacular scenery. But there is one that stands out: Praia do Guincho.
Praia do Guincho is the most magical beach in this area because of its remote, raw and wild ambience, a beach protected from the tourist development because it lies within a protected area. Once it is located on the western edge os Sintra’s Hill with a constant strong breeze always blowing, it creates massive waves that fullfill the hearts of the most professional surfers and wind-surfers. It is not realy a beach appropriated for the children to be splashing around, but it is the perfect beach for those who appreciate the nature’s raw power and stunningly dramatic sceneries.
Ericeira coastline and Praia de Ribeira D’Ilhas
Beyond the Serra de Sintra, we find the Ericeira coastline where it is not always easy to see the beaches because of the fog easily condensed around the hill. But in the moments the sun comes up, they are the best to be. The sands are extensive, the sea invites you to go diving or practice board sports, and from the terraces you can see the sun going to bed later. Ericeira coastline has world-class beaches, very different from each other. The village of Ericeira the central town of this coastline and gives all the necessary facilities for travellers and is loved by the Portuguese because of its delicious seafood and freshest fish you can think of.
But it is for the surfers that Ericeira coastline represents their mecca. The unique characteristics of the waves found in Ericeira were recognized in 2011, being elected as World Surfing Reserve, the only one in Europe and second in the world! And it is worth mentioning the Ribeira d’Ilhas Beach, considered one of the best in Europe for surfing and bodyboarding. Surfers from all over the world come to dispute a space in the waves of Ribeira, since it is one of the most frequented in the region! Since 1985, it is the stage of the world surfing championship (WQS). Nestled in a valley between high cliffs, the beach has several bars that give it additional animation.
Costa da Caparica coastline and Praia da Lagoa de Albufeira
On the southwest of Lisbon, extended along the entire Peninsula of Setubal, there’s the single 26km of continuous stretch beach of Costa da Caparica’s coastline. While at the northern end is the modern resort town of Costa da Caparica, further to the south we find quitter beaches and countryside yet protected from development by the Arriba Fóssil nature preserve. This area includes Praia do Meco, Portugal’s original nudists beach and the unique Lagoa de Albufeira.
Because of it natural setting where three small rivers get together to form two lagoons, the Lagoa de Albufeira beach (Lagoa stands for lagoon, despite being an ocean beach) provides sheltered and calm waters that turned it into the most popular location for windsurf but also the pristine forests that surround the lagoon offer deserted footpaths and tranquil countryside and the calm waters also make it a great choice for the kids.
Serra da Arrábida coastline and Portinho da Arrábida
Situated between the towns of Sesimbra and Setúbal, Serra da Arrábida coastline has some of the most idyllic beaches with golden sands, turquoise sea waters, all of them surrounded with a stunning natural scenery of steep forested mountains rising to the rear. This coastline is sheltered from the powerful Atlantic Ocean waves and the constant sea breezes, but they are not of easy access (and maybe that´s why they still so magic).
The main resort town of Serra da Arrábida is Sesimbra, a beautiful fisher village that you should, for sure, visit.
It is a very difficult mission to choose one beach in here, but we will give the gold medal to Portinho da Arrábida, the one you cannot miss. It is the most visually stunning with the beautiful backdrop of the Arrabida mountains.
Believe us, it is very difficult to decide which is the best! the solution will be each day to enjoy a different one until you have known them all and then what? and then start again with the first one!
If you have had the opportunity to have been on any of these wonderful beaches, share your experience with us by leaving a quick comment below! Thanks!!