Lisbon is known for its beautiful architecture, cobbled streets, unique tiles, and delicious pastries. What many people don’t know is that some of Portugal’s most stunning beaches can be found very near to the city’s center, still within the Lisbon district. After six years of living in the city and countless Summers by the Atlantic ocean, we’ve prepared this complete guide to the best Lisbon beaches.
In this guide, you can find information about each beach, the best way to get there, and other beaches nearby. If you’re thinking of spending a few days away from Lisbon’s city center and actually stay right on these beaches, we also include a where to stay section for each of them. Unless stated otherwise, we haven’t stayed in the accommodations ourselves, but we have researched before suggesting them to you.
- Useful Things to Know About Beaches in and Around Lisbon
- Best Time to Visit Lisbon Beaches
- How to Decide on the Best Lisbon Beaches
- Praia dos Galapinhos, Portinho da Arrábida
- Praia da Ribeira do Cavalo, Sesimbra
- Praia da Adiça or Praia da NATO, Costa da Caparica
- Praia da Comporta, Grândola
- Praia da Rainha, Cascais
- Praia do Guincho, Cascais
- Adventure in the Berlengas Archipelago
- Other Alternatives in the City
- What are the best Lisbon Beaches for You?
Useful Things to Know About Beaches in and Around Lisbon
Lisbon is the only European capital with beaches (praias, in Portuguese) by the Atlantic ocean, but it’s important to be aware that these beaches aren’t located right by the city’s most famous attractions. You need to get out of the city center and into an area known as Greater Lisbon to access the white sand beaches pictured above.
In this post we’ve decided to include beaches near Lisbon, and that you can easily visit from the city (and return) in a couple of hours. These are beaches we visited ourselves as locals living in the city center, but looking to enjoy a summer day by the beach. These beaches are truly part of our summers. Some of them are actually outside of the Lisbon district, but still close enough to enjoy as a day trip. There are four main coastlines near Lisbon:
- Oeiras-Estoril-Cascais, which is the easiest to access through public transport;
- Serra de Sintra, which is a bit further up north, near some of Portugal’s most beautiful palaces;
- Costa da Caparica, located on the other side of the Tagus river;
- Sesimbra-Portinho da Arrábida-Setúbal, further South.
Another important thing to know is that not all of the beaches mentioned in this guide are lifeguarded. This means that you have to be especially careful when venturing into the sea. In lifeguarded beaches, you’ll see a flag indicating the state of the sea: green indicates a calm sea, yellow means that there are some dangers and that you should take extra care, red is for a very rough sea and means that going into the sea is actually forbidden. The European Blue Flag means that the water quality is considered of a high standard, and is a sign of environmental excellence.
Best Time to Visit Lisbon Beaches
We don’t like giving out advice on the “best time to visit” because we know ultimately it all comes down to personal preference. Some people are perfectly fine with spending a day at the beach when it’s 18ºC, and some need it to be close to 30ºC to be warm enough to enter the Atlantic ocean. To add to this, the weather has been getting more unpredictable, and it’s now not unusual to have a day that feels like Summer in Lisbon in the middle of November.
Independently of all of this, the best time to visit the Lisbon beaches mentioned is somewhere between May and September. You can usually expect fewer people in May and September, and many more in July and (especially) in August, holiday time for most Europeans.
Some of the beaches below seem straight out of paradise, and in many ways, they are. However, it’s important to note that despite the stunning blue water, the Atlantic ocean is not exactly warm, and you can usually expect water temperatures to range from 15ºC to 20ºC.
The truth is that the beauty of these locations makes them perfect to visit any time of the year, even if it’s too cold to wear a swimsuit. Just make sure to be careful, and always put safety first.
How to Decide on the Best Lisbon Beaches
There are so many beaches in and around Lisbon that the definition of “best” is, once again, completely dependent on your own personal preference. We personally prioritize space and privacy when finding the perfect beach for us: we dislike crowds, and for that reason tend to prefer secluded beaches. As photographers, we also love beaches that offer us unique perspectives to capture. However, we remained neutral while preparing this guide. We include our favorites based on our priorities, of course, but we stretch beyond our own personal preferences and include beaches that can be considered “best” for other reasons: whether it’s because they’re easy to reach by public transport, perfect for sports lovers, or well prepared for families with kids. Hopefully, you’ll find all the information you need below, but don’t hesitate to comment or contact us with your questions, if you have any.
At the end of the post, we summarize all the information below and tell you exactly where to go according to what you’re looking for.
Praia dos Galapinhos, Portinho da Arrábida
Praia dos Galapinhos rose to fame back in 2017 when it was named the most beautiful beach in Europe by European Best Destinations. It’s impossible to deny the sheer beauty of this unspoiled beach: the fine white sand, the calm sea, and the stunning nature of the Arrábida Natural Park all around it. The beach was once a bit of a secret, and although it has all changed in recent years, we’ve been pleasantly surprised by how relaxing it still remains, especially if you visit during off-peak hours. On a late afternoon in July, we had the beach almost all to ourselves, and moments like those certainly make it one of our favorite beaches in the world.
There’s a small hiking trail to access the beach, which is easy to understand as you go, though it may be uncomfortable for some to do with flip flops. During the Summer, the beach is lifeguarded, and there is a small bar on site.
How to get to Praia dos Galapinhos
The easiest way to access is by car, and the trip from Lisbon usually takes about 1 hour. However, traffic to get out of Lisbon is very real at certain times of the day, so expect your trip to take a little longer. Once you get to Portinho da Arrábida you’ll need to park your car in one of the designated areas near Praia da Figueirinha or Praia do Creiro (only between the 15th of June and the 15th of September, between 8 am and 7 pm), but prices are accessible – just make sure to have some change with you. Parking spaces are limited, so try to get there either early in the morning, or later in the day. From the parking lots, you can either walk to Praia dos Galapinhos or take a free shuttle bus that runs every 20 minutes.
There are also public transportation options, but they might be confusing and time-consuming. First, you need to get from Lisbon to Setúbal, and then to Praia da Figueirinha. The most simple route we found was to catch the 561 TST Bus at Praça de Espanha in Lisbon, and get out at the last station, Setúbal. Then you need to catch the 723 TST Bus to Praia da Figueirinha, which only works during the Summer. You can use your Viva Card on these buses and will need to top it up with around 15€ to go from Lisbon to Praia da Figueirinha and return.
It’s also possible to see more of the Portinho da Arrábida region by boat, and there are plenty of tours available that pass through Praia dos Galapinhos.
Where to stay near Praia dos Galapinhos
- For a comfortable Bed & Breakfast, take a look at Casa da Adôa, which has double rooms, studios, and apartments available that are walking distance to the beach.
- For a fully-fledged beach house right in the middle of Portinho da Arrábida, consider Casa do Farol da Arrábida.
- If you’re looking for a more luxurious option, consider the five-star Hotel Casa Palmela, located between Setúbal and Portinho da Arrábida.
Other beaches nearby
Portinho da Arrábida is known for its beautiful beaches, and there are many others worth visiting beside Praia dos Galapinhos, such as Praia do Creiro, Praia dos Coelhos, and Praia dos Galápos.
Praia da Ribeira do Cavalo, Sesimbra
Praia da Ribeira do Cavalo was once a true hidden gem, that even many people from Lisbon didn’t know about. This small beach seems straight out of paradise, with many people not even believing that it’s actually in Portugal when they see pictures, but it is! The shining turquoise waters are indeed part of the Atlantic ocean.
In many ways, it remains as a wild beach: access is still conditioned by a hike of moderate difficulty, and there are no services on the beach itself. However, there are more people visiting every year, which means it’s not always the haven of tranquility it once was. Still, it remains one of the most magical spots in Portugal. Even if you only visit for the stunning views, we’re sure we won’t regret it, as it’s one of our favorite viewpoints in Portugal, as well as one of the best Lisbon beaches.
How to get to Praia da Ribeira do Cavalo
Once again, the best way to get to this beach is by car, as public transportation is sparse and leaves you a bit far away. The journey from Lisbon takes about 45 minutes by car, but depending on traffic it can take you more time, so plan accordingly. Once you reach the parking area, you need to hike down to Praia da Ribeira do Cavalo. This hike is of moderate difficulty, and you should use appropriate footwear. The trail is identified with green lines and will take you at least 20 minutes down (and probably more once you return).
If you’re looking for public transportation options, first get to Sesimbra using the 207 TST Bus at Praça de Espanha, and get out at the last station. Then you’ll need to walk all the way to the parking lot at the top of Ribeira do Cavalo (it will take you at least 45 minutes), and then hike down to the actual beach.
It’s also possible to get to Praia da Ribeira do Cavalo by boat (which will save you the hike!). There are plenty of tours available by both boat and kayak, and many of them also include other activities such as snorkeling.
Where to stay near Praia da Ribeira do Cavalo
- Casa da Praça Guest House has uniquely decorated double rooms available and is located right in front of Sesimbra’s famous Praia da Califórnia.
- For fully equipped apartments in the city center, take a look at Cerca da Vitória 2 Sesimbra.
- There’s also a municipal camping park called Forte do Cavalo near Sesimbra’s harbor. To reserve contact email@example.com
Other beaches nearby
The city of Sesimbra is known for its beaches, mainly Praia da Califórnia and Praia do Ouro. These beaches are family-friendly, as they are near the city and everything you might need, but this also means that they get quite crowded in the Summer months. Nearby, Meco is also known for its beautiful coastline, and some of the best beaches include Praia do Meco, Praia das Bicas, and Praia do Alfarim.
Praia da Adiça or Praia da NATO, Costa da Caparica
Apparently, no one can truly agree on the name of this beach. It was first presented to us as Praia da NATO, as it’s located near a military complex. On the beach, there’s a board in the sand with a different name. However, we found that it’s mostly known as Praia da Adiça, and this is the name that works best if you look for it on the internet or any GPS system.
This beach stretches for miles of fine golden sand, and it’s perfect if you’re looking for a beach that is full of space and tranquility. The sea is welcoming, and the amount of space invites you to do a long walk by the water.
Even though it’s known as a naturist beach in the region, the reality is that Praia da Adiça is very welcoming even if it’s something you don’t practice yourself (our case). However, it might not be the perfect beach for you if you’re traveling with small children as it’s not lifeguarded, and there are no services available. You also need to do a hike of around 15 minutes to get to Praia da Adiça.
How to get to Praia da Adiça
The best way to get to Praia da Adiça is, without a question, by car. Driving from Lisbon will take you around 35 minutes, though it’s important to pay attention to traffic. There are a lot of people traveling this route, so traffic is expected at peak hours on the week, and on the weekends during the Summer. As we previously mentioned, this beach is located by a military compound, and just before you reach it you’ll see the information that you can’t continue, and find the parking spaces in the road by the pinewood. On Google Maps, Praia da Adiça takes you directly to the beach, so you can use the destination “Estação Ibéria da NATO” instead.
Once you park your car, you’ll need to hike down to the beach through Mata dos Medos. The hike is relatively easy and well-marked, and what is truly breathtaking is the beauty of the landscape around you.
Getting to Praia da Adiça using public transportation is not easy, but the best option we’ve found online is to catch the boat at Terreiro do Paço to Cacilhas, and then the 127 TST Bus from Cacilhas to Fonte da Telha. From Fonte da Telha, you still have to walk around an hour to actually get to Praia da Adiça.
Where to stay near Praia da Adiça
- For surf lovers looking for a hostel, consider Kali Vice Surf Villa, located in Costa da Caparica.
- For a simple yet comfortable stay in a hotel, take a look at Residencial Mar e Sol.
Other beaches nearby
Praia da Adiça is located in Costa da Caparica, a coastline filled with stunning beaches. In our opinion, none is quite as relaxing and spacious as this one, but there are plenty of others worth visiting. If you’re using public transportation and want the security of a lifeguard and infrastructure on sight, Praia da Fonte da Telha is a great choice.
Praia da Comporta, Grândola
The southernmost beach on this guide, located in the Península de Tróia, is also the one with the trendiest vibe. The infrastructure at Praia da Comporta is surprisingly developed, especially when most people think it’s in the middle of nowhere. There is a cool beach club, plenty of facilities, and quite a few parking spaces.
If you are looking for a bit of a quieter option, just walk towards the left once you get to the beach, and walk for 10 to 15 minutes until you find an empty area – it’s not hard to do considering how spacious the beach is!
How to get to Praia da Comporta
Getting to Praia da Comporta from Lisbon takes approximately 1h30 by car, as you’ll drive through some beautiful landscapes in Alentejo, scenery that seems a world away from Lisbon.
Public transportation isn’t really an option, but there are private tours available, some of which even include part of the famous Vicentine Coast Natural Park.
Where to stay near Praia da Comporta
- For simple rooms with a location with easy access to Praia da Comporta, consider Flow Rooms.
- For more luxurious options, search in the area of Tróia for places such as Troia Design Hotel, and Aqualuz Troia Lagoa Hotel & Apartments.
Other beaches nearby
Praia de Tróia and Praia do Carvalhal are the most famous beaches nearby. From Setúbal, you can get to Praia de Tróia using a ferry (if you are traveling by car), or a catamaran.
Praia da Rainha, Cascais
Cascais’ most famous beach is located just a few steps away from the city’s train station, making it one of the easiest to access from Lisbon. The beach is quite small and can get quite crowded, but it stands out for its prime location, right by Cascais’ picturesque Old Town. Despite the crowds and limited space, the beach is great for families as the water is calm, and it’s lifeguarded during the Summer months. Nearby there are plenty of cafés, restaurants, and stores with everything you might need.
Praia da Rainha is the perfect choice if you’re looking for a day that includes both culture and beach time. Cascais has been a famous holiday destination in Portugal exactly because it combines both. There are enough attractions in the area to fill a few days with activities, and other beaches nearby.
How to get to Praia da Rainha
The best way to get to Cascais from Lisbon is by using the train. The urban railway that connects both cities is frequent and affordable. In Lisbon, catch your train at Cais do Sodré railway station, and get out at the last stop, Cascais. The journey takes around 40 minutes and costs 2,25€. You can top up the Viva Card you use in Lisbon to use the train to travel to Cascais and check out the complete timetables online.
From the Cascais train station, it’s less than a 5-minute walk to Praia da Rainha.
Where to stay near Praia da Rainha
- For fully equipped and stylish apartments right in the center of Cascais, consider the stunning Sta Catarina Cascais Beach Apartments perfect for a group of friends or a small family.
- For a more budget-friendly option, consider the Eco Ljmonade Hostel, which offers both shared and private rooms in a prime location very closed to the city center.
- If you’re looking for a carefree vacation with kids, consider the Martinhal Lisbon Cascais Family Resort Hotel, a five-star option 6km away from the historic center of Cascais.
Other beaches nearby
There are more beaches in the center Cascais including Praia da Duquesa, Praia da Conceição, and Praia dos Pescadores.
You can also find many other beaches in the Oeiras-Estoril-Cascais coastline, which are easy to access using the train. You may like to explore Praia das Avencas near the Parede train station, or Praia de Carcavelos, a bigger beach near the station with the same name. Because most beaches on this coastline are very easy to reach using public transport, it’s normal that they will be quite crowded in the Summer months.
Praia do Guincho, Cascais
Praia do Guincho is known worldwide for its great conditions for sea sports. Kitesurfing is especially popular, and there are various schools in the area that can teach you how to do it and/or provide the needed equipment. Even if you’re not a fan of sea sports, Praia do Guincho is still a great spot to sunbathe, as it’s one of the biggest beaches in the Lisbon area. The only downside is that it can get quite windy. The beach is lifeguarded and there are a few cafes and restaurants around.
The area is part of the protected Sintra-Cascais Natural Park, and right by Praia do Guincho you can find the trail of the Guincho-Cresmina dune field, which offers stunning views to the beach and nearby area. It is especially magical during the sunset. The trail is easy and well-marked for people of all ages.
How to get to Praia do Guincho
Accessing Praia do Guincho by car from Lisbon takes around 35 minutes. It’s easy to reach the area by public transportation as well. First, get to Cascais first using the train, and then use the 405 Scotturb bus to get to Guincho. Unfortunately, there is sometimes less than one bus per hour, but taxis and services like Uber make for an easy and affordable replacement. We usually pay around 5€ to get from the Cascais train station to Praia do Guincho this way.
Where to stay near Praia do Guincho
- Stay right by the beach at the beautiful Hotel Fortaleza do Guincho Relais & Châteaux, which includes a Michelin star restaurant and stunning ocean views.
- If you’re looking for a simpler option, consider the camping facilities at Parque de Campismo Orbitur Guincho, which also include private bungalows and options with Eurocamp.
- For luxurious options, a bit further away from the beach itself, consider The Oitavos, and Sheraton Cascais Resort.
Other beaches nearby
If you have access to a car, drive further north to the beaches in the Sintra-Cascais Nature Park such as Praia da Ursa and Praia da Adraga, both are usually very windy, but quite striking visually.
Adventure in the Berlengas Archipelago
If you’re looking for something a bit more adventurous than just a beach day, consider a visit to the Berlengas Archipelago, a protected area since the 15th century. It’s easy to access the archipelago’s biggest island, Berlenga, and you’ll get access to stunning nature, compact enough to explore in one day. It’s a great day trip from Lisbon.
There are a few attractions on the island, as well as some easy hiking trails, and a small beach. Because it is a protected area, many parts of the island remain untouched, and you’re able to witness incredible beauty in the middle of the Atlantic ocean. We also recommend doing a boat tour around the island, which will take you to scenic caves and secret beaches. There are also tours for diving and dolphin watching available.
How to get to Berlengas
The easiest way to get to the Berlenga Island is to rent a car and drive to Peniche (approximately 1h20), and then catch a boat at the marina. However, it’s also possible to travel to Peniche using public transportation, even if you’re planning to do it only as a day trip, as there are quite a few buses. Using Rede Expressos, you can get from Lisbon’s Sete Rios bus station to Peniche in around 1h30. The ticket will cost you around 9€ each way. From Peniche’s bus station you need to walk around 15 minutes to the marina, where you can finally catch your boat.
We used Viamar on our visit to the Berlenga Island and had no issues.
Where to stay near Berlengas
The Berlenga Island is a protected area, which means that there are no hotels or resorts, so there are few accommodation options:
- It’s possible to sleep at the São João da Batista Fort, one of the island’s main attraction, but conditions are limited, and you’re expected to bring all you need for your stay with you. To learn how to stay there, contact them through firstname.lastname@example.org
- For a more comfortable option, consider the Pavilhão Mar e Sol, which includes six double private bedrooms, and a restaurant. For more information, contact via email to email@example.com
- There is also a small camping park on the island, but spots are limited so contact firstname.lastname@example.org
Nevertheless, there is a growing number of options in Peniche:
- For affordable options in the city center of Peniche, consider Green Hostel Peniche, which offers both private and shared options.
- If you’re looking for a fully equipped apartment, look into Maresia Apartamentos.
- Hotel Star Inn Peniche is located a bit further away from the historical center of Peniche, but closer to some of the city’s most beautiful beaches.
Other beaches nearby
The city of Peniche is part of Portugal’s Silver Coast, and here you can find plenty of beaches of high quality, such as Praia dos Supertubos, which offers great surfing conditions, and Praia da Cova de Alfarroba, a wide and sandy beach.
Other Alternatives in the City
If the weather is warm and you’re looking to cool off but don’t want to get to any of the beaches above, there are some options in the city:
- Book a hotel with a pool. There are plenty of hotels in Lisbon with beautiful pools, including NH Collection Lisboa Liberdade, Epic Sana Lisboa, and Altis Belém Hotel & Spa.
- If you already have your accommodation covered, know that some hotels Lisbon sell daily passes that include pool access.
- Use a public pool in Lisbon: there are both indoor and outdoor options in the city if you’re on a budget, but still want to beat the heat.
- During the month of August, a beach is set up in Jardim do Torel (pictured above). The idea is to recreate a complete beach experience, right in the middle of Lisbon’s historic center. There is a small pool and even some sand around it, and the access is free. This space is usually incredibly crowded so we’ve never tried it ourselves, but Jardim do Torel is always worth visiting for it’s stunning views to the city.
What are the best Lisbon Beaches for You?
Hopefully, this guide has helped you make a decision on what beaches in and around Lisbon to visit according to your own personal preferences. It is a huge luxury to have such high-quality beaches right near the capital, and the truth is that no guide could really account for all the amazing beaches in this area.
Do you have any favorite beaches in the region? Share them in the comments below.
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