Lisbon is located at the mouth of the Tagus River and opens to the west onto the Atlantic Ocean: from north to south, fine-sand beaches and cliffs alternate for kilometres, creating an amazing landscape that is made even more breathtaking by the ocean. The presence of the ocean, on the other hand, makes the water rather cold, the waves high and, of course, the wind very strong.
Therefore, depending on your needs, it is important to choose the right beach.
Beaches in Lisbon surroundings meet all needs: from families with children who seek calm waters and little wind, to people who look for fun (like the Tamariz beach, Estoril, or Morena and Sereia beaches to the south) or those who need the privacy of a nudist beach (such as Ursa beach, in Sintra, and Bela Vista, in the south).
The whole coast is also rich in hostels, campgrounds, hotels, B&Bs and, of course, bars and restaurants where you can have a quick meal or more elaborate fish dishes, and sip a good sangria. If you do not have a car, you can also move around by public transport.
For your holiday in Lisbon, you can look at our users’ favourite hotels:
– Radisson Blu Hotel Lisboa
– My Story Hotel Ouro
– Epic Sana Hotel Lisboa
Where shall we start from, then? It is difficult to create a list of the best beaches around Lisbon, but we try to suggest the 5 most significant for us.
Atlantic coast – northward
Some of the most beautiful beaches in the region are located in the area between Carcavelos and Sintra. The trains of the Lisbon-Cascais railroad line, that starts from the Cais do Sodre train station, stop close to the most popular beaches.
# 1. Carcavelos. Due to its proximity to the city, it is actually considered Lisbon beach. It is very popular and therefore very busy. It is well served and offers opportunities of all kinds to families and surfers, both professionals and beginners.
#2. Guincho Beach (Cascais). It is exposed to strong wind and has high waves, so it is ideal for any type of surfing (surf, windsurf, kitesurf, bodyboard). With its golden sand, orange rocks and foaming waves, it is also ideal for romantic walks with a stunning sunset view.
This beach was the location of the opening scene of James Bond’s film “007 – On Her Majesty’s Secret Service”. Not far from there is Abano beach, which is little known and accessible through a ladder among the rocks.
# 3. Poça Beach (Estoril). This beach is quite rocky, but sheltered from waves and wind. For this reason, it is perfect for families and for anyone who needs to rest after the dazing wind of Guincho beach! In this area, you can take relaxing walks surrounded by an incredible scenery.
# 4. Adraga Beach (Sintra). Located about 45 minutes away from Lisbon by car, in the Natural Park of Sintra-Cascais, it is widely considered the most beautiful beach of the region. Small but charming, it is set among the rocks overlooking the sea, protected from the wind and quiet. Not far away from there, sheltered by the cliffs, there is an ancient fishing village, Azenhas do Mar.
If you wish to enjoy the view and a good meal, you can book a table in the homonymous restaurant with pool Azenhas do Mar, which is built in the rocks.
Atlantic coast – southward
# 5. Costa da Caparica. It consists of 25 kilometres of white sands and clear waters divided into large beaches. Connected to the capital city by a bridge, you can easily reach this area by car or with the Transportes do Tejo buses.
The striking Transpraia train that crosses the sandy dunes and stops at 21 beaches is also definitely worth taking.
This welcoming and well-organized coast is popular because it offers all kinds of entertainment. Nevertheless, it is less chaotic than the Northern coast.
There is something to meet everybody’s fancy here, too: the beaches of Castelo and Rei are ideal for families; if you wish to enjoy the movida you should choose Morena and Sereia beaches, immersed in the dunes.
Fonte de Telha beach is a must-do for surfers. It is enclosed in the protected area of the Arriba Fossil, a fossil cliff dating back to 10 million years ago. Its ocean- and time-eroded layers make the landscape even more extraordinary.
For surfing, windsurfing, kitesurfing, bodyboarding fans
If you are keen on these sports, the coastline around Lisbon is something to sink your teeth into. There are also excellent schools for beginners, where you can learn the basics with the help of good instructors. Cascais Surf School & Surf Camp, Carcavelos Surf School and Epic Surf School are the schools with the best reviews.
When you go back to Lisbon, you will notice that the ocean’s wind carries the scent of salty water and the magic of these spectacular coasts to the city, which is both a river’s and a sea’s town. Walking along its shorelines, you can enjoy the places where the sun sets very late and where brave sailors left for the “New World”.