7 best beaches to go near Lisbon

7 best beaches to go near Lisbon

Lisbon…
We talk a lot about this beautiful Portuguese capital especially in recent years, and I think that’s normal.

Narrow steep streets with old houses, Portuguese cuisine that is simple but also very tasty and its atmosphere of “saudade” (nostalgia, sadness or a feeling of lack of something in one’s past, untranslatable in other languages). ..
People who have ever visited this beautiful city would say, “Oh my God, Lisbon is simply magic!”

Yet, Lisbon’s charms aren’t only in its touristic city center. You can enjoy beautiful beaches just nearby.
In fact, there are many people coming to Lisbon to spend their “beach holidays”, as you maybe already know.
For me as well that’s the case. I often get out of Lisbon to the beach to enjoy my “Beach day” and I think this easy access to the beach is really a good advantage of living in Lisbon, because not many big cities in the world allow us to spend the morning in the office and the relaxing evening on the beach, on the same day!

In addition to that, here in Lisbon, the public transport to the beaches is cheap, I don’t have stable job so I have much free-time, and it’s HOT! So, beach every day! Why not?

In this article, I’m going to show you 7 beautiful beaches near Lisbon, so you can choose which beach to go by getting away from the crowds of the city, and especially, from the heat.

I won’t list beautiful beaches which need 3 hours’ car ride from Lisbon. Only those that can be reached less than 1 hour from the capital, by public transport.

Here’s my preferences for the beach :

· Not many people (very important)
· Easy to reach from Lisbon by public transport (connections are very exhausting and I don’t have a car.)
· I go to the beach to relax and to swim. (not for surfing, party…)
· Quiet (not with lots of bars on the beach and British guys totally drunk)

It was very difficult to choose only 7,  but now, it’s done!

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7.   Praia de Ribeira, Cascais

This beach is found in the very middle of the city of Cascais, which is 40 minutes away by suburban train (CP) from Cais do Sodré station located in Lisbon downtown. To get there, you just take the train and get off at the terminal station, and walk 10 minutes through lovely Cascais downtown.

Although the beach is so small, it’s quite busy all year. Especially in summer, it’s completely filled with Portuguese and also with foreigners.

The famous Cascais city attracts many young tourists and retired people as well, they expect beautiful seaside holiday. That means it’s relatively touristy. The restaurants and bars there are more expensive compared to other local places.

I don’t recommend you going to this beach just for passing a nice beach day because you will surely meet a lot of tourists taking a thousand of pictures on the street next to the beach. On the other hand, just to give yourself a little break during your day trip to Cascais, this is a great place.

From Lisbon

Take the suburban train (CP) at Cais do Sodré station, get off at the terminal station of Cascais. The journey takes 40 mins. Walk 10 mins in the direction of downtown.

6.  Praia de Carcavelos, Carcavelos

Between Lisbon and Cascais, a small residential town of Carcavelos has a long beach.

It used to be a very local and quiet place couple of years ago, but today it became one of the most popular touristic and surfing destination for foreigners, especially. The vibe here is young and lively, with many restaurants and bars which don’t cost very much.

It may not be a perfect beach for swimming but if you want to enjoy its open-minded young vibe with a glass of beer and the sun, that’s the place.

From Lisbon

Take the suburban train (CP) at Cais do Sodré station, get off at Carcavelos station. The journey takes 30 mins. Walk 10 mins in the direction of downtown.

5.  Praia deTamariz, Estoril

Just two stations before the terminal station of Cascais line, this beautiful beach is situated in a famous vacation city, Estoril. If you find the beaches in Cascais or Carcavelos are touristy and too much young vibe, this beach is maybe for you because of its elegant atmosphere.

In Estoril, many old and rich-looking retired people staying in luxury hotels, go to the Casino and stay on the beach, so maybe it’s them who make the atmosphere of this beach original and a bit different from other beaches.

You will find there many restaurants and bars that are opened all year round, but attention to their price! It’s always “the price for foreigners”.

From Lisbon

Take the suburban train (CP) at Cais do Sodré station, get off at Estoril station. The journey takes 35 mins. Then walk 1 min.

4.  Praia das Avancas

Always on the Cascais train line, a 10 mins’ walk from Parede station takes you to this beautiful small beach surrounded by cliffs. While the beaches that I showed you above are quite touristy, this one has much more local atmosphere.
For example on weekends, there are many “Lisboetas” (Lisbon’s local people) come here to pass their peaceful beach afternoon.

On the beach, there’s only one restaurant-bar where you can admire a great sea view from above. It’s a perfect place to take an imperial (glass beer) with their good petiscos (snacks) sitting on outside terrace.

I really like this beach because there’s always the sun in front of me, from the morning till the sunset, as it is exposed south-west. If sun bathing or tanning is your stuff, you will be really happy here. (But also you will feel really hot)

Some minus points about this beach are, there are many slippy rocks everywhere in the sea so it’s a bit dangerous for children. And the tidal movement is so extreme that you can’t even go in the water to swim when the tide is low.

Would it be boring? Don’t worry, there’s a natural swimming pool next to the beach so you can swim even during low tide.

On the other hand, when it comes to high tide, you have another problem : almost all of this beach sinks under the water. If you stay near the water, you and your belongings will be totally wet. When the water is coming up, everybody starts to hurry up to avoid getting wet and it’s like a war.

To get rid of this kind of stress, it’s better to take your place far from the sea water at the beginning of your beach day, so that you can see the others staying just next to the water and taking their selfies, and give them a smile. Oh, like that you’ll be a real Lisboeta!

From Lisbon

Take the suburban train (CP) at Cais do Sodré station, get off at Parede station. The journey takes 30 mins. Then walk 10 mins.

3.  Praia de Caxias

Near. Quiet. Beautiful. This beach is a perfect place for me.

The first beach that you see after only 15 mins’ train ride from Lisbon, is so near from the train station as well : 10 seconds!

Local families and local couples come here because of its great accessibility, while tourists tend to go further.
There’s no restaurant or bar on the beach so you can simply have a quiet moment. But you mustn’t expect too much the quality of water, because this beach is situated on the spot where the Tagus River flows into ocean… But ten times better than the Tokyo Bay!

You would need to buy your drinks and foods in advance because there’s no restaurant or small shops nearby.

Nevertheless, its accessibility is a big advantage. For example, when you get tired after your long walking in Lisbon, you can just catch a train and 15 mins later, you will be taking rest on the beach!
In fact, the locals start their day at their office or their school and they finish their day on the beach. Life is beautiful!

From Lisbon
Take the suburban train (CP) at Cais do Sodré station, get off at Caxias station. The journey takes 15 mins. Then walk 10 seconds.

2.  Costa da Caparica


Costa da Caparica, one of the most popular beaches for surfers of all over the world never stops attracting them. This is actually the only beach in this article which isn’t on Cascais train line.

To get there, you need to pass the beautiful red bridge – Ponte de 25 Avril, and get to the south shore. Generally, the beaches near Lisbon are more or less small, but not this beach.

If it is your first time to come to Costa da Caparica, you will surely impressed with its long beach like Miami and of course with the beautiful contrast of its white sand and deep blue Atlantic Ocean.

They say you would need a car to get there because there’s no subway line which connects north shore and south shore, when in reality the access is not as bad : there’s a bus company TST which runs regular bus service from Lisbon every 30 mins, and the journey takes just 40 mins.

The beach keeps its tranquility even though there are many restaurants and bars on it, because they are quite far from each other.

You could even see local fishermen sell the fishes that they’ve just fished there, and many birds flying above to snatch some of them… It’s really a cliche of Portugal, isn’t it?

If you want to enjoy a full beach day, this is really a place to go!

From Lisbon

Take the TST bus no.161. They have 3 stops in Lisbon (Near Areeiro station of green line /Near Praça de Espanha station of blue line/Near Alcântara suburban train (CP) station).
The journey takes 30-40 mins.
A round trip ticket costs 3.70€.
For more details : TST official site

1.  Praia São Pedro de Estoril, Estoril

For me, this is by far the best beach near Lisbon, It lets us admire a panoramic view and good quality of water.
The access is simple and easy : always on Cascais Line, 30 mins from Cais de Sodré.

Surrounded by tall cliffs, you would feel as if you were on a hidden beach. You will also realize how quiet it is and how beautiful the water is thanks to its distance from Lisbon.

There are 2 restaurant-bars on the beach and they both offer relax atmosphere and good price. I also like the point that a small grocery shop is easily found just next to the station, to get some food and beers.

When I was there, local kids were playing football on the beach. They couldn’t do the same thing on busier beaches, That made me feel like I was on countryside beach, far from big city. I liked as well that there were fewer families and young guys than the other beaches but there were many people who were alone enjoying their own time.

From Lisbon

Take the suburban train (CP) at Cais do Sodré station, get off at São Pedro de Estoril station. The journey takes 35 mins. Then walk 3 mins.

GOOD TIPS TO ENJOY THE BEACHES IN PORTUGAL

Is there a shower, WC on the beach?

Yes, almost all the beaches have at least one shower (with cold water though) and toilette during summer season (generally June – September) and free to use! 

Attention, they are closed during winter season…

In addition to that, lifeguards are only presented in summer. Swimming of out of summer season is at your own risk!

The water is clean? Could we swim in?  How are the waves?

I have to tell you a fact : the water in Atlantic Ocean is Freezing. You could never imagine how cold it is. (I spent lot of time of my life in Quebec so it’s guaranteed) But yeah, you will get used to it!

Regarding water quality, there’s a good tip to know : “Further from Lisbon, cleaner the water”

There’re some exceptions though, for example the beaches in Cascais or Carcavelos, that more people visit, you will find the water there is not as clean despite their distances from Lisbon : sunscreen and sun oil melting in the water cover its surface. Yes it’s not really comfortable to swim in.

About the waves, they are really strong and high on Atlantic coast, but that’s why many surfers call here “Surfers’ Paradise”

If you just want to swim and get tanned, go to the beaches that is nearer from Lisbon where the waves are much less strong.

From when to when can we swim?

It depends on each year of course, but I have good news for you! Normally we can go to the beach to swim from the middle of March to the end of October. For me personally, when the temperature gets higher than 22℃, it’s a beach day!

Like any other beaches in the world, July and August are the best months to enjoy the beach and the sun in Portugal. We must be ready for pushing through a thousand of tourists to find a good place for sun bathing, and stand up for children’s crying.

I rather recommend you trying the month of May or June. It’s already the summer season in Portugal, with its more-than-25℃ temperature but obviously less crowded before the vacation season.

September is also great time for going to beach, but jellyfishes start to appear. It’s not really my piece of cake to swim with them.

Which area would be better to stay to get easy access to the beach?

Easy question. Stay near Cais do Sodré train station!

This is the terminal station of the subway green line, of some tramways and of the suburban train (CP). You can easily get to Lisbon downtown and the beaches from there.

In Lisbon, the company which runs subways and buses (Carris) and which runs trains (CP) are different. So you have to pay for each journey if you make a connection between these companies.
If you stay near Cais do Sodré, you could choose the transport company depending on your destination, without connection. So you can save some money!

You can also go out by foot to Bairro Alto which is famous for its nightlife. You won’t need to take care about the time to catch the last subway.

To finish

These are the beaches that I talked about in this article!

Almost all the beaches (except Costa da Caparica) are on the north shore, west side of Lisbon.

Lisbon is the capital and the biggest city in Portugal, even though you find beautiful beaches nearby.
As Portuguese history has always been connected to the ocean, beaches are still important things for Portuguese lifestyle and their culture.

When you visit Lisbon, you will certainly want to add a beach day to your bucket list!

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