Whenever the words ‘Portugal’ and ‘beach’ are mentioned together, thoughts instantly turn to the Algarve. And why shouldn’t they? The region does have some truly spectacular beaches. However, the Algarve’s immense popularity does unfortunately mean that some of the country’s other beaches are often overlooked, which is a shame as there are some real hidden gems out there. We recommend exploring the coastal beaches that surround Lisbon for a city break which combines shopping with sea and sand. Here are five of our favourite that can be easily reached from the White City:
Praia da Adraga
The BBC named this as one of the best beaches in Europe, but luckily it remains beautifully unspoilt. With golden sands and stunning rock formations, all you need to do here is relax and take in the scenery, although there is a beachside café should you become peckish. Unfortunately, the beach is quite difficult to access via public transport so you will need a hire car; the scenic route takes you through windy mountain roads along the beautiful rugged Atlantic Coast.
The wild waters of this stunning beach definitely aren’t suitable for swimming. However, they are considered perfect for windsurfing and as a result several world championship tournaments have taken place here. In the early morning and late afternoon when the wind has died down, the beach becomes a Mecca for surfers. If you don’t surf, grab yourself a Caipiroska from Bar do Guincho and just observe the professionals at work.
To reach the beach, take the train from Lisbon Cais do Sodrè Station to Cascais and then a bus from Cascais Villa Shopping Centre.
This is Lisbon’s most popular beach, with its main draw being that it’s so easy to reach from the city: you just need to take the train from Cais do Sodrè station direct to Carcavelos. The 20-minute journey will see you arriving just 700m from the sandy beach.
One of the first things you’ll notice is the large fort of San Julião da Barra, which acts as a backdrop to these waters. Unfortunately, this is owned by the army and not open to the public, but there are many more attractions should you not wish to simply sunbathe. The beach itself is popular with surfers and body boarders and there are three schools close by if you want to try out either sport.
Costa da Caparica
If you were to ask a local to recommend you a beach near Lisbon, they’d probably suggest the Costa da Caparica. That’s if they didn’t want to keep the area all to themselves! In the summer months, the Portuguese flock to this lively resort that few foreign tourists will have heard of. The beach is not only Europe’s longest continuous sandy shoreline, but also home to a number of buzzing bars and nightclubs, although the area gets calmer the further south you go before culminating in the Arriba Fòssil da Costa Nature Reserve. The beach is just a 30-minute bus ride from Lisbon.
Praia das Macãs
For families, there’s nowhere better than Praia das Macãs. This fine white sand resort has a name that translates as “beach of the apples”, but no one’s exactly sure how this came about, as you won’t come across any apple trees here! The beach is best reached from the town of Sintra so that you can travel to it in style on a hundred-year-old tram. The kids will even be impressed with the 50-minute journey! Once you arrive you’ll find several welcoming beach side restaurants and a small swimming pool for the little ones, complete with slides.