Nestled alongside the Atlantic Ocean, Portugal enjoys many seaside benefits, including 956 kilometers of beaches (or 600 miles), and Lisbon is surrounded by some of the most beautiful shores in the country. Visit in the summer, and you’ll see bus stops across the city lined with bathing suit-wearing, umbrella-toting locals and tourists waiting for a ride to some of the closest stretches of sand. Rent a car, and your opportunities will extend even further.
From surfing and SUP (stand up paddle boarding) to sunbathing and picture-taking, these are the best beaches around Lisbon. Some spots are even great for day excursions of hiking followed by cooling down in the waves.
Blue waters like these may be expected from Algarve, but they’re a marvel closer to the capital. Laying in the Serra da Arrábida National Park, this first location is known for inviting visitors to don sneakers, explore the rolling terrain, and then relax one’s muscles on the white, sandy shores. Getting to this piece of heaven is easy and only requires a €2-4 bus fare from Lisbon Oriente Station to the park. If you’re feeling adventurous, hike the rest of the way; otherwise, it’s recommended that you take a taxi. Bring a camera and a picnic, because Portinho da Arrábida is known as one of the most beautiful beaches in Portugal and you may not want to leave, even to eat.
Also within the Serra da Arrábida National Park is the town of Sesimbra, where you will find a few beautiful beaches to lay your towel. Two of the main “town beaches” are the Praia do Ouro (Beach of Gold) and the Praia da Califórnia (California Beach). Don’t head here for surfing, there are other spots with greater waves, but visit Sesimbra’s beaches if you want to swim and relax. We also recommended trying the seafood at one of the local, beachside restaurants since this small village has a big reputation for its fishing industry.
Visit Carcavelos if convenience is more important than size; this fairly small beach is approximately 23 kilometers from the city (depending on where you leave from) in the direction of Cascais. It’s easy to get to by simply jumping on the train (a one-way ticket costs less than €2), so Carcavelos becomes very busy in the summer, and it’s common to see friends and families playing sports by the water. The beachside bars in Carcavelos also get busy during Lisbon’s warmer months. If you’re driving to Carcavelos, pair your visit with an additional stop just north in Parede, another small beach area, to get a stronger feel for the coast before Cascais.
Care for larger waves and protected natural surroundings? If yes, Guincho Beach, off to the side of the Sintra National Park, is for you. It’s known for being windy, so sleeping under the sun’s rays may be difficult with sand pelting your skin, but it’s an ideal location for enjoying water sports. Guincho isn’t the easiest beach to visit by public transportation and requires heading to Cascais before traveling further, but it is a fairly short drive by car. And anyway, a car is the way to travel when lugging around surfboards or other equipment for water-based activities. While visiting, explore the area around Sintra, which is famous worldwide as one of the most mesmerizing and fairytale-like destinations in Portugal and the world.
How does a weekend away from the capital surrounded by “untouched” sand and parks sound? Tróia isn’t the best place to go for a morning or afternoon visit, since it takes a bit of effort to reach, but it is a wonderful spot for an overnight stay. Described as a “resort-style escape“, Tróia comprises 18 kilometers of beach around a peninsula, which takes over an hour to reach from Lisbon. Arriving by ferry from Setúbal is the easiest path. Parts of the beaches in Tróia may be filled with tourists (the areas closer to the port and resorts) but others are much quieter, making Tróia a sandy destination for some quiet time by the seaside. Bring your camera and a sense of adventure, though, because water sports and marine mammal-spotting can be part of the package here (dolphins are sometimes seen).
Directly across the Tejo River from Lisbon is Costa da Caparica, a seaside town that sits beside Almada. The beaches here are among the more convenient from the capital and often compete with the beaches on the way towards Cascais for locals’ attention. Jump on a ferry from Cais do Sodré for the more scenic route, hop on a bus, or drive if you have a car; Costa da Caparica isn’t difficult to visit and while quiet in the off-season, it can get crowded in the summer. At the beaches in Costa da Caparica, sunbathers are among the most common visitors, as are young people and families. It’s a good place to relax with a book, sit at a beach bar and people watch, spend the day with friends, and listen to tunes from DJs that play by the beach bars.
In Tamariz, the waves aren’t the only view you’ll have, since it’s located by a medieval castle on one end and resorts nearby. In general, this is one of the most beautiful beaches closer to Lisbon, located in trendy Estoril, and is a jump off the train on the way to Cascais. If a day of sunbathing hasn’t left you worn out, visit the Estoril Casino afterward for food and entertainment.