Best Lisbon Beaches

I absolutely love the beach. And, being born and raised in Lisbon, I am fortunate to have spent many happy summers by the sand and the sun, enjoying some great seaside places around my city. Of course I have my favorites! Today I am pleased to share with you what are, in my opinion, the Best Lisbon Beaches.

Hidden Spots

Ribeira do Cavalo beach: a hidden gem just 1 hour from Lisbon.

I really enjoy being around people. But sometimes, specially in this day and age, it’s great to find a hidden spot and get away from all the crowds. Just one hour south from the city center, the Sesimbra region has some of the best quiet and beautiful beaches in the country.

One of my favorites is the Praia da Ribeira do Cavalo. For many years, this small, sandy beach was a hidden secret. It’s not easy to get there. You either walk a narrow trail embedded in the cliffs or you reach it by boat. Either way, it is very well worth the trouble. Crystal turquoise waters and white sand await and, with a bit of luck, there is not a lot of other beachgoers. And if you like to post beautiful pictures on social media, this is the place for you.

At the Samarra beach, in Sintra, the main challenge is to spot someone.

Sintra, with its forests, palaces and coastline, is one of the most popular areas in Portugal. But even in the peak of Summer, you can find some beaches to call your own. The Samarra is a good example. Nested between cliffs, this small stretch of sand is a fine bet for those looking for a place to relax. Getting there can be a bit of a challenge, due, again, to the narrow trails. My advice is to wear comfortable footwear. When you reach the waterside, just stop, feel the breeze and enjoy.

Family Fun

The Figueirinha waters are perfect for a swim.

Sometimes, choosing a beach is a family affair. Kids don’t want to walk for miles and expect to find perfect waters to swim and splash. The Figueirinha beach, on the Arrábida National Park has been, for decades, a favorite spot of my own family. Getting there is easy: you just have to drop your car nearby and take the bus that leaves you in front of the ocean. No parking fuss, no worries.

The water has little to no surf. So, small kids can really enjoy themselves and you can do too, because there are several lifeguards posts on the white sand. When it’s time to have a snack or a drink, the most pratical way is to choose one of the beach huts or the local restaurant.

A fisherman’s hut at the Praia da Saúde, Costa da Caparica.

On the list of Best Lisbon Beaches you have to include at least one in the Costa da Caparica region, south of the city. Stretching for more than 40K (25 miles), this coastline connects the mouth of the river Tagus to the Espichel Cape and it is deservedly known as one of the best urban beach areas in the World.

With so many spots available, my choice goes, again, to a personal classic. The Praia da Saúde has good access, camping sites nearby, enough parking, an efficient public transportation network, several places to have a meal and an overall family friendly atmosphere.

Hipster vibes

Authenticity is still present at the Meco beach.

Ask someone from Lisbon about a beach where you can find a mix of authenticity and hipster vibes and, probably, one of the most common answers will be: Meco. Again in the Sesimbra region, the area is preserved from the big Summer crowds and presents a relaxed and feelgood atmosphere. No wonder that it was here that one of the first nudist beaches in the country was established.

Many people from the city own a weekend or summer home in this area, just about 90 minutes from downtown Lisbon. This means that it is relatively easy to find a place to stay, at reasonably prices. The food scene and cultural offer are also two of the main attraction points.

Sports crazy

Guincho beach is a Mecca for surf and other sports

For me, going to the beach means lounging on a chair and soaking up the sun. But it also means playing some kind of sport. Some of the Best Lisbon Beaches are known precisely for their sport ativities.

Guincho beach, between Cascais and the Sintra mountains, is a true Mecca for all kinds of sports. Opened to the mighty Atlantic, it has strong winds almost every day and it’s the perfect set for surf, kitesurf and windsurf practice. Today, several different championships are held there and if you feel inspired, why not take some lessons?

Surfing at sunset is possible in Carcavelos.

Carcavelos is one of the most popular beach spots in the Lisbon area. Located roughly halfway between Lisbon and Cascais – and with one college campus next to it -, it is known for the good accesses, either by car or public transportation, and great facilities, including sport ones.

Besides all the water sports – surf, windsurf, bodyboard or stand-up paddle – , in the golden sand of Carcavelos you can also play volleyball, footvolley, football (soccer) and beach tennis. Just be aware that the area can become crowded, specially during the weekend. My advice? Get there late in the afternoon and enjoy yourself until the sunset.

Sea and be seen

Rainha beach, in central Cascais.

The Portuguese royal family knew it, since the XIX century, and so do we: Cascais has some of the most beautiful beaches in the Lisbon area. And they are perfect if you love to feel that you are in the center of things. No wonder that Portugal’s President lives in this area.

Right next to the central, usually crowded, and often presidential, Praia dos Pescadores, you can find the Rainha, or Queen’s Beach. Fit for a monarch, some people call it the “pearl of the Portuguese Riviera”. Picturesque, sophisticated, it shares the Old World charm of its surrondings. Definitely, one of the many places in the region where you can Sea and Be Seen.

Summer with us

Spending a day at the beach is a great way to enjoy the hot weather months. However there are a lot of other fun and interesting things to do in and around the city. Here you can discover all of Lisbon Top Summer Attractions, curated by our team. Or you can tell us exactly what you want to do, when and where, and we will take care of everything. Just reach out to Your Friend in Lisbon and let us know. If it is your wish, we promise to include one or more Lisbon Best Beaches!

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