Praia de Carcavelos
At the first sign of spring, Lisbon residents grab their beach bags and flock to Carcavelos, the most popular beach north of the River Tagus. Easily accessible by train from the centre of Lisbon, this commercial beach should not be underestimated in its beauty. Its wide expanse of honey-coloured sand is framed by a row of bars and restaurants, which sit along the 1.5km-long promenade above the beach. During summer, these bars are the perfect respite from the blazing sun, serving cocktails, smoothies and such under the shade of wide, red umbrellas.
The relatively gentle waves at Carcavelos make it an ideal spot for budding surfers to learn the basics, with a number of surf schools offering both private and group lessons in English and Portuguese. To the very eastern end of the beach lies a spattering of rocks, leading up to the imposing São Julião da Barra Fort, a 16th-century military defence complex, which originally controlled access to the port of Lisbon.
How to get there: To get to Carcavelos from Lisbon, a direct train runs from the city's Cais do Sodré station, which takes roughly 30 minutes. From Carcavelos train station, it's a 10-minute walk down Avenida Jorge V directly to the beach.