Eight Beautiful Beaches Near Lisbon

Lisbon is gloriously hot in summer. We’ve picked out the best beaches nearby, from the famous coasts of Cascais and Estoril to lesser-trodden shores and the sands that locals would rather keep secret. They’re easily accessible from Portugal’s capital, and we’ve thrown in directions to make life simple. Find your favourite and dive in.

With its pastel houses, rattling yellow trams and endless, balmy summers, Lisbon is a destination defined by a laid-back way of life and somewhat tropical feel - much of the charm here stems from its proximity to an array of gorgeous, sandy beaches, championed by the world's surfing community.

Jutting out into the roaring Atlantic, many of the beaches which surround the Portuguese capital are wild and unspoiled, their cool waters the perfect remedy to the country's high summer temperatures.

Despite being only a short drive apart, each beach destination has a character of its own thanks to the diverse Portuguese landscape. On the city's southernmost peninsula, the Costa da Caparica is a surfer's paradise, with long stretches of sand thrashed by waves; farther south, the sheltered beaches of Arrábida Natural Park are accessible only by rocky footpaths.

Finding it difficult to choose from these shores? We've composed a selection of the eight best beaches near Lisbon to help you get the most from an excursion to Portugal's sunny coast.

Discover the best beaches near Lisbon - plus, how to get there

Praia de Carcavelos

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.

Praia de Caxias

Caxias

The tiny coastal town of Caxias is one of Lisbon's closest neighbours, only 5km from the city's renowned Belém Tower. Its pint-sized beach - the two halves of which stretch out from either side of the São Bruno Fort - is a secret well-kept from tourists, frequented mainly by sun-seeking locals. Looking east from Caxias beach, Lisbon's ruby-red 25 de Abril Bridge is visible, reaching across the water to the iconic Cristo Rei statue, a great backdrop to your sunbathing spot.

While the water here is not as crystal-clear as some of the more southern beaches, its temperature is slightly less shocking, lapping against the dark rocks which are dotted throughout the shallower waters. The compact size of this beach makes it popular among families, with neighbouring bar Baía dos Golfinhos offering cool drinks, light snacks and, most importantly, shade. A short walk away, El Train Carruagem Bar marks one of the best settings in town; the bar itself is housed in an old-fashioned, forest-green train carriage, settled just next to the railway tracks. A sizeable garden, decorated with white wooden furniture, makes this spot an ideal summer hangout.

How to get there: Caxias can be easily reached from Lisbon directly by train, taking only 15 minutes from Cais do Sodré station. As you step onto the platform, the beach spreads out directly in front of you.

Praia do Tamariz

Estoril

Admired mainly by James Bond fans, Estoril is a coastal town located roughly 25km west of Lisbon. Celebrated as the main filming location for the 1969 blockbuster On Her Majesty's Secret Service, the town retains an air of dazzling, old-fashioned glamour. The Hotel Palacio Estoril remains one of the area's most sought-after locations, popular among visitors who have come for the adjacent casino; its palm-tree-lined pool area and regal, marble bathrooms wouldn't seem out of place in a glitzy Las Vegas hotel.

It is unsurprising, then, that the town's main beach, the Praia do Tamariz, also carries this old-school elegance, bookended by the artistically detailed Forte da Cruz. Another spot which is often overlooked by visitors, this beach is more relaxed than its larger neighbours, its thick white sand dropping fairly steeply into the water. The stone promenade behind Praia do Tamariz is picturesque - particularly at sunset. A small number of beach bars and cafés sit along this pathway, rubbing shoulders with the swankier Reverse Pool & Beach Lounge.

How to get there: Estoril is accessible by a direct train from Lisbon's Cais do Sodré station, taking roughly 35 minutes.

Praia da Conceição

Cascais

Known as the favourite seaside haunt of Portugal's royal family during the 1800s, Cascais today is a popular destination, and also one of the wealthiest areas within the entire Iberian Peninsula. Characterised by its patterned tiles - which seem to echo the movement of the waves - and by its quaint, white houses, Cascais is the perfect day-trip location for anyone looking to escape Lisbon's lively city centre. Its main beach, the Praia da Conceição, is located just outside the historic centre, yet offers a view towards the gaggle of masts and sails which make up the marina. The water here is clear and crisp, with a deep stretch of sand leading towards the lapping waves. The aptly named Bar da Praia sits above the beach, its interior inspired by the light wood of local fishing boats.

How to get there: During the summer, this beach is buzzing with visitors soaking up the blazing Portuguese sun. Spring and autumn are the most tranquil seasons in which to drop by. From Lisbon's Cais do Sodré train station, a direct train to Cascais takes roughly 45 minutes.

Praia dos Galapinhos

Setúbal

Nestled into the dramatic backdrop of the Arrábida Natural Park, through a rugged expanse of wild vegetation, lies the postcard-worthy Praia dos Galapinhos. This tranquil crescent of white-gold sand sits at the foot of a steep incline, tucking it away from civilisation. It is unsurprising that this picture-book beach was awarded 2017's Best Beach in Europe by European Best Destinations; its tropical-island feel is rendered distinctly unique by the dense forest which frames it. Rocks punctuate the icy-blue waters, which stretch out into the vast Atlantic. The water here is calmer than the peninsula's other west-coast beaches with gently lapping waves grazing the soft sand. There is a solitary wooden beach bar which serves drinks and ice creams to anyone craving something cool. Thatched, rustic umbrellas are scattered across one side of the Praia dos Galapinhos, blending seamlessly into the surrounding nature.

How to get there: To access Praia dos Galapinhos from Lisbon, it's easiest to hire a car. The beach is just a 45-minute drive from the awe-striking Vasco da Gama bridge, though it's easiest to park at the Praia da Figueirinha and catch the free shuttle bus 10 minutes along the coast, before clambering down the snaking stairway which leads to the beach.

Praia de São João

Caparica

Azure waters, crashing waves, and whitewashed beach bars define the Praia de São João, a beloved summer haunt for locals and visitors alike. Its natural, untouched feel is brought into the modern world by a range of swanky, Ibiza-inspired beachside restaurants and bars, all of which are surrounded by gently sloping sand dunes and rustling beachgrass. With soft house music echoing through the speakers and the sound of clinking cocktail glasses, the Praia de São João is arguably the most luxurious of all the beaches on the Caparica coastline. Among these bohemian beach clubs are Pé Nú and Clássico, both of which draw revellers with live DJ sets, an extensive cocktail menu and delicious seafood platters. The west-facing location of this beach makes it perfect not only for budding surfers but also sunset-chasers.

How to get there: To get to the Praia de São João from Lisbon there are a number of buses which leave from outside Alcântara-Terra station and go to Caparica, driving over the iconic Ponte 25 de Abril. Alternatively, an Uber costs only between €15 and €20 and takes no longer than 20 minutes.

Praia Fonte da Telha

Caparica

Around 10km south of Praia de São João, the Costa da Caparica is also home to the slightly sleepier Praia Fonte da Telha. At the heart of the Arriba Fóssil Nature Reserve, this beach is backed by rocky cliff faces and dense, green hills. Its beach, much like its northern counterpart, is characterised by a long expanse of soft, golden sand and crashing blue waves. Although this stretch of coast was originally known for being one of the more remote seaside locations in this area, a number of small beach bars and restaurants have set up shop here, making it a favourite location for locals to spend entire weekends during the summer. These bars are open long after the final rays of sunlight have ducked below the water's edge, tempting beachgoers to stay well into the evening.

What renders this part of the coastline unusual, however, is the Transpraia railway which runs along it - a tiny, somewhat rickety train service which reaches the more remote beaches, its tracks embedded into the sand. Running north to south, Praia Fonte da Telha is the final stop of this offbeat transport system, which operates only during the summer months.

How to get there: To get to the Praia Fonte da Telha from Lisbon, it's easiest to take the bus from Praça de Espanha to Caparica, and then catch the Transpraia train down into the nature reserve. Hiring a car is also an ideal way of reaching this particular stretch of coastline.

Praia da Ursa

Sintra

Recognisable by its sharp, distinct rock formations which rise dramatically from the crashing waves, Praia da Ursa is only a short distance from the most Westerly point in mainland Europe: Cabo da Roca. Its rugged wilderness and lack of commercialism have rendered it one of the most beautiful and untouched beaches in Portugal; its beauty, in fact, seems otherworldly, as if set upon an entirely different planet. The beach is popular among keen trekkers and hiking aficionados, its sandy cove notoriously difficult to access. Located as it is, at the centre of the stunning Sintra-Cascais National Park, Praia da Ursa is graced by visitors all year round, the raging winter Atlantic a true spectacle for all nature-lovers. It goes without saying that there are no bars, stores, or restaurants on this unspoiled stretch of sand, so pack a picnic if you plan to spend a day enjoying its dramatic scenery. Make sure to bring trainers or comfortable walking shoes, even in blazing summer temperatures. The descent to the sand is not for the faint-hearted, but the view is worth it.

How to get there: This is one of the least accessible beaches from Lisbon, so you'll need a car to reach the Praia da Ursa. After a 45-minute drive, park the car at nearby Cabo da Roca and hike for around an hour to reach the beach.

Discover More
10 of the Best City Beaches in the World