Costa de Lisboa – Beaches near Lisbon

Enjoying the sun on the beach might not be the first thing that comes to mind when you think of Lisbon. After all, you visit Lisbon for the city itself, with all its attractions and delightful eateries. But don’t be mistaken! Along the Costa de Lisboa, there are plenty of praias to be found around Lisbon!


If you decide to spend a day at the beach, rest assured that it’s not complicated to find yourself lying on the warm sand with your towel and parasol (if you have one) in no time. It’s very easy to get to a beach using public transportation. If you are a fan of rugged beaches, you will generally need a car or an Uber. There are usually buses to the smaller beaches on the west coast, but those bus services often start in Sintra or Cascais. Of course, you can also stay near the beach; here are our favorite places to stay.

Check here for the best beaches according to We Heart Lisbon

Costa de Lisboa: from calm waters to rough surf

The Costa de Lisboa consists of rocky bays, long sandy beaches, dune areas, and forests. The coastline is very diverse and stretches over a long area, from Nazaré in the north to Setúbal in the south.

Between Cascais and Lisbon, the sea is calm and the beaches are accessible for families. You will find many smaller beaches, bordered by marinas, rocky areas, or forts. Praia Carcavelos is one of the few large beaches in this region. Beaches in Cascais, Estoril, and Caxias are all located on the banks of the Tagus River: the water is calm and there are almost no waves. With a bit of stronger wind, you might get waves just about a meter high.


If you’re looking for rougher seas, where you can dive into the waves or ride your bodyboard through the surf, choose a beach on the Atlantic Ocean on the west coast. Especially at Praia do Guincho, it can get rough. This beach is slightly less suitable for swimmers. Praia do Guincho is particularly popular with surfers.

The beaches you’ll find along the Costa de Lisboa aren’t what we’re used to, with beach bars and the like, or close to a city or village. It’s quite variable along the Costa de Lisboa. There’s often a restaurant, café, or quiosque available, but they’re usually located at the beginning of the beach.

Portugal beach tips: safe swimming with flags, colors, whistles, and poles

At the guarded beaches in Portugal, a color-coded system with flags is used:

    • Red flag means danger; swimming is prohibited.
    • Yellow flag means caution is advised.
    • Green flag means it is safe to enter the sea.

    If there is a white and blue checkered flag alongside the flag, it means there is temporarily no supervision. On many beaches, you will see orange poles. These poles mark the areas where lifeguards keep an eye on everyone. It is wise to always swim within these poles because they are there for a reason. The area between the poles is the safest for swimming. If you choose to swim outside of these areas, do not be alarmed if the lifeguard blows a whistle loudly.

    Most beaches along the coast between Lisbon and Cascais usually fly the green flag, indicating calm seas where you can venture far out. If you’re heading into the Atlantic coast, beware of strong winds and treacherous undercurrents.

    Topless sunbathing is permitted on the beach, but it’s not recommended at family-friendly beaches like Praia Adraga. It’s more common on the beaches at Costa da Caparica and Cascais.

    Check here for the best hotels by the Atlantic Ocean according to We Heart Lisbon

    According to We Heart Lisbon, these are the most enjoyable beaches around Lisbon.

    • Azenhas do Mar – a village nestled against the cliffs, surrounded by a rugged beach with towering rocks that characterize the coastal landscape. This location is among the most beautiful spots on the Costa de Lisboa. Definitely worth a drive to get here.
    • Praia do Carcavelos – a beloved beach among local youth, stretching over 1.5 kilometers. Sunbathers, swimmers, and surfers gather here. It gets crowded in the summer and on sunny weekends. Equipped with good facilities, including ample paid parking and several restaurants. Easily accessible by train from Lisbon.
    • Praia do Guincho – a true paradise for surfers, known for its high waves and numerous surfing events. But it also attracts hikers to this beach. Opposite, there is an extensive dune area with wooden pathways, accessible for wheelchairs.
    • Costa da Caparica – Lisbon’s summer paradise! For refreshment, sea, beach, and entertainment, take the bus to Costa da Caparica. This beach is the most famous among locals of all the beaches around Lisbon. With plenty of space, extensive amenities, it’s the ideal beach destination.
    • Praia Grande – a beloved beach among youth, particularly known for surfing. It is one of the largest beaches on the Costa de Lisboa, often visited for the excellent surfing opportunities it provides.
    • Praia das Maçãs – located next to the village and offers direct access to numerous dining options. This child-friendly beach has calm waters and an extensive sandy area for relaxation. For added fun, there is also a playground and an outdoor swimming pool available.
    • Praia da Adraga– Local favorite! Praia da Adraga is an ideal family beach, perfect for cooling off between the rocks and the rugged sea. At low tide, the sea caves are also accessible for a walk.
    • Praia da Ursa – a beautiful small beach nestled among rocks, near Cabo da Roca. Halfway along the road to Cabo da Roca, turn right onto the dirt road. After a few hundred meters, there is a parking lot. From there, it’s still a challenging half-kilometer walk downhill. For adventurers!
    • Praia do Magoito – Near the small village of Magoito lies a beautiful beach, surrounded by impressive rocks. Praia do Magoito is a favorite among the locals, who like to spend entire days here in the summer.
    • Cascais and its many beaches – Cascais, an old fishing village on the Tagus River, has several beautiful urban beaches where locals seek refreshment on hot days. These beaches not only offer refreshment but also stunning views of the coastline and surrounding nature.
    • Meco – About forty kilometers south of Lisbon, within the Serra da Arrabida nature park, lies the nudist beach Meco. This beach, one of the cleanest in the region, offers high cliffs and stunning views of the bay. Known since the seventies as one of the first nude beaches, Meco maintains its secluded and popular status among European nudists.
      For those who prefer not to be completely nude, there are also parts of the beach where wearing swimwear is allowed. Families are often found here. The beach is located near a traditional fishing village and is accessible by various bus lines from Praça de Espanha to Meco village. The bus journey takes about 3 to 4 hours, but by car, you can get there in just 60 minutes.
    • Frequently Asked Questions About the Beach

    If it’s still not entirely clear to you, below we’ll address the questions we’ve seen most frequently when it comes to beaches.

    Which beach is closest to the center of Lisbon?

    You can, of course, go to the beach on the Tagus River. At Praça do Comércio, you’ll find a small urban beach, Ribeira das Naus, but swimming is not allowed there. For a real beach, you’ll need to take a fifteen-minute train ride to Praia do Carcavelos. You can also go to Costa da Caparica, which is on the other side of the Ponte 25 de Abril bridge.

    Which beaches are suitable for children? If you want to go to the beach with children, Carcavelos, Oeiras, and Cascais are particularly suitable. Basically, everything between Lisbon and Cascais. These beaches are on the Tagus River and are quieter than the beaches on the west coast, where the waves can be quite wild. Costa da Caparica is an exception, the sea here is usually quite calm at the beginning.

    What are the wildest and most spectacular beaches near Lisbon? For spectacle, you definitely want to go to Praia da Adraga and Praia da Ursa. Adraga may be easy to reach but usually has quite wild waves. Praia da Ursa also has that, but can only be reached on foot via a steep rocky path. How adventurous do you want to get?

    Where should you go if you want to do a bit of surfing? For real surfers, there’s always Praia do Guincho, also known as the surfer’s beach. Why? It’s practically always windy here, which is reflected in the waves. They’re not as extreme as in Nazaré, so even non-professionals can handle them.

    Where should you go if you have a car available? We always enjoy going to Praia do Magoito, about three quarters of an hour from Lisbon, just past Sintra. This beach has everything: beautiful sand, a stream flowing into the sea, and a sea where you can swim quite comfortably.