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Lisbon’s historic calçada-coated streets, vintage yellow trams, and fairy-tale palaces promise a plethora of postcard-worthy vistas for any visitor. But the beaches in Lisbon and nearby are also deserving of more than a fleeting visit.

Whether you prefer swathes of golden sand, near paradisiacal verdant bays, or dramatic surf-break beaches, skip the handkerchief-sized sandbank near Ribeira das Naus in the city center and follow the Tagus River towards the Atlantic.

Providing a perfect pause after traversing the seven hills which form Portugal’s capital city, or a dreamy day-trip escape to lounge on golden sands and sample local seafood, you’ll quickly realize why Lisboetas can’t resist the call of the ocean.

Here are 15 of the best beaches in Lisbon.

Praia de Galápos, Setúbal

Aerial view of Praia de Galápos, Setúbal

Praia de Galápos, Setúbal

Tucked away in the protected forested area of Parque Natural da Arrábida, located in the Setúbal peninsula, one of Portugal’s best beaches is less than an hour from downtown Lisbon.

A handful of the dazzling beaches that Portugal is known for define this stretch of coastline, although Praia de Galápos is arguably the most splendid.

The crescent-shaped bay of light-golden sands and crystal-clear waters, which wouldn’t look amiss in the Caribbean, invites you to lounge, dip your toes in the refreshing Atlantic waters, and cool down with an ice-cold beer.

Lush hills towering over Praia de Galápos, Setúbal

Praia de Galápos, Setúbal

Thanks to the rising green hills all around the bay, there is a true sense of natural paradise to be found at Praia de Galápos. Unsurprisingly, this beach is extremely popular with locals on weekends and after work, so a morning or mid-week visit will allow for a quieter experience at one of the best beaches near Lisbon.

Costa da Caparica, Almada

Aerial view of Costa da Caparica, Almada

Costa da Caparica, Almada

Surfers, families, and tanning fans all flock to this sun-kissed stretch of sand that spans nearly 20 miles along the Almada coastline.

Almada, the city across the Tagus River from Lisbon, is most recognized for its towering statue of Christ looking down over the capital. Yet it’s also home to some of the best beaches in Lisbon.

Red Ponte 25 de Abril bridge

Ponte 25 de Abril Bridge

A short drive over the Ponte 25 de Abril bridge or a ferry from Cais do Sodré will transport you to the closest beach on the shoreline, Praia da Cova do Vapor. For the best beaches on the peninsula, though, you’ll want to head further into the Costa da Caparica proper.

Praia do Dragão Vermelho is a livelier spot to lay down your towel, with a good selection of facilities such as showers and beach bars. The small suburb offers little stores, restaurants, and surf schools, so you’ll find plenty to entertain yourself in the hottest hours of the day.

Top view of Fonte da Telha

Fonte da Telha, Almada

If you have a car and want to find an even more peaceful slice of the coast, venture to tree-backed Fonte da Telha, where crowds are much less likely.

Praia do Guincho, Cascais

Large waves in Praia do Guincho, Cascais

Praia do Guincho, Cascais

Just three miles beyond the well-heeled municipality of Cascais, the wild energy of Praia do Guincho is a striking contrast to the luxury hotels and restaurants in the old town. Cascais is certainly one of the country’s most premium getaways to enjoy the beaches near Lisbon.

While the crashing Atlantic waves along this stretch of the Estoril coast have made this beach a famous home for both windsurfing and surf championship competitions, the rolling sand dunes backing the shoreline create an interesting attraction even if you don’t want to ride the waves.

Sand dunes of Praia do Guincho, Cascais

Praia do Guincho, Cascais

Follow the peaceful boardwalk track, which goes between the protected dunes, to find a handful of information signs pointing out local flora and fauna along the way before settling in at the beach bar.

Juicy fresh king prawns paired with a crisp Lisbon white wine are the perfect accompaniment to watching the surfers ride the waves.

Praia da Ursa, Sintra

Praia da Ursa, Sintra, one of the best beaches in Lisbon

Praia da Ursa, Sintra

If you’re keen on adventure, the rugged descent to Praia da Ursa will bring you to one of the most striking beaches in Lisbon’s metropolitan area.

Accessed by a steep and slightly challenging path, the jagged rocks rising from the waters of this secluded bay are nothing short of showstopping. A true secluded haven in the verdant Sintra park, in recent years, this beach has become a photographer’s favorite.

Clear water of Praia da Adraga, Sintra

Praia da Adraga, Sintra

For a sample of Sintra’s dramatic beaches without the steep climb, nearby Praia da Adraga, while not as dramatic, provides a similar alternative.

View of Cabo da Roc from the cliffs

Cabo da Roc

A short walk from Praia da Ursa will bring you to the windswept point of Cabo da Roc—one of the best hikes in Europe—marking the westernmost point of mainland Europe. From the lighthouse, feel the breeze of the Atlantic rush over you, with only the never-ending cerulean blues of the ocean beyond the cliff edge.

Praia de Alburrica, Barreiro

Shoreline of Praia de Alburrica, Barreiro

Praia de Alburrica, Barreiro

Hop aboard the Barreiro ferry service leaving from downtown Lisbon, and take a relaxed 20-minute journey across the River Tagus. Dolphins have recently started returning to the river, so keep your eyes peeled to try and spot some playing alongside the boat.

While Barreiro isn’t the most charming neighborhood, you’ll have the chance to see a much less commercial side of the Lisbon area and can sample fresh fish, straight off the boat.

Windmill on Praia de Alburrica, Barreiro

Windmill

As a river beach, Praia de Alburrica is better protected from the tides and the elements, making it a serene setting to lounge on the sand while enjoying views across Lisbon.

The most remarkable aspect of this beach is the three picturesque white windmills that rise from the sand, creating a unique photo opportunity.

Praia de Carcavelos, Estoril

Sandy beach of Praia de Carcavelos, Estoril

Praia de Carcavelos, Estoril

One of the closest and therefore most popular beaches in Lisbon, especially at the weekend, Praia de Carcavelos is easily reached by the coastal train line departing from Cais do Sodré.

Historic São Julião da Barra Fort towering over the beach

São Julião da Barra Fort, Estoril

Under the watchful eye of 16th-century São Julião da Barra Fort, one of many fortified city protections which remain along the river, you’ll find a spacious sandy shoreline and an attractive choice of cafes and restaurants.

If you wish to get out on the water, you can hire kayaks from the nearby Marina of Oeiras. You’ll also find an outside swimming pool at the Marina, an excellent option for those who wish to bathe but not in the Tagus.

Praia de Caxias, Oeiras

Deep blue water of Praia de Caxias, Oeiras

Praia de Caxias, Oeiras

Praia de Caxias is the closest proper beach to the city center, excluding the small and not overly inviting Cruz Quebrada beach. In only 20 minutes, you can be paddling in the shallow waters, an attractive option to cool down between monument-hopping.

Historic site of Forte de São Bruno, Oeiras

Forte de São Bruno, Oeiras

The star-shaped 17th-century Forte de São Bruno sits at one end of the patch of golden sand, while Forte da Giribita guards the other end of the beach. A small restaurant, Baía dos Golfinhos, serves seafood and snacks, making this an easily accessible option for a lunch-and-lounge break early afternoon.

Read: What to Eat in Lisbon

Praia das Azenhas do Mar, Sintra

Cliffside view of Praia das Azenhas do Mar, Sintra

Praia das Azenhas do Mar, Sintra

Sintra is renowned for colorful fairy-tale palaces and regal residences, yet in recent years, this cluster of white-washed homes perched on a cliff edge has become something of a poster child for the region.

Rising dramatically from the ocean, the tiny village of Azenhas do Mar is a sight to behold. The breathtaking view of waves crashing into the beach’s tidal pool, coupled with the enchanting vistas of the village and cliffs, ensure this is one of the most sensational beaches in Lisbon.

Village of Azenhas do Mar, Sintra

Azenhas do Mar, Sintra

You won’t need more than a few minutes to explore the village before descending the staircase to the beach. Try to time your visit with the low tide, as more beach space will be available to spread out on.

Praia da Oura, Sesimbra

Praia da Oura, Sesimbra - one of the best beaches in Lisbon

Praia da Oura, Sesimbra

Sesimbra is sometimes overlooked when considering the best beaches in Lisbon’s vicinity, partly due to not being connected by train. Yet the turquoise waters and stretch of golden sand that fronts the town is one of the finest day trips from the capital.

Less than an hour’s drive from Lisbon, the Blue Flag awarded a Praia do Ouro (and the other three beaches close by) provide plenty of space to top up your tan and bathe in the inviting waters of the gently curved bay.

View of Forte de Santiago by the beach

Forte de Santiago, Sesimbra

Little streets of murals and seafood restaurants lead inland from the beach, the remaining symbols of the fishing village this once was. A handful of historical architectural sights can be visited, such as the beach-front Forte de Santiago, home to a small museum and shaded café, and the Moorish castle, a national monument, which stands high above Sesimbra.

Be sure to bring comfortable walking shoes if you plan to visit both the castle and the beach.

Read: Three Days in Lisbon

Praia da Figueirinha, Setúbal

Fine sands of Praia da Figueirinha, Setúbal

Praia da Figueirinha, Setúbal

While all the beaches in the Serra da Arrábida are deserving of a mention, this little gem of shallow waters is a true find. At low tide, a slither of sand leads out from the beach towards the deeper cerulean-hued waters, providing something of a novelty.

Setúbal is famous for its seafood, especially the local delicacy of choco frito, a fried cuttlefish dish. At weekends, the town’s restaurants draw extensive queues of people for lunch.

As a general rule, the best dishes are usually found closer to the port area than in the more snack-focused bars along the beachfront.

Praia do Saisa, Oeiras

Dark blue water of Praia do Saisa, Oeiras

Praia do Saisa, Oeiras

Also known as Praia de Santo Amaro, this fine-sized stretch of soft sand is backed by two leafy gardens, offering plenty of shady spots to enjoy a picnic or escape the heat.

Protected by two breakwaters at either end, the calm waters provide some of the best swimming in Lisbon, especially for families. You can rent sunbeds and sun shades from the concession stand, and public changing rooms are provided complimentary.

Forte de São João das Maias by the beach

Forte de São João das Maias, Oeiras

As with the neighboring beaches, an old naval protection site, Forte de São João das Maias, can be admired at the far end of the beach. Unlike some other forts, which are in disrepair, this 17th-century defense has been renovated, making it one of the most interesting to admire from the outside.

Aerial view of Praia de Paço de Arcos

Praia de Paço de Arcos, Oeiras

If you continue along the oceanfront promenade beyond the fort towards Praia de Paço de Arcos, a further protected swimming bay can be found and is often quieter than the main beach.

Praia das Maçãs, Sintra

Rocky coastline of Praia das Maçãs, Sintra

Praia das Maçãs, Sintra

Jump aboard the vintage red tram line from Sintra for a memorable arrival to Praia das Maçãs, situated at the mouth of the Colares River.

Sandy beach of Praia das Maçãs, Sintra

Praia das Maçãs, Sintra

The triangle of sand is framed by a handful of bars and restaurants, while the municipal farmers market is a great spot to craft a picnic to enjoy on the beach. For those who prefer to swim without the waves, an outdoor swimming pool complex is moments from the bay.

Before leaving, those with a penchant for Roman history will want to climb the hill to the Alto da Vigia archeological sites. While little remains of these old walls, the fact they were the most western part of the Roman Empire makes for an interesting, if brief visit.

Praia do Tamariz, Cascais

Praia do Tamariz, Cascais, one of the best beaches in Lisbon

Praia do Tamariz, Cascais

Regarded as one of the best beaches in Lisbon on the Costa do Estoril, this stretch of sand has something of a regal feel thanks to the fanciful and grand old houses here.

Around 40 minutes from downtown Lisbon, the ornate, castle-style palace of Forte da Cruz, just back from the sand, makes for a postcard-worthy setting. If the tide is in your favor, the natural pool alongside the pier is a beautiful place to bathe and cool off from the sun.

Soft waves of Praia do Tamariz, Cascais

Praia do Tamariz, Cascais

The beach is well equipped, with lifeguards, showers, and umbrella rental available, and often very busy at weekends. You’ll be spoilt for choice with plenty of restaurants and beach bars close by.

The ocean-hugging path from Praia do Tamariz leads all the way into the historic center of Cascais, so you can easily combine the two.

Praia do Magoito, Sintra

Praia do Magoito, one of the best beaches in Lisbon

Praia do Magoito, Sintra

Surfers and bodyboarders often make a beeline for Praia do Magoito, a stunning beach of steep rising cliffs that will make you feel like you’re on a remote castaway island.

You’ll need to venture a little further beyond Lisbon, just under an hour’s drive, to lay your towel out here but will be rewarded with some geographic wonders alongside topping up your tan.

Cliffs towering over Praia do Magoito, Sintra

Praia do Magoito, Sintra

Strangely solidified “fossil dunes” and paleolithic archeological finds in the cliffs make for a fascinating introduction to how these wind and wave-battered cliffs have been shaped over the millennia.

Praia de Troia Mar, Troia Peninsula

White sand beach of Praia de Troia Mar, Troia Peninsula

Praia de Troia Mar, Troia Peninsula

The Troia Peninsula has somehow remained something of a secret. However, the inviting white sands backed by untouched flora and fauna are some of the most serene and picturesque in all of Portugal.

White sand beach of Praia de Troia Mar, Troia Peninsula

Praia de Troia Mar, Troia Peninsula

Being a two-hour drive from the city (you can also cross on the car ferry from Setubal), these beaches near Lisbon will take a little more effort to reach.

The dreamy setting, with views over the Serra da Arrábida and lapping waves that often welcome dolphins, makes the slightly longer trip more than worthwhile.

Waterfront of Lisbon

Lisbon

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