Lisbon beaches a quick guide on which, where and how to get there Oeiras, Parede, Carcavelos, Estoril, Cascais and Guincho
Lisbon is a wonderful fast growing, energetic and lively city. It is quickly becoming one of the most popular cities in Europe to visit for short or longer breaks the entire year round. It has a mild climate out of season and a hot climate during the long summer months, it’s coldest months are January and February but even these months though wet and sometimes cold have many sunny warm days where temperatures can reach as high as 20 degrees in the afternoon.
One of the many things that are making it more and more popular are the many great beaches close to the city, easily reached by public transport or car and all with their own history, background and type of tourism this article tries to describe the beaches in a nutshell explaining their unique character so you can explore them more easily!
Lisbon is build on the Tagus river which due to pollution, dangerous streams and the modern busy river traffic is not a place where people are likely to swim but it does make for fantastic views, amazing boat trips and water side terraces right in the centre of Lisbon.
Going a short way out of Lisbon in the west coast direction will provide you with much opportunity of finding great beaches popular among locals and easily reached by car or public transport.
The first beach you will see by train or car in the direction of Cascais is the Paço de Arcos beach and even though this is still on the tagus river you will see the locals swimming there on hot days, people fishing and people searching for clamps as we haven’t explored much of this beach the first one we can suggest is the Oeiras beach 5 minutes from the Paço de Arcos.
The first sea beach out of Lisbon is in Oeiras which is where the tagus meets the ocean on the coast of Estoril. Oeiras is 15 minutes by train from the Lisbon central Cais do Sodre train station and due to it’s closeness to Lisbon is generally one of the busiest beaches amongst Lisbon locals. The sea here is relatively still, the beach quite reasonably sized and has many bars and places to snack. It’s specifically popular amongst families and people on a day break or after work and the town of Oeiras is within walking distance.
The town feels more like a suburb of Lisbon than a town by itself which is what it is but some of the old town is really lovely and has a historical feel to it.
The next beaches on this line are around Parede not very popular amongst tourists as they are mostly stony beaches with small sandy stretches, some difficult to reach and overfull on hot days. But you can be lucky to find an empty hidden place on the rocks where you’ll likely encounter a couple of clamp searching locals while hanging your feet in the water.
After Parede it’s a short distance to Carcavelos
The largest beach is the beach of Carcavelos, the next stop on our Cascais line route.
Carcavelos beach is very popular, very accessible, has a very large parking area and is within walking distance of the Carcavelos train station roughly half an hour from Cais do Sodre.
Carcavelos beach is an energetic beach full of activities from kite surfing to board surfing and paragliding making it as popular with the more ‘active’ people as it is with families. It has a good selection of bars and restaurants, surf schools and companies that provide water, air and land activities.
Carcavelos was a small fishing town in our modern times surrounded by new built flats and con-dominions but some of it’s old charm has remained in the centre.
After Carcavelos the Famous town of Estoril famous for it’s beach, it’s luxury and most of all for it’s Casino, it’s also the town which named the stretch of water on which shores it is build, the Estoril shore.
Estoril beach is within minutes walk of the train station and minutes from many restaurants, bars and yes the casino. It’s a much more expensive area than the Carcavelos area but has a certain charm that attracts many visitors each year.
One of the reasons for Estoril success could be it’s protected bay as it is set behind the stretch of shoreline that houses Cascais and reaches into the bay on the inside and along the west coast on the outside.
From Estoril you can walk on the Boulevard build along the shore straight to Cascais. Estoril and Cascais are as close as you will get to the French Riviera feel in Portugal and in the last years it has gotten to be very popular amongst tourist. Beautiful and speckled with small and larger beaches, restaurants and during the summer months incredible vacation activity. The Boulevard is home to many bars and restaurants and close by hotels and has a wonderful sea view and many areas to swim.
If you want a quiet get away to Cascais than the busy summer months are probably not the best time to travel!
Cascais was once just a small fishing village on the out most point of the bay of the Tagus it has roots that go back to Paleolithic as remains have been found in some of the caves close to Cascais and was occupied by the Romans and Moors in later years. Cascais inherited it’s current status in the late 19th century when King Luís I decided to turn the citadel of Cascais into his summer residence so that the whole Portuguese royal family could enjoy the sea and spent their summer vacation there. As a result Cascais enjoyed many privileges and became a popular residence among the nobels. Cascais was the first in the country to enjoy electricity in 1878 and gained a railway in 1889. Many mansions where built that still remain to this day. Cascais though popular still keeps an air of sophistication and has many hotels and guest houses, some of the better restaurants, many small sandy beaches and is close to the famous west coast beach Guincho, which is wild and beautiful and much loved under surfers.
The train from Cais do Sodre to Cascais takes roughly 30 minutes direct and 40 with stops.
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