The city of Lisbon is full of impressive attractions, like the Belém Tower, Jerónimos Monastery, and Castelo de Sao Jorge. Each is as magnificent as the last, and every tourist should make time to see these sights. But what if you want to escape into nature and hit the beach?
There are countless beaches in and around Lisbon that are perfect for a relaxing getaway. Lounge in the sand, go for a swim or read a good book while you recharge your batteries. Every beach in the area has its own pros and cons, and we’re here to help you make sense of it all.
Before you head out towards the sea, drop your bags off at a Bounce luggage storage location in Lisbon so that they won’t get full of sand. Just don’t forget to take your bathing suit and towel out first! Here are our top picks for the best beach day trips from Lisbon:
Praia dos Galapos
This first beach wins the prize for most scenic. Light sand beaches, greenery-covered cliffs, and crystal-clear waters await you here. This oasis is about an hour south of Lisbon by car, but you can also get the train to nearby Setúbal. With parking at a premium around here in the summer, it’s best to leave the rental car at your hotel.
The waters here are relatively safe for everyone as it sits in a secluded bay that’s quite calm. As you get into the water, there are a few large rocks around, so be careful. But these rocks and the clarity of the water make this spot perfect for snorkeling. Bring your gear, and you can be out there for hours!
When you get tired of the water action, head to one of the two restaurants that line the beach or just simply stroll the sand at sunset.
Praia da Figueirinha
Just next door to Praia dos Galapos is another stunning beach called Praia da Figueirinha. This one is also accessible by train via Setúbal, and this is another family-friendly spot. With a peaceful lagoon and shallow waters, this beach is ideal for kids of all ages and even some not-so-great swimmers. In the summer, there is a lifeguard on duty, which is a nice benefit.
The main section of the beach is wide, and it narrows as you travel to either side of the lagoon. You can expect the standard clear waters and towering green hills here, and if you need a drink or two, there is one cafe that can set you up nicely.
Praia da Ursa
Praia da Ursa is in nearby Sintra on the Atlantic Ocean west of Lisbon. It sits less than an hour from central Lisbon within the Parque Natural de Sintra-Cascais, so the surroundings are lush and well-looked after.
This is the ideal beach day trip for anyone looking for peace and quiet. But there’s a catch. To access the beach, it’s a steep drop down to the water and about a 30-minute walk from the nearest village, Cabo da Roca. And remember, if you go down to the water, you’ll have to come back up.
If this bit of exercise doesn’t turn you off, the reward is a pristine beach free from the hoards of tourists you can expect in other spots. This beach is fairly exposed, which means fabulous sunsets, but it also means you need to use caution when swimming. It’s basically unsheltered, and the waves can change at a moment’s notice.
Praia do Baleal
Further north from Praia da Ursa, you’ll find Praia do Baleal in Peniche. This will take about an hour and 20 minutes to get to by car, which is basically the only way to get here.
This beach is for thrill seekers out there. You won’t find exclusively soft sand and calm seas here. In fact, it’s exactly the opposite. The coastline is rocky in spots, and the waves are larger, especially near the limestone cliffs. While this might not be ideal for a relaxing beach day, it’s perfect for anyone who likes to do water sports or rock climbing.
This beach might be the best of both worlds if your group is divided between adventure and relaxation. Meet up at the end of the day for a fresh seafood meal at one of the many restaurants, and you can tell all your stories.
Praia do Guincho, Cascais
Are you into surfing? If so, this next beach is for you. While Baleal was more for water and land sports, Guincho is perfect for hitting the waves. The large, windswept sandy beach is great to set up for the day as you hop in and out of the water.
Aside from surfers, you’ll also see kitesurfers and windsurfers out here daily, and this will give you an idea of how windy it is.
If you can deal with the wind, one of the main features of Praia do Guincho is that it’s the closest beach on our list to the city center. It will only take you about 35 minutes by car to reach this little slice of heaven, although you’ll feel much farther away.
Praia de Creiro
Also, about an hour from Lisbon by car, Praia de Creiro is our last beach day trip from the city. If you don’t have a vehicle, it’s possible to get here via bus and train, but that will take you upwards of two hours.
Praia de Creiro is your chance to do a beach day right and rent the sun loungers and umbrella, grab some tasty cocktails, and swim as much as you want. There are bathrooms and a lifeguard on duty in the summer to further compound the luxury.
As for the beach itself, this one is covered in light sand, and the waters are oh-so clear. The beach is quite open with a green and hilly backdrop full of typically Mediterranean plants. If you’re feeling energetic, you can wander the beach and easily stumble across two or three of the area’s other stunning beaches connected to this one.
With a beach day trip from Lisbon to suit every taste, you’ll definitely find something here to tempt you away from the city. From peaceful retreats and relaxing family spots to surfing and adventure sport-centric beaches, the sky’s the limit when it comes to sand and water near Lisbon!