Tamariz Beach, Estoril – Image courtesy of beachescapades.com
Estoril Beach Guide
The beaches of Estoril and Cascais are ideal if you want to stay close to Lisbon. However, for better sand, cleaner water and fewer beachgoers, head west to Praia do Guincho, north to Praia das Maçãs or south to the Costa da Caparica and secluded Praia da Adraga – ranked as one of the best beaches in Europe.
Here is a selection of the best beaches around Estoril, all less than an hour’s drive away.
Praia do Tamariz
Promenade alongside the rich and famous on this picture-perfect, 400m-long golden-sand beach overlooked by a fairytale castle owned by the royal family of Monaco. Facilities include thatched parasols and sun loungers for hire, toilets, showers and a saltwater swimming pool.
The seafront promenade stretches all the way to Cascais – an easy 20-minute stroll – and is lined with restaurants and bars. If you plan to visit from July to mid-September, don’t miss the free fireworks display over the beach every Saturday at midnight.
Praia do Guincho
Discover one of the best surfing, kite and windsurfing spots along the west coast at this kilometre-long beach edged by soft, golden sand dunes. Strong undertows make the waters here dangerous for swimmers and novice surfers. Just 11km from Estoril, there are no facilities on this beach. However you can discover a range of creature comforts at either the Hotel Fortaleza do Guincho – a grand Moorish-style hotel overlooking the beach, or at the oceanfront Estalem Senhora da Guia.
Praia da Adraga
Unwind on one of Europe’s finest beaches – a 400m-long stretch of pristine golden sand surrounded by soaring black cliffs and facing clean, blue waters that swirl around a series of impressive rocky outcrops. There are no facilities here so take your own food and drink.
Hiring a car is the best way to reach this secluded spot on the west coast, lying around 12km west of Sintra and 23km northwest of Estoril.
Praia das Maçãs
Relax on this wide but small 250m-long, family friendly beach that sits beneath a tree-covered headland and a pretty whitewashed fishing village of the same name. Sunbathe on the golden sand or follow walking trails over the headland to nearby Praia Gande.
Facilities include parasols and sun loungers for hire, showers, toilets and lifeguards. There is a range of bars, restaurants and hotels nearby.
Unwind on the golden sand of this 1.4km-long beach framed by dramatic cliffs and offering excellent swimming and surfing conditions. Facilities include parasols and sun loungers for hire, lifeguards and a beachfront Olympic-sized swimming pool. A choice of bars, restaurants and hotels stand nearby. Praia Grande is 24km from Estoril and around 46km from Lisbon.
Ribeira das Ilhas
Discover one of Europe’s top surfing destinations at this wide but small 200m-long beach that nestles beneath grass-covered cliffs. This beach has hosted the pro-World Surfing Championship since 1985. Facilities include lifeguards during summer and a beachside bar and restaurant.
Follow the cliff-top path south to the village of Ericeira. Here you can stroll narrow streets lined with whitewashed and pastel-painted houses to the magnificent Palacio Nacional de Mafra, with its domed basilica and treasure trove of priceless contents, including a 40,000-book library dating back hundreds of years.
Come for a day or stay longer at the luxurious 4-star Hotel Vila Galé. Ericeira is located around 50km northeast of Lisbon and 64km north of Estoril.
Costa da Caparica
Choose from several beaches that merge together on this popular 30km stretch of coast, flanked by sand dunes and towering sandstone cliffs further south.
For the best beaches with the most facilities, head to Praia da Cabana do Pescador, Praia da Morena and Praia da Sereia: all offer soft golden sand for sunbathing; clean, calm water for swimming; sun loungers and parasols for hire; and beachside bars with music, sofas and even massages.
Come for a day or stay longer at the Costa da Caparica Hotel or the Vip Praia do Sol Hotel.
Costa da Caparica offers the best beaches close to Lisbon and is located on the south bank of the river Tagus, around 17km from the city. Caparica town, which is only a five-minute walk from the beach, has a frequent bus service from Lisbon's Praça de Espanha terminal.
From June through September a small, open-air, narrow-gauge train travels along an 8km coastal route, making 20 stops at beaches along the way.
Lagoa de Albufeira
Discover a wide golden-sand beach that offers a choice of swimming in the sea or in the calm waters of a sheltered lagoon surrounded by bush-clad sand dunes. Other than a bar-restaurant, there are no facilities on this unspoiled beach. Lagoa de Albufeira is located just south of the Costa da Caparica, around 36km south of Lisbon.
Praia do Meco
Flanked by low cliffs and sand dunes, this long stretch of secluded, unspoiled beach shelves into a turquoise sea perfect for swimming. Facilities include parasols for hire, a beachside bar and a restaurant. The beach is easily reached from Lisbon by bus via the nearby village of Santana. Praia do Meco is around 40km south of Lisbon.
Portinho da Arrábida
Sunbathe on this idyllic, 900m-long, golden-sand beach that shelves gently into the crystalline blue waters of a calm bay perfect for swimming, snorkelling and diving around the bush-clad headlands. Facilities include parasols, sun loungers and sea kayaks for hire in summer. A selection of bars and restaurants compete for trade at the west end of the beach.
Follow a hilltop path east to the tiny and secluded Praia Coelhos, then continue on around another forest-clad headland to the picture-perfect white sands of Praia Galapinhos. Together these beaches make up one of the most scenic beach areas around Lisbon. They are located around 48km away from the city – an easy 50-minute drive.
Praia do Sesimbra
Pick your spot to sunbathe on this 2km-long beach that curves around a calm bay beneath the whitewashed town of Sesimbra. Facilities include parasols, sun loungers and sea kayaks for hire, as well as the services of lifeguards. A choice of nearby bars, seafood restaurants and hotels line the beachfront promenade. The attractive hillside village of Sesimbra is around 38km south of Lisbon.