If you don’t have to time to drive all the way down to Algarve region with its beautiful beaches, which might also be a little too crowded in the summer, drive your rental car on one-day trips and visit the hidden gems right around the corner of Lisbon.You have many beaches around Lisbon to choose from.
#1 Praia dos Galapinhos
This beach is the closest to Lisbon (approximately 55km) on the other side of the river Tejo near Setúbal. Your direction is Serra da Arrábida and there are two options from Lisbon either to cross the Vasco da Gama Bridge or the 25 de Abril Bridge.
Since the road to the beach is closed in the summer, there is a bus service from the car park and a few more narrow steps down the cliff by foot. Have comfortable shoes and you’ll see it’s all worth it if you adore spending time on the beach. After all, it was voted Europe's most beautiful beach in 2017.
The beach is surrounded with green woods which make the beautiful frame. The length of the beach is small, with 550 meters long and a strip of sand to the sea of 60 meters, giving that feeling that you are on a private beach. Praia dos Galapinhos in Portugal is ideal for people who are looking for a quiet place with a breath-taking view.
In comparison to Atlantic beaches, this beach around Lisbon has low tides, the water is crystal clear and perfect for swimming and snorkelling. There is also a refreshment bar (and a couple of restaurants on the opposite end) that offers chair and umbrella rental and most important ice-cream.
#2 Praia da Adraga
North from Lisbon in the Sintra-Cascais Natural Park you can visit the Adraga beach, Praia de Adraga. It is enclosed in the green hills with dramatic cliffs sculpted by the sea and not as crowded as its neighbours, Praia das Maçãs and Praia Grande.
Since there is no public transport, you can go with your rental car and it is only a 40minute drive from Lisbon. You can drive there through the beautiful city of Sintra, a small picturesque town with ancient castles and stunning scenery where the highlight of your trip can be the beautiful Palácio da Pena. Or you can turn south through Sao Domingos de Rana and enter the Natural park from south side. At the town of Almoçageme turn left and follow this road for a further 2km, the beach is well signed. There is a car park by the beach.
On Praia da Adraga you can enjoy a meal or coffee in the restaurant but be sure to make reservations in the summer months.
The golden sand is waiting for you, visit Praia da Adraga to enjoy the waves and the breeze.
#3 Praia de Comporta
Across the river from Lisbon and again across the water from Setubal lies the Tróia Peninsula, a 20 km long spit of sand that stands between the Sado estuary and the Atlantic Ocean. Around 120km from Lisbon, Comporta beach is located at the southern end of this spit with little but sand dunes and pine forest beyond. The whole area is a part of Estuário do Sado Nature Reserve which covers around 12.500 hectares and 7 villages and there are plenty of activities you can do. For example, bird watching (they have flamingos!) and watching dolphin of Sado.
To get to the beach you can use the Waze App which takes on this beautiful scenery road, where you pass hundreds of cork oaks, stork nests, rice paddies, sandy fields and finally you arrive at the beach. It stretches as far as your eyes can see, so you can go a few hundred meters further and have the luxury of the beach to yourself. Some Portuguese say it is the best beach in Portugal.
The Praia de Comporta offers also kiosks selling sandwiches and drinks, two restaurants and if you like the shade there are umbrellas and sun chairs too.
#4 Praia de Dunas (Baleal to Peniche)
Praia de Dunas near Peniche is something you have never seen before. It stretches from the Baleal to Peniche island. Baleal with red rooftop houses on the rough rocks offers great scenery and the best view of Atlantic waves all the way to Peniche.
The beach is situated 100km from Lisbon which is a good hour drive. You can take the A8 (this road has tolls) and turn left to IP6 just before Óbidos. We propose you make a small turn and visit the charming town Óbidos with narrow-cobbled streets, traditional painted houses, and an imposing medieval castle. The town can be walked around, and you can taste the Ginjinha d’Obidos, a sweet alcoholic liqueur, which is often served in a chocolate cup.
The beach from Baleal to Peniche is a great place for every surfer as there is something for everyone. Easy waves for beginners, steady ones and bigger ones for advanced surfers. But the long stretch of the beach offers also a meditative stroll or many playing options for families with kids since the water doesn’t get too deep too fast. The locals and the visitors recommend this beach since it offers many restaurants and bars and plenty of parking options. As everywhere in Portugal, you can also take a swim, but beware the Atlantic has colder temperatures.
#5 Praia da Ribeira do Cavalo
This paradise is only 40km from Lisbon. It is one of the best-kept secrets of Portugal. It is in Sesimbra and, to get there, it is necessary to walk a footpath through the hills for about 15-20 minutes. But it is well worth the effort. The place is calm and pleasant, the sea is calm and the water crystalline, of intense and exotic colours.
To find your way there go to the west side of the village Sesimbra to the port of the city. Next, to the Naval club, there is a gravel road on the right which leads us through the hills to a place with several boulders. You should leave your car there on continuing on foot for about 15-20 minutes. The path is somewhere marked with green lines in the rocks. The descent is steep, but the view is breathtaking and the urge to get to the beach is enormous.
It is said that it resembles the beaches of the Caribbean, perhaps by the colours of blue and green that shine in the middle of the grove from the top of the slope. To enjoy it, bring your backpack with all necessities for a day (there is no bar or lifeguards) and wear shoes suitable for hiking. In some cases, you need to climb the rock, but it is worth all the effort. You’ll be surprised! And since it is not very accessible, it keeps its silence and a unique sense of closeness to nature. It is a pure, exotic and wild beach.
If you not as adventurous as some, but want a memorable sea experience, we suggest you take a boat trip from Sesimbra. Lots of fun, great company and a unique experience to remember.
Beaches around Lisbon are a perfect stop between your road trips or visiting scenic Portugal cities and villages.