While many visitors to Lisbon tend to head west to enjoy the beaches in Cascais, some of the best beaches near Lisbon can actually be found to the south of the city, on the Costa da Caparica coastline that runs along the Setubal Peninsula. While it may be lesser known to international visitors, this spectacular stretch of sand is popular among the in-the-know Portuguese, and it’s easy to see why.
Running for 30km from the town of the same name in the north all the way down to Praia da Fonte da Telha in the south, the Costa da Caparica coastline comprises several beautiful beaches that are big enough to accommodate thousands of people without feeling too crowded. The beaches near the town are backed by some less-than-attractive high rises but the bars that sit directly on the beach have a certain understated charm, all housed within prefabricated buildings with day beds and loungers looking out to the sea. A number of surf schools and surfboard hire shops can also be found along this stretch.
Head further south, however, and the buildings disappear, making way for a beautifully wild scene of grass-topped dunes, uninterrupted sand and picture-perfect beach huts. Praia da Mata has its own car park along with a couple of beachside restaurants and a surf school, where a surfboard and a wetsuit can be hired for €30 for four hours. These facilities mean the beach is one of the busiest on this part of the coastline, but if you walk slightly north towards Praia da Cornelia and Praia da Saude, you’ll be able to find a peaceful spot with just a handful of pastel-coloured beach huts lining the shore.
Costa da Caparica is a 30-40-minute drive from Lisbon, and you can get an Uber there for around €20. If, however, you wish to get the bus, see this post on how to get to Costa da Caparica from Lisbon.