Discover Costa da Caparica
Publish date : October 7, 2022
Like most destinations in Portugal, Costa da Caparica is not limited to its large sandy beaches, though it has plenty of those. It’s a great day trip destination any time of the year, which isn’t to say that it’s always warm — there tends to be a strong Atlantic breeze blowing, so make sure to bring extra clothes.
From Lisbon, you can take a TST bus at Praça de Espanha (n.153 and n.161) or Areeiro (n. 161), or order a ride share. If you have a lot of time to spare, consider taking the boat from Belém to Trafaria, a tiny fisherman's village with local restaurants where you can enjoy fresh fish and seafood dishes.
After lunch, you can then head to Costa da Caparica on TST bus n. 129. If you decide to drive there, which is pretty convenient, note you’ll have to pay a toll on the 25 de Abril Bridge on the way back. There is free street parking in different locations in Costa da Caparica and other inexpensive parking options if those are full.
So, let’s get down to it.
The first beaches, and the only ones you’ll be able to walk to if you catch a bus, are pretty close to the town center. Despite this proximity, they’re pretty decent beaches, with pristine waters. All of them are supervised by lifeguards during the bathing season. There are wooden beach bars and restaurants along the coast, that you can retreat to when you’re hungry or thirsty. If you’ve been meaning to try surfing, here you’ll find endless options, as most bars double as surf schools. Take your pick!
To avoid crowds, you’ll want to walk a bit away from the most central beaches. Santo António, Norte, São João, and other beaches to the north (which is to say to your right, when you’re facing the sea) are usually good options. To your left, you can walk to Praia Nova, the last beach bounded by piers. Beyond this point, the wilderness begins.
Locals will most probably tell you to go to the beaches located further south. They’re not wrong! If you’re by car, you should do it, to get away from people and gaze at the picturesque sights.
The best beaches include:
- Rainha, Rei — both conveniently located near big parking lots;
- Bela Vista — where clothing is optional beyond a certain point;
- 19 — another official nude beach, also known as Europe’s largest gay beach;
- Fonte da Telha — known for its fishing tradition.
No doubt that the highlights of Costa da Caparica, and the reason why the Portuguese visit it so often, are the beaches.
While the town center may be unassuming, there's much more to discover beyond the urban areas.
One of the main attractions of Costa da Caparica is the magnificent fossil cliff known as Arriba Fóssil da Costa da Caparica, which can be seen from the beaches and the town center. For breathtaking views that stretch all the way from Sintra to the southern Espichel Cape, be sure to visit Convento dos Capuchos, an old Franciscan convent perched atop the cliff.
And you’ve got one more place to visit: Mata dos Medos (which means ‘The Woods of Fears’, though you have nothing to worry about, a beautiful pine forest planted by King John V to protect the farmland from the advancing sand dunes. Here, you can enjoy a quiet picnic, go for a scenic walk (dogs are allowed off-leash), or indulge in a mountain biking or trail-running adventure
There's so much more to discover in Portugal, and our article Discover Arrábida Natural Park and Sesimbra is the perfect place to start.