Just came across an article The Best 10 Beaches in Europe from a prestigious travel magazine, and was surprised to see no Lisbon on the list. Although I haven’t been to many, I must say the Lisbon coast offers some impressive beaches, with or without comparison.
During a brief stay in the high summer of July in Lisbon, I’ve visited two beaches, Praia da Rainha in the center of the coastal town Cascais, about 30 km west of Lisbon. It is the smallest beach in Cascais, but picturesque with golden sand and calm blue water. The last queen of Portal claimed it her own and named it Praia da Rainha, Queen’s beach. It’s commercial indeed but that doesn’t steal the charm. If you want to get tanned lying on the beach with a cocktail in hand, this is the place to go. As for swimming, watch out the jelly fish, always luring around in shallow water.
The other one is Ribeira das Ilhas in the lovely village Ericeira, about 54 km away from Lisbon. Much less of commercial atmosphere and closer to raw nature, this is regarded as one of Europe’s best surfing spots. Unlike Malta’s charming mini “blue lagoon” with tantalizingly crystal light blue water, the sea from the Atlantic Ocean waving the shore is generous in its dark blue. You feel heart broadened when the long coastline and infinitely immense sea rush into your sight. Unlike in the south of the Portugal, the sea water here is cold, even in the mid July. If you prefer a peaceful swim, there are some naturally formed pools. But watch out the bottom! It’s full of the stones and broken shells, walking on them was rough. The edge of the pool is occupied by dense black shells. Really try not to look at them if you suffer from trypophobia. Just quickly walk into the water and get yourself float. There were nude swimmers in the pool, both men and women. Admittedly shocked when a middle aged couple emerged naked before my eyes, I quickly explained to myself that “it’s just nature; human flesh is part of nature”.
There are direct bus lines from Lisbon to Ericeira, which takes about one and half hours. Going there was no problem, but getting back was a headache. There were too many people crammed on the bus, wet and exhausted, all eager to get a seat. It took seemingly ages to get back to Lisbon, and we stood all the way through. Given another chance, I’d rent a car for sure, so I can just take an easy ride back without constantly checking the time of the buses. If you’d like to go by car, better start earlier in the morning before the sun starts baking and when there are available parking spaces.
Of course there are many more amazing beaches in Lisbon, each with its unique characteristic and attracting different type of visitors. Do a small research and find out what you like most!