Cascais is a wonderful holiday destination and is the best resort town of the Lisbon coastline. Surrounding Cascais is a stunning coastline of varied beaches, which range from wild surfing beaches through to calm and family friendly. This article will provide an introduction to the beaches of Cascais.
Cascais is on a coastline of outstanding beaches
• Best beach close to Cascais - Praia da Conceição
• Best beach for families - Praia da Duquesa or Praia do Tamariz
• Most popular beach of the Lisbon coastline - Praia de Carcavelos
• Best location for surfing - Praia do Guincho
• Most scenic beach - Praia da Rainha
• Beach for a day trip (with a car) - Ericeira
• Where locals go to escape tourist crowds - Praia da Adraga (car needed)
The weather of Cascais is warm enough for spending time on the beach from May until the end of September. The sea waters are always chilly as they are fed by the Atlantic Ocean, reaching a maximum of only 21C in the summer. Parasols and sun loungers can be hired from most beaches for 10-15 Euros per day. The beaches facing the Atlantic Ocean have strong currents; only swim or surf in designate areas.
The following section provides details of the beaches of the Cascais region.
The wild coastline to the north of Cascais
All of these following beaches are within walking distance of central Cascais and are characterised by golden sands, gentle seas and excellent tourist facilities. The beaches close to Cascais are some of Portugal’s most popular and in the summer months it can feel as if the whole of Lisbon has descended to them.
(GPS 38.70060, -9.41597 – a 500m walk from the town hall)
The two beaches of Praia da Conceição and Praia da Duquesa form the main beach of Cascais. This is a beautiful stretch of sand with calm and clean sea waters, and lots of beach activities. The beach is divided into two by a minor promontory on which the Casa Faial mansion stands; to the west is the Praia da Duquesa and to the east (closer to Cascais) is the Praia da Conceição.
The Praia da Conceição
During the summer the beach is a hive of activity; with boats towing banana and ringo rides, large sea inflatables and sea pedalos. Conceição and Duquesa are suitable for children, as there are no waves or currents and the beach is supervised by lifeguards. Duquesa and Conceição beaches are great place for a day of relaxing and a good beach to begin with.
The Praia da Duquesa (nearest) and the Praia da Conceição (on the far side) are really one beach
(GPS 38.69909, -9.41829 – a 450m walk from the town hall)
The Praia da Rainha (Queens Beach) was the private beach of Queen Amélia during the 1880s, and she selected the finest beach as her private bathing area. Praia da Rainha is picturesque; still blue sea waters, golden sands and jagged rock outcrops - providing the privacy a queen would demand. This is a charming and secluded beach, which is considered as one of the prettiest of the Cascais coastline, but its tiny size means that its always crowded. Praia da Rainha is beautiful to admire but the Praia da Conceição, Praia do Tamariz or Praia de Carcavelos are much better suited for a day on the beach.
The pretty Praia da Rainha, as chosen by a queen.....
(GPS 38.69689, -9.41955 – 20m walk from the town hall)
The Praia da Ribeira is the central beach of Cascais and directly faces the fishing harbour and the fort. Historically fishing boats were pulled onto the sands and the beach is still lovingly referred to as the fishermen’s beach (Praia dos Pescadores). The close proximity of the harbour means the quality of the sea waters is questionable, and sunbathers may feel on display as there is constant trudge of day trippers wandering past the beach. Another beach to admire and photograph, but not to use.
The Praia da Ribeira is at the heart of Cascais
(GPS 38.70276, -9.39934 – 2.5km walk from the town hall)
The Praia do Tamariz is the main beach of Estoril, the next resort town along the coastline from Cascais. The beach has many similarities to Praia da Conceição and Praia da Duquesa but is less hectic and without all of the water side activities. The Praia do Tamariz may seem a long distance from Cascais but it as at the end of the beach promenade, and is an enjoyable walk. The rock swimming pool on the opposite side of the stone jetty is always a favourite with children. The beach is next to Estoril train station and the distinctive Forte da Cruz villa.
The Praia do Tamariz and the Forte da Cruz villa
(GPS 38.70186, -9.40899 -1.5km from the town hall)
The Praia das Moitas is little beach partway between Estoril and Cascais, which is connected by the beach promenade. Being between the resort towns it is slightly quieter while still offer soft sands and calm sea waters.
The Praia das Moitas is overlooked by grand villas and expensive hotels
(GPS 38.70131, -9.41288 - 1km walk from the town hall)
The Piscina Oceânica Alberto Romano is a sea filled swimming pool, which is ideal for children and families to bath safely (and the water is slightly warmer than the sea!). There is no admission fee and is a favourite with children, especially if there are fish trapped in the pool after the tide recedes.
The Piscina Oceânica Alberto Romano looks dated and has a lot of concrete but is great fun!
All of the previous beaches were very similar; calm, safe with extensive tourist facilities. The beaches close to Cascais are ideal for families or a relaxing day on the beach, but certain visitors may wish more exciting or improved natural scenery; which this next set can offer. These beaches require more effort to travel to, but all can be easily reached using the public transport that departs from Cascais.
(GPS: 38.73180, -9.474136 - 6.5km from Cascais)
Praia do Guincho is a wild and rugged beach that lies within the Serra de Sintra nature park. This vast expanse of sand faces the might of the Atlantic Ocean and is pounded by huge waves, making it one of the best surfing beaches of the Lisbon region.
Guincho beach boasts dramatic and raw natural scenery, but it is no tranquil or relaxing beach, there are constant strong winds while hidden beneath the waters are powerful currents. Guincho beach is 7km north west of Cascais and is connected by the 405 and 415 bus services, which departs from Cascais bus station.
The wild and rugged beach of Praia do Guincho is only a short bus ride away
(GPS: 38.67931, -9.33462, 9km from Cascais)
The Praia de Carcavelos is the Lisbon coastline's most popular beach. Carcavelos is much larger than all of the beaches close to Cascais, there are medium waves for surfing and excellent public transport links to Cascais and Lisbon. Along the beach front are numerous beach bars, restaurants and shops, and in the summer there is always a lively atmosphere.
Praia de Carcavelos is a huge beach.....
Praia de Carcavelos is an outstanding beach, and for visitors based in Lisbon this is the recommend beach to visit. The residents of Lisbon also know it’s their best beach, and in the summer it can feel as if most of Lisbon are on the sands of Carcavelos. For visitors on holiday in Cascais, Carcavelos is still an excellent beach but Praia de São Pedro is similar, closer and slightly less busy. Carcavelos is connected to Cascais by the regional railway, and the direct train takes 30 minutes and a ticket costs €2.10. From the station, it is a 700m walk to the beach.
.... but it fills up quickly in the summer!
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(GPS: 38.69375, -9.37021, 5km from Cascais)
The Praia de São Pedro should be considered as a smaller version of the Praia de Carcavelos. The beach is slightly sheltered from the headland, and this means the waves are not as good for surfing (but for surfing head to Praia do Guincho). Praia de São Pedro is connected to the Cascais-Lisbon with a 20-minute train ride, and there is no long walk to the beach from the station.
The Praia de São Pedro in the low season
(GPS: 38.64134, -9.23846, 30km from Cascais)
The beaches of the Costa da Caparica coastline are on the southern side of Lisbon (on the Setubal Peninsular) and it is possible to travel to them via public transport. The Costa da Caparica offer the same great surfing of Guincho but are within a modern resort town. For visitors based in Lisbon the Costa da Caparica beaches provides an alternative to the Cascais coastline, but for tourists on holiday in Cascais the Caparica beaches are not worth the complex and long journey.
Costa da Caparica is a great beach but too far from Cascais