Costa da Caparica, situated just a stone’s throw from the vibrant capital of Portugal, Lisbon, is a coastal gem that beckons with its sprawling golden sands and azure waters. Stretching over 15 kilometres, this extensive beach is one of the largest continuous sandy shores in Portugal, making it a favourite for both locals and tourists alike. While the undulating waves offer a haven for surfers, the expansive shoreline provides ample space for sunbathers, families, surfers, and beach sports enthusiasts.
A mere 20-minute drive from Lisbon’s city centre (in good traffic) and another 15 or so to Lisbon Airport, Costa da Caparica is incredibly accessible, making it an ideal getaway for those looking to escape the urban hustle without venturing too far. Although public transport between the two places isn’t perfect, regular buses journey between the capital and this coastal haven, ensuring that even those without a car can easily find their way to the sun-kissed sands.
But Costa da Caparica is not just about the beach. Beyond the dunes, visitors can delve into a mix of modern and traditional Portuguese life. While the town isn’t the most picturesque of destinations, it it home to quaint cafes, seafood restaurants, and lively bars, all of which offer a taste of Portuguese seaside culture. Moreover, the town’s proximity to Lisbon means that cultural excursions, historic sites, and vibrant nightlife are just a short journey away. Whether it’s a day trip to soak up the sun or a longer stay to explore the surrounding region, Costa da Caparica promises a blend of relaxation and adventure.
In recent years, Costa da Caparica has also become a popular destination for expats and locals alike who want to live near to Lisbon but don’t want to live in the middle of Lisbon City Centre.
Useful Resources for Your Trip to Costa da Caparica
Here’s our top tips and tricks for getting the best deals for your trip to Costa da Caparica.
- Accommodation: Booking.com and Airbnb are the two most comprehensive websites for finding hotels, hostels, apartments, and other types of accommodation in Costa da Caparica.
- Car Rental: Discover Cars and Rental Cars are the two most useful sites for booking local car rental.
- Airport transfers: There are taxis and Ubers at Lisbon Airport, but you can also pre-book an airport transfer with Welcome Pickups.
- Tours & Things to Do: Both Get Your Guide and Viator list lots of local tours and activities in Costa da Caparica and Lisbon.
- Luggage Storage: Luggage Hero and Bounce are two great sites for finding places to store your luggage in Portugal.
- Public Transport: Cp.pt is the main website for trains in Portugal. For longer distance buses, see Rede Expressos. Flixbus.pt often has cheap tickets between cities in Portugal.
- Flights: Skyscanner and Google Flights are the two most useful websites for finding flights to Portugal. The nearest airport to Costa da Caparica is Lisbon Airport.
What to Do
Go to the beach
The beaches of Costa da Caparica (often referred to simply as praia da Costa da Caparica) are the town’s crowning jewels, each offering a unique charm and character that appeals to a wide array of beachgoers. Among the standout stretches of sand is Praia da Mata, a generous expanse that boasts not only crystal-clear waters but also a scenic backdrop of dunes and pine forests. This beach, like many in the area, is expansive, allowing for ample space even during peak season. Nearby, facilities such as cafes and sunbed rentals ensure that visitors can spend an entire day in comfort.
Further south, Praia da Morena and Praia do Rei beckon with their golden sands and lively atmospheres. Praia da Morena is particularly known for its beach bars and terraces, where one can enjoy a refreshing drink while watching the sun set over the Atlantic. Praia do Rei, on the other hand, stands out for its vast size, making it a favourite spot for families and groups. The beach is dotted with eateries serving fresh seafood, giving visitors a taste of the region’s culinary delights without having to stray far from the sand.
All of these beaches are well-serviced with facilities, including restrooms, showers, and parking. For those who are not keen on lounging on the sand all day, there are also plenty of water sports and activities on offer, from surfing lessons to paddleboarding, ensuring that everyone can find their preferred way to enjoy the pristine waters of Costa da Caparica.
Learn to surf
Costa da Caparica, with its vast stretches of sandy shores and consistent Atlantic waves, has become a prime spot for both novice and seasoned surfers. For beginners looking to ride their first wave, a multitude of surf schools dot the coastline, offering tailored lessons with experienced instructors who know the waters inside out. These schools provide all the necessary gear, from surfboards to wetsuits, ensuring that learners can have a hassle-free experience.
Beyond just the basics, what makes Costa da Caparica an ideal place to learn surfing is the variety of its waves. Depending on the beach and conditions, one can find gentler waves perfect for getting a feel of the board, or slightly bigger ones for those looking to challenge themselves a bit more. Furthermore, after an exhilarating day of catching waves, students can relax at the many beachside cafes and share their experiences, making the learning process a truly immersive and communal one.
View the fishermen’s huts
Dotted along the extensive coastline of Costa da Caparica are traditional fisherman’s huts, known locally as “palheiros.” These charming wooden structures, often painted in bright colours, stand as a testament to the region’s rich fishing heritage. Originally built as storage for fishing gear and boats, many of these huts have been passed down through generations and continue to be used by local fishermen. For visitors, they offer a picturesque and authentic backdrop, evoking a sense of nostalgia and capturing the essence of the seaside community’s enduring relationship with the sea.
Walk along the boardwalk
One of the best ways to truly immerse oneself in the serene beauty of Costa da Caparica is by taking a leisurely stroll along its boardwalk. Stretching for miles, this wooden pathway meanders alongside the sandy shores, offering uninterrupted views of the vast Atlantic horizon. As you walk, the rhythmic sound of waves crashing against the shore harmonises with the gentle rustling of the nearby dunes and coastal vegetation.
The boardwalk is not only a pathway to various beaches, but it also hosts an array of cafes and kiosks, perfect for grabbing a refreshing drink or a bite to eat. As sunset approaches, the changing hues of the sky, mirrored on the ocean’s surface, create an enchanting backdrop, making the boardwalk the ideal spot to wind down and reflect on the day’s adventures.
- Flying: If you’re travelling to Costa da Caparica from abroad, the nearest major airport is Lisbon Airport (Aeroporto Humberto Delgado). After landing, you can easily reach Costa da Caparica by bus, taxi, or rental car. The journey from the airport is relatively short, taking around 20 to 30 minutes by car.
- Bus: Direct buses operate from Lisbon to Costa da Caparica. Departing from Lisbon’s Praça de Espanha, these buses drop passengers off right in the heart of Costa da Caparica. The journey typically lasts around 30 minutes, making it a convenient option. If travelling from Lisbon Airport, consider taking a quick bus or taxi ride to Praça de Espanha to catch the bus to the coast.
- Train: While there isn’t a direct train line from Lisbon to Costa da Caparica, you can take a train to Pragal station. From there, buses or taxis can easily take you to Costa da Caparica, which is just a short distance away.
- Driving: If you prefer the freedom of driving, consider renting a car from Lisbon Airport or in the city itself. The journey to Costa da Caparica by car is straightforward, primarily involving the IC20 highway. The drive offers scenic views and typically takes around 20 minutes from Lisbon centre and slightly longer from the airport, depending on traffic conditions. Parking facilities are available in Costa da Caparica, especially during off-peak seasons.