‘Want a jumper on!’ But it’s 25 degrees outside. ‘Want a jumper on!’ But you’ll be far too hot. ‘Want a jumper on!’ Mummy sighs and gives in to unreasonable toddler demands. It turns out she was right though…
We were a little limited as we had no car, so were travelling everywhere by public transport. However, there are several beaches that are easy to reach by train from central Lisbon. And couple of more remote beaches that are harder (i.e. longer or more expensive) to reach.
Best Beaches Near Lisbon
Praia do Tamariz
Praia do Tamariz was one of the quieter beaches we visited for sunbathing and swimming. The waves were not large. Although still too large for my toddler who refuses point blank to go in the sea unless it is pancake flat. Of course, the water suffers from the problem of being freezing cold. For me, this is one of the major drawbacks of Portugal as a beach destination! Decent sand for castle building though. It is easily reached by taking the train from Cais do Sodré train station in Lisbon to Estoril. In 2018, the single fare was €2.25 per adult and the journey took around 30 to 40 minutes.
Praia da Duquesa and Praia da Conceição
It is easy to visit this beach on the same day as Praia do Tamariz. There is a pleasant promenade along the sea front from Estoril to Cascais (buggy friendly). The walk takes around 20 minutes and you can then return to Lisbon by train from Cascais. I’m not sure why one end of the beach has a different name to the other end; it is one stretch of sand. The sea is calm but it was pretty busy when we visited even though it was only May. However, overall this was our favourite beach destination near Lisbon. Cascais itself had a wide choice of restaurants. And there was an excellent playground around 15 minutes’ walk from the beach in Parque Marechal Carmona. An essential for an active toddler.
Praia Grande do Guincho
Praia Grande do Guincho took some time to reach on public transport, necessitating the train to Cascais and then a bus. Instead, we splashed out on the tourist sightseeing bus. We had read so many reports of this being people’s favourite beach in the area, we thought it would be worth it. It wasn’t. The wind was very strong. And very cold. The toddler was fine; she had insisted on bringing her jumper. We took this photo and then ran off to find some shelter. It’s probably a nice beach if you are prepared for the temperature and wind. But the sea would have been far too rough and cold for our toddler.
Praia da Cresmina
We favoured this beach next to Praia Grande do Guincho. It was slightly more sheltered. And you could buy ice cream. So we huddled here for most of the hour until we could catch the bus back.
Praia de Carcavelos
This is by far the easiest beach to get to. And therefore it gets busy. But its soft sand and gentle waves make it a good choice for a quick beach visit from Lisbon. It is far away enough from the Tejo Estuary to be clean enough for swimming. If you can brave the chilly waters of the Atlantic Ocean. In Lisbon, the train to Carcavelos departs from the Cais do Sodré train station and takes around 20 minutes for a mere €1.90.
Top tip: For all these beaches we found it cost effective to invest €8 in our own sun umbrella to protect our toddler from the sun. This means we didn’t need to worry about hiring umbrellas as none of the beaches have natural shade.