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Crazy Adventure: The best beaches in Lisbon region

The sense of adventure you get from making the effort to get to some of the more difficult to access beaches is often a reward in itself as there’s something innately satisfying about clambering and climbing through nature. 

Our Top 5 for ADVENTURE

Tip #1 - Praias do Inferno & Praia do Temporal

You can’t get much more remote than these two beautiful but completely different beaches. As you are facing the sea, Praia do Inferno is on the left and is covered by boulders and has difficult access to the sea. Praia do Temporal is on the right and is a picture-perfect sandy cove next to the azure water. Both are sheltered by some dramatic cliffs and are separated by a very impressive rock arch, which for many is the reason for coming here. So why are these beaches mostly deserted?

Basically, it’s due to their challenging access. The descent down from the cliffs has a stage where it seems that no further progress can be made but, around the corner, there are some steps that have been cut out and which provide an approach to Praia do Inferno. Having said that, these steps are not for the faint-hearted and should only be attempted by experienced hill walkers. Getting to the sand also requires an effort and involves climbing over some boulders or using the fixed rope by the cliffs. You will be rewarded by some of the clearest waters in the region and on calm days, a swim from Praia do Temporal to the small island just offshore is a possibility.

GPS (parking)38.436850, -9.167400

Parking: At the village of Aldeia Nova

Tip #2 - Praia do Louriçal

One of our very favourite beaches on the Lisbon coast, Louriçal really is a stunningly wild place.  The path down is relatively challenging in the steep final 10 meters, but after carefully descending you emerge in a narrow green cleft, complete with its own waterfall cascading down the almost overhanging cliffs.  Cross the small stream and the small beach opens out before you with its wonderful sea-stacks, the most famous of which the locals call “the lion”, although it bears just as much resemblance to a gorilla.

The beach here is made up of big round boulders, which make it challenging to walk across and impossible to camp, but the views along the coast and the wonderful feeling of remoteness make it a particularly special place to spend some time, particularly at sunset.

GPS (parking)38.781344, -9.496836

"I had no idea these beaches were so close to Lisbon " – Anja, Germany.

Tip #3 - Praia da Mijona

Praia da Cova da Mijona is a 500-metre-long beach at the foot of some of Portugal's highest and most impressive cliffs. During the summer period, most people arrive by boat or kayak but as they rarely stay, Mijona can give you a taste of what it's like to have a reasonably large beach all to yourself. There's a good expanse of sand and also plenty of rocks and reefs to swim to and explore.

The trail down to the beach is possibly the steepest of all the trails listed in this book and is only suitable for experienced hill walkers. Steps have been cut out of the rocks at its most precarious section, making the descent doable. Interestingly there is a relatively new building on the right with its own little beach, which seems to be in some form of use. It is possible to hike from Praia da Ribeira do Cavalo to here and experience some of the best views in Arrábida.

Tip #4 - Praia da Aroeira

As you follow the trail along the cliff tops north of Cabo da Roca, views down to a stunning beach with jagged cliffs emerge but it’s easy to be put off by the steep winding path that clings to the side of the very steep slope.  It’s well worth the effort though as the path while steep, is never dangerous, and the beach itself is both beautiful and unique.  At low tide a rock arch is accessible and countless rock pools are revealed, full of an incredible variety of life making the beach popular with local fishermen who come here to collect mussels. 

Aroeira is another rocky beach made up of round boulders and imposing sea stacks with fantastic views south up to Cabo da Roca and lots to interest landscape photographers, as the orange cliffs at the northern end of the beach glow red when bathed in the last light of the day.

GPS (parking)38.781344, -9.496836

Tip #5 - Praia do Giribeto

As this is only frequented by adventurous locals and fishermen there’s a strong likelihood that you’ll have this beach all to yourself. The fact that it remains largely undisturbed is because the access is difficult. In an area where most beaches are backed by beautiful cliffs, Giribeto has, in our opinion, the most spectacular and seemingly the most precarious. To access the beach, you will have to brave a steep, winding climb down.

There is usually a fixed rope that has been placed by local fishermen. Inexperienced hikers or those with a fear of heights should not venture down to this one. For those who do, it’s best to go at low tide, when the beach opens up its many rock pools and gives you the chance to view the cliffs from the shore. This is not a beach for bathing as the waves here are usually big and powerful.

GPS (parking)38.874875, -9.435545

Don’t Forget:

These are often challenging paths which are better tackled with a companion.

Always assess the risk carefully and don’t take any unnecessary chances. Fishermen frequent all of the beaches on this coast and often leave ropes going down to the more inaccessible beaches like Louriçal and Giribeto.  It’s worth remembering that these ropes are often quite old and it’s not advisable to trust them with all your weight.


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