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Portugal has some incredible beaches, and it’s a fantastic destination for a beach holiday! The beaches in Sintra are like paradise on earth, and many are easy to reach from Lisbon. My first holiday after moving to Portugal was in Sintra, and I’ve visited many beaches since then. It’s my favourite beach destination and so close to Lisbon. So, let’s take a look at the best Sintra beaches and how to get there!

What To Expect From The Beaches In Sintra

Image from the Sintra beach at Praia Grande Portugal of the shoreline

  • What to see? Rocky cliffs, sandy beaches, coastal towns and a fantastic coastline!
  • Costs? Visiting the beaches is totally free, but you’ll need transport to get there. Some are easy to reach by bus, and I will add the locations below.
  • Where? The beaches in Sintra are along the Portuguese Atlantic coastline, about 40 minutes to one hour from Lisbon.
  • Worth it? If you like nature, stunning beaches and the sea, then YES!

The Sintra beaches in Portugal

Sintra is a municipality located in the Sintra Mountains. It’s part of the Sintra-Cascais Natural Park (Parque Natural de Sintra-Cascais), which starts just outside Cascais and follows the Atlantic coastline to Carvoeira.

You’ve probably heard of or even visited one of many Sintra Palaces, such as Pena Palace, Quinta da Regaleira and the Moorish Castle, but Sintra is also home to some of the best beaches near the Portuguese capital! This is where you can find Cabo da Roca and coastal towns like Azenhas do Mar.

I’ve listed 7 beaches for you, so let’s go! I will start from the southern side and move towards the northern end of the coast.

Tips before visiting the beaches of Sintra

The beaches in Sintra are located on the Atlantic Ocean. Therefore, the Atlantic winds can be treacherous, and the weather can change. Check the forecast beforehand or the Sintra beach cams for current conditions! It’s also wise to bring a jumper so you won’t get cold.

Many beaches have basic or no facilities. Bring plenty of water, food, sunscreen, sunglasses and a hat. A sun umbrella is great, too, if you have one. Many beaches have no lifeguards to swim carefully! Don’t leave any trash behind! At some beaches, you can even find ashtrays for the day.

1. Praia do Guincho (Guincho Beach)

Praia do Guincho is very close to Cascais and located on the southern foothills of the Serra de Sintra hills. The Sintra Cascais beach is only 5 kilometres from Cascais, and it’s a favourite surf beach.

You can even rent bikes in Cascais and cycle to Guincho Beach! This way, you’ll pass Boca do Inferno and the lighthouse Farol do Cabo Raso before reaching Praia da Crismina.

Praia da Crismina is often referred to as Little Guincho

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, and it’s located next to Fortaleza do Guicho. After the 17th-century fortress, you’ll find the main beach of Praia do Guincho.

It can be very windy here, so it is not always ideal for sunbathing. But if you like surfing, the beach will be your new best friend! You can also join surf camps to learn a new skill!

Image of Praia do Guincho close to Lisbon. The image includes the beach but some people swimming and surfing on a sunny day.

Praia do Guincho is a wide sandy beach about a kilometre long surrounded by dunes. In summer, some parts of the beach allow you to rent umbrellas and sun loungers.

The most northern beach, Praia do Abano, is pretty rocky. However, you can have some amazing views from here! We did our engagement shoot last year at Praia do Guincho!

best place to propose in Lisbon
Praia do Guincho overview:
  • Best for: Guincho Beach is the best beach for watersports. Praia da Crismina can be a bit less windy.
  • Check the weather: Wind and surfing conditions.
  • Parking: Yes (be careful with the sand dunes!)
  • Accessible: Yes
  • Lifeguards: Yes
  • Bathrooms/Showers: Yes
  • Beach rentals: Yes
  • Restaurants or bars: Bar do Guincho is a great spot to enjoy a drink. You can even treat yourself to the 5-star Fortaleza do Guincho Pousada!
  • How to reach: From Cascais Station, you can take the circular bus service M43 to Guincho Beach. The bus service takes about 15 to 20 minutes and operates once every hour. You can also drive, take a taxi or even rent bicycles in Cascais.

2. Praia da Ursa (Bear Beach)

When I first saw Praia da Ursa, I cried! This beach is one of my three favourites in Portugal, and I try to visit it at least once a year. It’s not the easiest to get to and involves a coastal hike down to the beach.

There are no facilities, and you’ll have to bring snacks, food, plenty of water, and other beach items. But as one of the most beautiful beaches, it’s well worth it!

In return, you can enjoy one of Sintra’s wildest beaches! The rock formations are stunning, and the name Ursa Beach comes from a legend. It means Bear Beach, and the story is about a mother and her cub.

Curious about the full story? Read my Praia da Ursa guide, which includes tips on how to get there and where to park! And remember to stay for the sunset! This place is truly magical!

Praia da Ursa overview:
  • Best for: Praia da Ursa is fantastic for hikers, and you can definitely swim here! Even the sea can be wild, so be careful. It’s also loved by nudists.
  • Parking: You can leave your vehicle on a road nearby.
  • Accessible: No
  • Lifeguards: No
  • Bathrooms/Showers: No
  • Beach rentals: No
  • Restaurants or bars: No
  • How to reach: From Cascais, you can take the 1624 towards Portela de Sintra. You can exit at Cabo da Roca and start hiking. If you have a car, reaching the dirt roads leading towards the beach will be easier. From Sintra Train Station, you can take the 1253 bus and the 1624 bus (from Portela de Sintra). After arriving, you hike to the beach in about 30 to 40 minutes.

3. Praia da Adraga (Adraga Beach)

Another stunning beach with rock formations is Praia da Adraga. There is a spectacular hike between Cabo da Roba, Ursa Beach and Adraga Beach! You’ll enjoy breathtaking ocean views and walk past Sintra beaches such as Praia da Aroeira and Praia do Cavalo.

You can also easily get here by car, but the parking area will fill up quickly in the summer season.

It’s a pretty wide beach and perfect for a beach day trip from Lisbon. It’s nestled between the cliffs and, therefore, one of the more sheltered beaches along the Sintra coast.

If you have time, hike to Fojo da Adraga for some amazing views! On the beach itself, it’s hard to miss Pedra de Alvidrar. This rock of reason is located on the southern end of the beach.

Praia da Adraga overview:
  • Best for: Praia da Adraga is great for walking, swimming, and sunbathing! Loved by families, too!
  • Parking: Yes
  • Accessible: Yes
  • Lifeguards: Yes
  • Bathrooms/Showers: Yes
  • Beach rentals: No
  • Restaurants or bars: Restaurante da Adraga offers some incredible Portuguese seafood and there is an outdoor terrace.
  • How to reach: Bus 1624 from Cascais and Sintra stops nearby. The walking distance from the bus stop is about 25 minutes.

4. Praia Grande do Rodízio (Big Beach)

As the name suggests, Praia Grande really is big! The sandy beach is around 850 meters long and is loved by day trippers. The waves are a favourite among surfers and bodyboarders, but there are more beach activities.

Do you prefer visiting pools over the sand and sea? Then you can visit Arribas Sintra Hotel, which has a huge 100-meter pool with salt sea water. Its sheer size makes it even one of the biggest saltwater pools in Europe! It even has diving boards and a special kid’s pool.

It’s a popular beach amongst Portuguese families, and there is even a nearby site that is interesting for young and old!

Praia Grande 2

Go on an adventure to locate the dinosaur footprints known as Pegadas de Dinossauro da Praia Grande! It’s only a short walk to see many dinosaur footprints on the cliffs!

Praia Grande overview:
  • Best for: Praia Grande is great for swimming and surfing. It’s a popular spot for families too.
  • Current weather: Check the Praia Grande beach cam
  • Parking: Yes 
  • Accessible: Yes
  • Lifeguards: Yes, the waves can be powerful, so be careful!
  • Bathrooms/Showers: Yes
  • Beach rentals: You can rent surfboards!
  • Restaurants or bars: Yes. You can also spend the night here at Arribas Sintra Hotel to wake up to the sound of the waves!
  • How to reach: From Cascais, you can board the 1624 or 1625 buses and change onto the 1250 or 1254 to reach Praia Grande. From Sintra, you can take the 1255, followed by the 1254. It’s a long journey (at least 1,5 hours one way), and a car is much quicker if you have one! If not, a taxi might be a good option for you.

5. Praia das Maçãs (Apple Beach)

Praia das Maçãs was one of my first vacation trips in Portugal! It’s a great little town with restaurants, shops and accommodation options. There is a small supermarket and pharmacy in Praia das Maçãs, too. Perfect for a little beach retreat from Lisbon!

There is an excellent beach for kids, as the seawater streams in these little water pools nearby. You can rent sunbeds, and there are several places to eat near the sea. Praia das Maçãs is also the easiest to get to from Sintra. Step onboard the cute Sintra tram, and you’ll arrive in 45 minutes.

Praia das Maças overview:
  • Best for: Praia das Maçãs is great for families with kids who can play in the seawater streams on the side of the beach. It’s perfect for sunbathing and swimming in summer, too. And the beach views are phenomenal!
  • Current weather: Check the beach cam.
  • Car parking: Yes 
  • Accessible: Yes
  • Lifeguards: Yes
  • Bathrooms/Showers: Yes
  • Beach rentals: Yes
  • Restaurants or bars: Yes. We stayed a few nights at Villa Maçã House, which has a nearby restaurant!
  • How to reach: You can take a historic tram from Sintra, which will take you right to the beach! You can also reach Praia das Maçãs by car.

6. Praia das Azenhas do Mar

Azenhas do Mar is a charming town along the Sintra coastline! Praia das Azenhas do Mar is relatively small, but most tourists come here to enjoy the nature pool! It’s still filled at low tide, but with high tide, freshwater streams in continuously. It’s an incredible spot for a dip in the sea!

Most visitors come to Azenhas do Mar to see the view from the cliff. It’s a beautiful spot to take some photos! If you have time, you can follow the stairs from the cliff to the town. Check the Azenhas do Mar Travel Guide to learn more about this picturesque village!

Azenhas do Mar overview:
  • Best for: Lovers of nature pools and stunning viewpoints!
  • Parking: Yes. There are limited spaces in the town, but more where the viewpoint is.
  • Accessible: The famous viewpoint on the cliffs is, but there are steps towards the natural pool.
  • Lifeguards: Yes
  • Bathrooms/Showers: Yes, next to the pool.
  • Beach rentals: Not on the beach. There are seats with umbrellas next to the natural pool.
  • Restaurants or bars: In summer, you can enjoy cocktails and other drinks at Azenhas Bar. The Portuguese food at Restaurante Azenhas do Mar is a bit pricier but incredible!
  • How to reach: You can take the 1248 bus from Sintra, which takes around 45 minutes. Excursions from Lisbon to Azenhas do Mar are also available.

7. Praia do Magoito (Magoito Beach)

Another favourite of mine is Praia do Magoito! I’ve been here in all seasons, and in winter, it’s an epic spot to clear the head during a beach walk! It’s a long sandy beach with plenty of space. However, it does get busy with cars, so parking can be a little challenging.

Praia do Magoito is great for surfing, too, and surfers are often near the cliff. From where the boardwalk starts, you have fantastic sea views as well.

You can enter Praia do Magoito from the town of Magoito, which is most accessible. When driving from the beach’s southern end, you’ll join a dirt road with a tiny parking area.

Praia do Magoito overview:
  • Best for: Praia do Magoito is much loved by families, as your kids can play in the stream, and even on busy days, there is a spot for everyone.
  • Parking: Yes, but it gets busy!
  • Accessible: Yes, there is a long boardwalk.
  • Lifeguards: Yes
  • Bathrooms/Showers: Yes
  • Beach rentals: No, but there are some shops where you can buy beach articles.
  • Restaurants or bars: Yes, Esplanada Duna Mar is the nearest restaurant.
  • How to reach: Bus 1249 and 1254 both depart from Sintra town. You can also take the 1248 and change to the 1254.

Other Beaches of Sintra

There are several more beaches near Sintra, such as Praia da Aroeira, Praia do Cavalo, Praia Pequena do Rodizio, Praia da Aguda, Praia da Samarra, Praia da Vigia, and Praia de São Julião. Once I’ve been there, I’ll update this guide with more info!

How to get to the Sintra beaches

Some beaches in Sintra are easier to reach than others! Praia das Maçãs is the easiest with the Sintra beach tram. You can take many buses from the Sintra Train Station to the Sintra beaches. The only downside of public transport is that it takes a very long time!

If you travel from Lisbon first, you must add 40 minutes to your journey. The Sintra Train departs from Oriente and Rossio in the capital. From Cais de Sodré, you can reach Cascais easily.

From both places, some routes take over 1,5 hours one way. That means the total travel time one way can be well over 2 hours! Renting a car is the easiest to enjoy the Colares coast of Sintra fully.

We always rent with DiscoverCars. Their website is easy to navigate, and you can compare prices of the different car rental agencies very easily. I usually select Hertz, Sixt, and Europcar for the best service and price comparisons. If you come surfing, you can also rent an RV to enjoy the Sintra beaches even more!

Hotels on the Sintra coastline

Would you like to stay at a Sintra beach resort? There are some beautiful hotels to choose from! The map below shows some of the best options for your Sintra trip. If you plan your visit in summer, ensure to book on time. The Sintra beaches are popular with Portuguese and international tourists!

📍Luxery Sintra Hotel: Cubo is a stunning villa to enjoy a week-long vacation along the Sintra coast! It is very close to Praia Pequena do Rodizio and Praia das Maçãs. From the terrace, you have incredible sea views!

📍Mid-Range Option: Chalet O Amorzinho Sintra Praia is a stunning place on a cliff! It’s located between Praia das Maçãs and Azenhas do Mar, and you can always enjoy a dip in the swimming pool!

📍For travellers on a budget: Quinta Santo António has a beautiful traditional decor with azulejo tiles! There is also plenty of outdoor space, including two pools.

Conclusion

Did you know there are so many beaches in Sintra? Now you know where to plan your next trip with excellent weather! Surfers love catching waves at the beaches near Sintra, but there is plenty of time for relaxation, too. Some of the best spots are Praia Grande, Praia das Maçãs, and Praia do Magoito. Some have beach bars, and there are plenty of accommodations near the coast!

Source: https://www.discover-portugal.com/

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By Lala