Carcavelos: Lisbon’s closest sea beach

praia de carcavelos


The Praia de Carcavelos beach is the Lisbon’s coastlines most popular beach, in part due to the close proximity of the capital. Carcavelos beach is renowned for its reliable surf, soft golden sands and great facilities but expect it to be busy at the weekends especially during the summer holiday months.

Carcavelos is a large beach with a 1.5km long shoreline and clean sea waters that are surprisingly cold. Carcavelos is similar in style to the northern edge of the Costa Caparica coastline but there is much better public transport from Lisbon to Carcavelos. Carcavelos has better waves and is larger than the nondescript beaches that front Estoril and Cascais, while the waters of Carcavelos are always cleaner than Santo Amaro beach.

Guincho beach has better waves and is set in a stunning location but it is difficult to travel to when using public transport from Lisbon. Sesimbra and the south Setubal Peninsular are all beautiful but too far as a day trip from Lisbon. Therefore Carcavelos beach is a good choice to visit and this view is shared with most of Lisbon, so expect it to be busy.

The train to Praia de Carcavelos from Lisbon departs from the Cais do Sodré station and takes around 20 minutes.

The train to Praia de Carcavelos from Lisbon departs from the Cais do Sodré station and takes around 20 minutes. Cais do Sodré station is the final station on the green metro line. A single train ticket costs €1.85/€0.95 (adult/child) and there is a departure approximately every 20 minutes during day light hours, with the last train at 23:43.

Carcavelos beach is 9km from Cascais (and Estoril) and is reached using the same train line as if traveling from Lisbon. The train journey is 15 minutes and a single ticket costs €1.75.

The 19km drive from Lisbon to Carcavelos follows the scenic N6 coastal road and takes around 25 minutes. At the beach there is plenty of free car parking and this is one of the reasons why it is so popular with Lisbon’s residents.

During the early 20th century, Carcavelos beach was the sole connection point for the America to Europe telegraph network. The cables that ran out from the beach once handled all of the messages communicated between Europe and the Americas.

The Sao Julião fort, at the eastern edge of the beach, marks the mouth of the Rio Tejo therefore Carcavelos beach technically opens out onto the Atlantic Ocean while everything to the east faces the River Tejo. The water of the beach is relatively clean as any waste from the Tejo estuary is dispersed by the ocean currents and tides.

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