The best guide to Costa da Caparica

The Costa da Caparica, Portugal

Costa da Caparica is a lively and modern resort town that is adored by the Portuguese, but virtually unknown by foreign tourists. The Costa da Caparica coastline is simply stunning, and is famed for its vast sandy beach, powerful surfing seas and wonderful natural scenery, all of which is less than a 20-minute drive from central Lisbon.

During the summer the Portuguese flock here, drawn by the beaches, the family friendly atmosphere or the late-night beach parties at the remote beach bars. Most foreign tourists head to the beaches of the Cascais-Estoril coastline, but the Costa da Caparica is as equally great for a day on the beach. This guide will provide an introduction to Costa da Caparica as either a holiday destination or as a day trip from Lisbon, and includes tourist information, beach information and travel details.

Costa da Caparica sky

The Costa da Caparica beach

So why the Costa da Caparica?

The Costa da Caparica is a region that characterises modern Portugal, by combining both traditional heritage with forward thinking and liberal attitudes. By day colourful fishing boats are hauled onto the beaches to sell their fresh catch in the local fish market, while by night these same beaches play host to uber-cool beach parties.

Costa da Caparica fishing boats

The fishing boats are pulled onto the beach early in the morning

At the southern edge of the Costa da Caparica coastline is Meco beach, Portugal’s original nudist beach but close by is the Largo de Albufeira, a favourite camping ground for Portuguese families. This variety means that the region is ideal for young families, liberal couples or the more mature visitors, simply seeking a relaxing destination.



Costa da Caparica and the Costa da Caparica coastline

The Costa da Caparica coastline extends along the entire western edge of the Setubal Peninsular, and this exceptional beach is Europe’s longest continuous sandy shoreline at 24km. The resort town of Costa da Caparica is at the northern edge of the beach, and this area contains the most tourist development but is easily accessible from Lisbon, by direct bus.

The southern sections of the Costa da Caparica coastline are wilder, with virtually no development, but this more natural setting can only be reached by car or the summer time mini-train. The southern third of Costa da Caparica coastline lies with the Arriba Fóssil da Costa nature reserve, and these pristine beaches are protected from any major tourist development.

The Fonte da Telha section of the coastline is famed for its clay muds, which have supposed skin healing properties. It is common here, to see people covering themselves in clay, letting it dry under the intense sun then rushing into the sea to wash it off.

Costa da Caparica  mini train

The mini train provides links to the much quieter southern beaches

Why visit Costa da Caparica (town) as a day trip?

The main reason for a day trip to the Costa da Caparica is for a day on the beach. The town of Costa da Caparica offers a social holiday atmosphere but without the history or charm of Cascais or Sesimbra. The beach of Costa da Caparica is often regarded as one of the finest of the Lisbon region, and due to its huge size, there is always space to be found, even if a short mini train ride needs to be taken. Costa da Caparica is a popular location for surfing due to the reliable good waves.

Costa da Caparica summer

The town of Costa da Caparica during the summer

The town of Costa da Caparica is a modern resort, and has a decent selection of shops, cafes and restaurants. These restaurants and cafes are designed for Portuguese tourists so offer exceptional value for money, especially when the meal is based around the freshly caught fish. Running along the front of the town is a pleasant coastal promenade and this makes for an enjoyable walk, and during the height of the summer season there is a mini train that connects the town to the southern pristine beaches.

The Costa da Caparica is well situated as a day trip Lisbon, as there is a regular and inexpensive express service, which only takes 30 minutes from central Lisbon.



Surfing at Costa da Caparica

The Costa da Caparica is a popular destination for surfing as there is always constant recent waves that roll in from the powerful Atlantic Ocean. These waves are suitable for beginners and intermediate surfers as the waves are large but not massive – for truly great surfing head to the Praia da Guincho on the Sintra coastline or consider the towns of Sagres, Nazaré or Peniche.

Surf equipment can be hired from the Costa da Caparica for 15€/25€ (half/full day - bodyboard or surfboard with a wetsuit). During the summer, the Costa da Caparica is a better location for surfing or body boarding than the beaches of the Cascais-Estoril coastline, as there tends to be more space. The Costa da Caparica is a great and inexpensive place to learn how to surf and good surf schools include: (who also hire equipment)

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surf school Costa da Caparica

The surfers and surfing schools at the Costa da Caparica

What about a holiday to the resort town of Costa da Caparica?

The town of Costa da Caparica can make for an enjoyable, if alternative, holiday destination. The town has excellent tourist facilities, with a good selection of hotels or self-catering accommodation while the town centre is crammed with restaurants, bars and shops. For the intrepid visitor, there is a range of interesting day trips that could include Lisbon, Sesimbra, Setubal or simply hiking around the Arriba Fóssil da Costa coastline. For families, the Costa da Caparica is a traditional Portuguese family holiday destination and children will be welcomed everywhere.

The best way to describe a holiday to the Costa da Caparica, is a like a holiday to the Coast de Sol, Canary Islands or Mallorca but without all of the dumb or badly behaved foreign tourists. There’s great weather, excellent tourist facilities and a wonderful beach, all set about a modern, if bland town. For a guide to the best hotels of Costa da Caparica please click here.

Costa da Caparica  weather

The average weather of Costa da Caparica

The resort town of Costa da Caparica

The town of Costa da Caparica appears as a typical Mediterranean beach resort with large whitewashed hotels and apartment blocks, but the area is more focused for Portuguese holidaymakers than international travellers. This means prices are reasonable while the atmosphere is family orientated and more relaxed. Costa da Caparica is referred to as a city but it only has a permanent population of just over 13,000 and was only designated as a city in December 2004. Costa da Caparica clean waters

The clean waters of the beach

Costa da Caparica's best Guide