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When the weather is hot, there’s nothing as satisfying as a day spent by the water. While many European capitals offer proximity to beaches, rivers or lakes, few of them boast convenient access to both a river and several beaches. Situated on the Tagus River, Lisbon has a waterfront of its own—plus many beaches an hour or less away.
If you’re itching to explore the shores beyond the city, you have plenty of options. Most beaches around Lisbon are accessible by the train linking Lisbon and Cascais. (Trains depart from Lisbon’s Cais do Sodré train station.) Round-trip fares are generally under €10, making these destinations perfect for a Cheapo-friendly day trip. Visit the Lisbon transportation Web site for more information.
To cool off Portuguese-style, grab your towel and sun block and head to one of the following stretches of shore:
For convenience: Tamariz Beach
Located in the resort town of Estoril, Tamariz Beach is dotted with sun-shade umbrellas for rent. Flanked by a giant casino, golf courses and a race track, Tamariz Beach is not the most obvious Cheapo destination. It does have its perks, however: It’s only a 30-minute train ride from Lisbon (take the Lisbon-Cascais line to the Estoril stop), and it boasts a stone castle owned by the royal family of Monaco as its backdrop.
There’s a beachside restaurant and a number of bars that stay open late during the summer months. Make sure to check out the lush Estoril gardens: They provide a taste of the luxe resort life for free.
For a lively beach scene: Costa da Caparica
Situated on the south bank of the Tagus River, Costa da Caparica is a long stretch of calm, sandy shores (read: a beach bum’s paradise). Costa da Caparica is a good destination for nightlife, as the bars, restaurants and cafés stay open late as revelers drink and dance.
The beaches of Costa da Caparica are accessible by bus from Lisbon’s Praça de Espanha terminal.
For water sports and peaceful surroundings: Guincho
If you’re looking for a quick escape from metropolitan Lisbon, head to the sedate shores of Guincho Beach. There’s scenery to boot: Trees line the sand, and the Boca do Inferno cavern sits among rocky cliffs. Add a beach blanket and a good book, and you have the perfect place for a lazy afternoon.
More active Cheapos can take advantage of Guincho’s strong waves. The area is popular with both windsurfers and surfers. To get there, take the train from Lisbon to Cascais. From Cascais, Guincho is a short bus ride.
For a real day trip: Ribeira das Ilhas
For those who don’t mind heading further afield, Ribeira das Ilhas in the town of Ericeira provides a good option. This is an especially surfer-friendly destination. The beach has hosted numerous high-profile surfing championships, and the waters are sure to be dotted with people riding the waves.
Besides top-notch surfing, Ribeira das Ilhas offers plenty of bars and restaurants. From Lisbon, the train ride takes an hour and a half. Trains depart from Lisbon’s Grand Campo Grande terminal.