The view over Ribeiro do Cavalo Beach, from the top of the cliff.
No one had ever heard of this wild beach until recently, when social media, bloggers, and travel websites began showing photos of its stunning scenery. It wasn’t even marked on any map, and only a few locals knew that there was a trail leading down to one of Portugal’s most beautiful beaches. They kept it a well-guarded secret, but it’s now quite popular, including with tourists.
The beautiful, wild landscape of Ribeiro do Cavalo Beach.
However, only the young, fit and adventurous make it here, as it involves going down an unmarked path down a cliff. Occasionally, you do see children at this beach, but the hike is not recommended for anyone below the age of 12 or 13. Older adults may also want to avoid it. For everyone else, you just have to follow the trail created by the many footsteps over the years. Just make sure you’re wearing sneakers and not flip flops!
Ribeiro do Cavalo Beach has calm, clean, and crystal-clear waters.
Unlike the surfing beaches to the west of Lisbon, this one (to the south) has calm waters. And they’re quite crystal-clear and shallow, perfect for swimming.
Ribeiro do Cavalo Beach is largely considered one of Portugal's most beautiful.
The surrounding landscape, made up of greenery, rocks and sea stacks, makes it look like a beach somewhere in Thailand and not in Europe, so you’ll see many people constantly taking selfies.
Ribeiro do Cavalo Beach is mostly frequented by young Lisbonites and tourists.
There are no lifeguards or facilities of any kind, so bring plenty of food and water and remember to take all the trash with you. Also note that the beach’s name is Praia do Ribeiro do Cavalo, and not Praia da Ribeira do Cavalo, as it’s sometimes wrongly said.
This is a wild beach with no facilities, so make sure you keep it clean and take all the trash with you!
How to Get to Ribeiro do Cavalo Beach
Where the paved and the gravel roads meet, above Ribeiro do Cavalo Beach.
Ribeiro do Cavalo Beach is about a 10-minute drive from Sesimbra, a town located 40km (25 miles) south of Lisbon. Don’t mind walking? -- the trail down the cliff starts after about a 30-minute walk from the center of town, heading west, following Avenida dos Náufragos and the coastal road.
The trail leading down to Ribeiro do Cavalo Beach
From Lisbon, take a bus to Sesimbra and then follow the walking instructions above. That bus is the 207 of the TST company, which departs from the Sete Rios terminal (it makes several stops along the way, so it takes about 1 hour and 15 minutes to reach Sesimbra).
The final descent to the beach
If you’re driving, it takes about 1 hour to go from the capital to Sesimbra and this beach. Park where the paved road ends, walk down the gravel road to the clifftop, and follow the trail down. If you don’t get lost, you’ll have your feet in the sand in about 20 minutes.
Hotels by Ribeiro do Cavalo Beach
Hotel do Mar
There are no hotels in the immediate surroundings of Ribeiro do Cavalo Beach, but this 4-star hotel is a 30-to-40-minute walk or 10-minute drive away. Built on a hillside overlooking the ocean, all rooms have sea views and a private terrace. There are also indoor and outdoor pools, and a restaurant facing the Atlantic.