Praia da Ursa in Sintra is Europe's westernmost beach
Sintra is better known for its fairytale palaces, but its rugged coastline (which partly lies within the protected Sintra-Cascais Nature Park) also has extraordinarily beautiful beaches. Unlike Cascais, whose beaches face south, Sintra faces west, so its beaches tend to be windier, and the average water temperature is just over 15 degrees celsius (59F), but they’re very clean and with good surfing waves.
Praia da Adraga has been listed among the best beaches in Europe
Their main attraction, however, is the wild and dramatic natural scenery, formed by precipitous cliffs, jagged rocks, and crescent-shaped bays. The most stunning examples are the beaches of Ursa and Adraga, which have grown in popularity but remain nearly devoid of crowds.
For a preview of Sintra’s beaches, take a look at the video of the Eurodance hit “Amazing” by Inna, which almost looks like a tourism ad for the region.
How to Get to the Beaches in Sintra
If you’re staying in Lisbon, it’s better to rent a car, as most beaches are served by rather infrequent buses departing from Sintra. To know how to reach them, and for more details (and photos), see the beach guides below (if you have purchased the Lisboa Card, you may ride the train from Lisbon to Sintra for free).
Beaches in Sintra
- Praia da Adraga - Scenic beach wedged between tall cliffs, that’s been ranked among Europe’s best.
- Praia da Ursa - Europe’s westernmost beach, wild and beautiful.
- Praia das Maçãs - The favorite beach of local families.
- Praia Grande - Large beach overlooked by a huge seawater swimming pool, and known for surfing and dinosaur footprints.
- Praia da Aguda - Wild, nearly deserted and an unofficial nude beach.
- Praia do Magoito - A beach for families and surfers, by a dune classified as a geomonument.
- Praia das Azenhas do Mar - Tiny beach by one of Portugal’s most picturesque villages.