Costa Caparica Lisbon: white, unspoilt beaches, Fonte da Telha & Beach 19, Portugal’s most popular gay beach & how to get there
If you want to escape the hassle and the heat of Lisbon on a hot summer day, why not try the beaches of Costa da Caparica, just across the Tejo river. The locals swarm to the village of Caparica, that looks a lot like Brighton in England or Benidorm in Spain, but just away from the village, past the vast camping sites tens of kilometres of white, unspoilt beaches are at your disposal!
Costa da Caparica beach in summertime.
The boulevard of the village itself is undergoing major reconstruction. A huge boardwalk is being built, where half of Lisbon is parading on a warm summer day.
Take the little train (in season) at the end of the boardwalk (€ 5 return) and it will take you 8 kilometres south to the quiet stretches of sand. The train has 21 stops (the first three are under the new boardwalk now, so it starts at stop (paragem) number 4 (September 2008).
The best ones are Morena and Sereia, surrounded by dunes and with good bars. At almost every stop there’s a beachclub and the further south you go, the more you have the place to yourself.
The ‘Trans-Praia’ train.
Stop (paragem) 19, also known as Beach 19 or Praia de Bela Vista, is where the nudist beach starts, also world famous for being Portugal’s most popular gay beach. Gay clubs and parties in Lisbon; bar Le Marais Lisbon, open from 5.30 pm
As everywhere in the world: where the nudist beach ends, the gay cruising begins and this is the largest in Portugal.
In the vast bushes behind the railway track, guys from all over Europe and beyond, meet for some fun and relaxation.
Beach 19 Costa da Caparica Lisbon
From Lisbon to Costa da Caparica: by car, go South to Caparica and south again all the way to the last access to the beaches. When the road goes uphill, you have just passed the access you want to go! Go past Praia do Rei until the parking at the end of the dust road. Upon Bela Vista, walk south, to the left of the restaurant. It’s some 2 miles of white sand beach and dunes! A taxi will take you there from downtown Lisbon for a little over € 20.
By bus: from Praça de Espanha take bus 153 to Costa de Caparica busstation. Walk five minutes south along the boulevard and you’ll see the little train, that leaves every half hour (until end of September). The 161 bus from Praca de Areeiro will also take you to Caparica.
Ferry to Lisbon Cacilhas
An alternative route includes a mini-cruise (15 min.) on the ferry from Cais do Sodré across the river to Cacilhas. Get on bus 138 (directo) to Costa da Caparica (bus 124 via Almada will provide you with a long detour past 1960 highrise architecture, that’s better avoided).
By train: cross the Tagus river to Pragal railway station and take bus 196 to Caparica. The train may be a good alternative on weekends, it’ll help you avoid the traffic jams on the 25th of April Bridge.
At stop (paragem) 21 at the end of the line where the train turns, there’s the village of Fonte da Telha (‘Fountain of the roof’). This little fishermen’s village is perfect for that holiday feeling. This is the real Portugal, with some trendy beach cafés added to it. Fonta da Telha can also be reached by bus from Cacilhas harbour. Beach 19 is just a short walk from the centre of Fonte da Telha. A taxi there from Lisbon will put you back a little over € 25.
Even further south, about 10 kilometres from Fonte da Telha: Meco Beach, a real mecca for nudists & surfers