From Costa da Caparica to Lisbon it’s only 22 minutes!
Visit Costa da Caparica Lisbon Portugal (2020)
Costa da Caparica is a parish in the municipality of Almada. But it is located only 10 km from Lisbon. It was elevated to a city in 2004. It is famous for its beautiful beaches that, however, have been disappearing especially near the mouth of the river Tejo.
Many beaches are part of Costa da Caparica. The most famous are: São João beach, Nova beach, Castelo beach, Sereia beach, CDS beach and Telha fountain. But the attractions of this city are not exhausted in its beautiful beaches. The protected landscape of Costa da Caparica’s Fossil Arriba is worth your visit by itself. But there is more, much more to discover…
In 1770 the first fishermen from Ílhavo (a town near Aveiro) settled in Costa da Caparica. They settled on a sand tongue between the ocean and the huge cliffs (70 to 100 meters high) of the area. If you are interested in the history of Costa da Caparica, please follow the article to the end.
The parish also has fishing districts (Cova do Vapor and Fonte da Telha). Despite the progress of modernity, these neighborhoods keep their characteristics almost intact.
If you like to walk on the beach and have a particular interest in fishing villages and their people, then you will love Costa da Caparica. In this case, be sure to also read our article about Figueira da Foz.
THE BEST BEACHES OF THE CAPARICA COAST
There are many (and good!) beaches along the coast of Caparica.
Here are some recommendations:
COVA DO VAPOR BEACH (PRAIA DA COVA DO VAPOR)
It’s a perfect beach for those who don’t like “trendy beaches”. This is clearly my case. It’s next to the steam pit neighborhood, a middle or middle/middle low class neighborhood. There are many houses (small houses) that function as 2nd habitation.
The sand is large and has much fewer people than (probably) all the other beaches on the coast. Sometimes it has the inconvenience of being a bit windy. It has a (expensive) but good quality beach support. For those who like typical and cheap places (like me), there are some cafes at the entrance of the beach (example: steam pit residents association).
Be careful with the strong currents that sometimes make themselves felt near the pontoons (as indicated in the photo).
SÃO JOÃO BEACH (PRAIA DE SÃO JOÃO)
One of the most historically frequented beaches in Costa da Caparica. It has the advantage of a paid parking lot (but it can save a lot of headaches when arriving and leaving the beach). But in the summer months, traffic is always very intense.
CDS BEACH (PRAIA DO CDS)
Contrary to what many people think, the beach has no connotation or political connection. In fact, CDS are the initials for Surf Sports Center (CDS is also the initials of a political party in Portugal). Those who travel to the coast by bus leave at CDS beach station. In the 70’s, the acronym was drawn on the pier stones of this beach to distinguish it from the other beaches on the coast. It is also a very popular beach for surfers.
COSTA DA CAPARICA WEATHER
Costa da Caparica has a moderate climate, not reaching extreme temperatures at any time of the year. But it is between May and October that we have the best period to enjoy what this city has to offer: the beaches, the walks, the activities or the cultural visits.
In a more graphic way, the temperature and rainfall of Costa da Caparica throughout the year is here.
COSTA DA CAPARICA, WHAT TO VISIT NEARBY?
CHRIST THE KING (CRISTO REI)
If you visit Costa da Caparica and Cristo Rei, be sure to climb to the top of this monument. First of all because you will have a magnificent view over the 25 de Abril bridge. But also because from there you can see the natural parks of Sintra-Cascais, Arrábida and, obviously, the city of Lisbon!
Christ the King is the most emblematic monument on the south bank. It is a religious monument that represents the sacred heart of Jesus and is inspired by the famous Christ the Redeemer of Rio de Janeiro. It was inaugurated in 1959. It has an amazing height of 110 meters (!). Not to be missed!
COSTA DA CAPARICA TRAIN
It went into operation in 1960 at a time when few had a car. The train allowed the Portuguese to get to know and consequently frequent the most remote beaches of the Caparica coast more assiduously. It makes the connection between the beach on the coast of Caparica and Fonte da Telha. Although it is a means of transportation, it is essentially a leisure experience. A journey of 9 km, with 4 stations and 15 stops. Available only during the summer months.
The trains are old and uncomfortable. But these peculiarities make the journey picturesque and an authentic journey into the past. During the trip, you will be able to admire on one side the Fossil Arriba of Costa da Caparica and on the other, the beaches of the coast and the ocean.
PROTECTED LANDSCAPE OF THE FOSSIL CLIFF OF CAPARICA COAST (PAISAGEM PROTEGIDA DA ARRIBA FÓSSIL DA COSTA DA CAPARICA)
It is located 10 kilometers from the city center. To get to know this place, the best option is a walk. Start the walk at Fonte da Telha. If you choose to do your walking tour through the middle of the forest, then you will have the opportunity to know magnificent viewpoints. But if you choose the path closest to the beaches, you will know many of the beautiful beaches of this bathing area.
MATA DOS MEDOS – Costa da Caparica’s routes
In Costa da Caparica, near the beaches, there are many special places. Mata dos Medos is one of these places. It was planted by King D. João V to retain the sands, thus preventing them from advancing to the agricultural lands. Today it is a Botanical Reserve, over the Fossil Arriba of Costa da Caparica. As we approach the coastal limit of the forest, a breathtaking view over the ocean opens. After arriving there, you can enjoy a view of the Sintra Mountain (to the north), and Cape Espichel (to the south).
But Mata is also a pleasant place for a picnic, a family outing or a walk, enjoying the scents of the sea, pine and rosemary. The forest also has two walking paths available: the Green Trail and the Blue Trail. Both leave and end at the Zimbral Picnic Park.
Trilho Verde is a very beautiful walk, through an easy path, with only 1.2 Km. It is a walk that takes about 1 hour and passes through a viewpoint with a fabulous view.
The Blue Trail follows the Green Trail to the viewpoint, however, on the way back, the route takes us to another viewpoint, further south, ideal for enjoying the sunset. This trail has 2.2 Km. Although it is longer than the green trail, this path is equally easy.
A different and remarkable way to enjoy the beauty of Costa da Caparica is through a horse ride. There are two rides available, one along the immense beach, between the cliffs and the ocean, the other, penetrating the trees and secrets of Mata dos Medos. The walk along the beach is only possible outside the bathing season. If you are curious, do not let this experience pass.
More information is available here. https://www.casadesaocristovao.com/pt/passeios-a-cavalo
COSTA DA CAPARICA FROM THE SKY – Paragliding flight
The experience of Costa da Caparica from the sky is unforgettable! I advise the fearless to take a paragliding flight. Don’t worry if you’ve never done anything like this, everything will be taken care of with supervision, safety and professionalism. Don’t forget to bring your camera, you’ll want to record the moment.
If you are already excited, enjoy and make your reservation now. https://parapenteportugal.com/batismos-de-voo/
FUN PARK – SÃO JOÃO, COSTA DA CAPARICA
Right in front of S. João da Caparica beach, is the Fun Parque adventure park. You can spend good times here with friends or family, enjoying recreational activities such as arborism, climbing, inflatables and paintball.
Fun Parque is a great entertainment proposal in Costa da Caparica.
URBAN PARK OF COSTA DA CAPARICA
The park smells like the sea! It is just over 600 meters from the beach of Santo António da Caparica. The Costa da Caparica Urban Park, or Parque de Santo António, occupies a very large area, and has some resources that can be very useful.
In the enclosure, there are two stupendous playgrounds, where, besides the classic equipment, there are also others less common: boats, houses and wooden bridges, nets and rope swings, slide, trampoline… Those who have small children know that a good park can be a lifesaver!
There is a restaurant and a picnic park, for those who prefer picnics. The sportsmen have at their disposal tennis courts, basketball, soccer and bicycle paths, although the courts do not seem to have much use. Still in this space, there is a parking lot with more than 200 places.
CONVENT AND VIEWPOINT OF CAPUCHOS
The Convento dos Capuchos is located in the middle of Costa da Caparica, very close to the highway access. If you drive to the beach, take the opportunity to visit the convent on your way, or when you leave. The space is open from Wednesday to Saturday, between 10am and 6pm.
The Convento dos Capuchos is a 16th century building, with a simple and elegant design. It belonged to the Franciscan order, which remained here until the 19th century. But in the 20th century the building was acquired and restored by the Almada municipality.
Currently, in the privileged place of the convent, there is a cultural center, hosting shows and exhibitions.
Besides the beauty of the convent building, the whole surrounding area provides a pleasant walk. Take the opportunity to visit the beautiful gardens. Access to the gardens is free of charge and through a portal to the left of the convent. A beautiful viewpoint opens between the green paths, next to the Pablo Neruda monument.
There is another viewpoint a few meters from the convent, but outside its property. This is known as Miradouro dos Capuchos and has an impressive panoramic view. On a clear day, from this place you can see the whole of Costa de Caparica, the Sintra Mountain, Lisbon, the Bugio Lighthouse, the S. Julião Fort, the Cascais Bay, the Arrábida Mountain and Cape Espichel.
SOLAR DOS ZAGALLOS – COSTA DA CAPARICA
Solar dos Zagallos is an 18th century manor house surrounded by an extremely charming garden. The interior is a place of great beauty.
The Solar was acquired by the City Council of Almada in 1980. Later it was converted into a cultural space with frequent musical events and exhibitions. But with or without events, it is worth knowing the Solar. There the two noble halls stand out, ordered to be built expressly to receive King D. João VI. After visiting the halls, go out to the wonderful garden. There you will find a small chapel of blue and white tiles, consecrated to the Lord of the Steps.
The manor house is open for visits on Sundays, between 2:00pm and 5:30pm, and from Wednesday to Saturday, between 10:00am and 12:00pm.
CROSSING THE TAGUS BY FERRY
From Lisbon to Costa da Caparica, as an alternative to the car and bus, you can enjoy the crossing of the Tagus River by ferry. But do not think you will make a sacrifice! If you embark in Belém, you will disembark at Trafaria, and from here there is a direct connection with the bus that goes to the coast of Caparica. Another possibility is to take the ferry at Cais do Sodré, disembark at Cacilhas and take the bus to Costa da Caparica.From Lisbon to Costa da Caparica, as an alternative to the car and bus, you can enjoy the crossing of the Tagus River by ferry. But do not think you will make a sacrifice! If you embark in Belém, you will disembark at Trafaria, and from here there is a direct connection with the bus that goes to the coast of Caparica. Another possibility is to take the ferry at Cais do Sodré, disembark at Cacilhas and take the bus to Costa da Caparica.
It is possible to make the whole trip from Lisbon to Costa da Caparica by bus, just take the vehicle 153, 155 or 161 of the TST (Transportes Sul do Tejo) network. This is a practical solution, but it doesn’t have the same charm as the ferry.
FRIGATE DOM FERNANDO II AND GLORY
If you take the ferry at Cais do Sodré, towards Costa da Caparica, when you disembark in Cacilhas, don’t let it pass by the Dom Fernando II and Glória Frigate, anchored at Cacilhas Pier 2. By the way, even if you don’t come this way, it’s worth taking a small detour to visit this historic and glorious sailboat.
The frigate was built in the XIX century, in Damão, a city that at the time belonged to Portuguese India. The sailboat left for the first time from Goa, the main Indo-Portuguese city, bound for Lisbon. For several years it made the connection between the Portuguese territories in India and mainland Portugal, carrying up to 600 passengers.
During the visit to this boat, its four floors are traversed, which reproduce in detail the original environment.
The frigate can be visited every day, Monday from 12h and the remaining days of the week from 10h. From June to September the Frigate closes at 6pm and from May to October at 5pm. The adult ticket costs 4 euros and those for children, young and over 65 years old costs 2 euros. On the first Sunday of each month and on May 20th, the entrance is free.
PANORAMIC WIND MOUTH ELEVATOR (ELEVADOR PANORÂMICO DA BOCA DO VENTO)
After visiting the Dom Fernando II and Glória Frigate, enjoy the ride along the river until you reach the Boca do Vento Panoramic Elevator (less than 15 minutes walk). First of all because this elevator will give you an incredible view. Then because it makes a quick connection between the riverside area, where many restaurants are located, and the historical area of Almada.
The elevator leaves every 15 minutes and the access ticket costs $1.
THE FENCE HOUSE (CASA DA CERCA)
In the historical center of Almada, almost in front of the panoramic elevator, is the Casa da Cerca. This is a municipal space, transformed into a contemporary art center, that privileges the plastic arts, particularly the drawing. The Casa da Cerca is part of the Palace of the Fence. But if contemporary art doesn’t attract you, still don’t stop by to take a walk in the Casa da Cerca Botanical Garden.
Trafaria was (and still is) a fishermen’s neighborhood belonging to the parish of Costa da Caparica. It has a population of 5696 inhabitants. The neighborhood in front of the boat station deserves a visit so you can get to know its narrow streets and typical houses.
According to some historical reports, Trafaria had its origin in a fishing village. Fishing is still an important activity (although it has been losing importance over the last years).
IF YOU DON’T HAVE TIME TO SEE EVERYTHING, BE SURE TO SEE
|ASCENT TO CHRIST THE KING|
|COVA DO VAPOR BEACH|
|VILLAGE OF TRAFARIA|
VIRTUAL TOUR to Costa da Caparica Lisbon Portugal
ACCOMMODATION AT COSTA DA CAPARICA
DO YOU WANT TO STAY IN A FANTASTIC PLACE?
TRYP LISBOA CAPARICA MAR HOTEL
Hotel with a good location (in front of the beach). According to the reviews I analyzed, the hotel has comfortable rooms, an outdoor pool, friendly staff and a great breakfast. Some difficulties with parking.
MERCURE LISBOA ALMADA
Located a little far from the beach but very close to Cristo Rei, the Almada Forum and a park. The reviews are very good (4.3/5) – it is the best rating of all the hotels (4 stars) in the Costa da Caparica area.
LOOKING FOR CHEAP ACCOMMODATION ON COSTA OF CAPARICA?
MAR E SOL RESIDENCIAL
The reviews are quite good. It has an excellent relation between quality and price. Among the compliments, the cleanliness of the place, the quality of the breakfast and the comfort of the rooms (despite being small) stand out.
LISBON SOUTH HOSTEL
It also has, according to the opinions, an excellent relationship between quality and price. The comments refer to the sympathy, the terrace, the swimming pool, the coworking space and the presentation rooms. It is very central and the breakfast has excellent comments.
WHERE TO EAT WELL AND… CHEAP ON THE COAST OF CAPARICA?
I’ve been a regular at Trafaria restaurants for many years. Consequently, the following recommendations are the result of an accumulated and repeated experience.
CASA BOM PETISCO
Magnificent option for those who like fish (sea bass, cuttlefish, sole). It is a small restaurant, very cozy, run by a small family nucleus. It is located in the center of Trafaria (3 or 4 minutes by car from the coast of Caparica). I have been a regular customer for many years. It has an excellent quality and a great price-quality ratio.
Price: 17 to 19 euros per person (starter+plate (fish)+wine+dessert)
Next to Trafaria’s boat station. The dishes of the day and the meat are very cheap and of good quality (attention because the fish is expensive). The staff is friendly, the restaurant is big and once again, with a fantastic price/quality ratio.
Price: 10 to 14 euros per person (starter + dish + wine + dessert + coffee)
EVENTS AT COSTA DA CAPARICA
It is customary to think that cultural activities are limited to the great and cosmopolitan city of Lisbon. But the truth is that the south bank of the Tagus presents an impressive dynamic of cultural events
To keep track of upcoming events on the coast of Caparica, click HERE!
PHOTOS OF THE COAST OF CAPARICA
THE POPULATION OF COSTA DA CAPARICA
HISTORY OF COSTA DA CAPARICA
It won’t be hard to believe the records that say the name of the area is directly related to its geographical position.
Shortly after the arrival of the group from Ilhavo (1770), another group of fishermen arrived, the Algarvians. It is said that in smaller numbers. The two “peoples” settled in different locations along the coast but close enough to give rise to a rivalry between groups.
But as time went by, the groups mixed together and gave rise to the “CAPARICANO”. A mixture where the specific characteristics of Ílhavo and the Algarve were dissipated. And to this “new man”, the fishermen of Sesimbra, Setúbal, and the men of “land inside” joined with the passage of time. Many of these “foreigners”, appeared during the summer months to work in fishing and stayed in tents. Thus, they were called “barraqueiros” by the people of the Caparica coast.
At the beginning of the 19th century, the first stone and lime house was built where Dom João VI stayed. The area between the houses and the cliff began to be used for agriculture at the end of the 18th century. In the seasons when the sea did not allow fishing, the land passed the occupation of the places. The soil was fertilized with algae and fish. This measure, together with the large amount of water present in the land in that region, made that land a solution for subsistence. In an initial phase they cultivated cereals and vines. Later, they started growing vegetables that were sold in the big Portuguese markets of that time.
A LAND OF MISFORTUNES
But there have been many misfortunes that have devastated the people of the coast. Hunger, maritime tragedies, diseases and even fires were part of the daily life of the “caparicans”. As a consequence of successive disasters, a space was opened for a fervent religion among the locals. Consequently there were many religious manifestations: building of churches, processions (Senhor dos Passos), religious festivals (Nossa Senhora da Conceição) and pilgrimages (from the Círios to Nossa Senhora do Cabo).