The Best Beaches in Portugal

Car Rentals Worldwide
Car Rentals Worldwide

Best Beaches in Portugal Road Trip: Lisbon & Beyond

Perhaps you've always dreamt of visiting the Riviera and the glistening waters of the Mediterranean Sea. Might we suggest that instead of emptying your wallet to visit the French or Italian Riviera, you give the Atlantic and Lisbon, Portugal a try? With its smaller crowds and enticing exotic beaches, a road trip in Portugal from Lisbon offers all the glamour without the price tag.

Because of Portugal's geographic location, it historically shares in the roots of Spain through its Roman and Moorish conquests which can be seen through its architecture and cultural heritage. Enjoy the lamenting Fado music that fills its cobblestoned streets, bask in the sunny stretches of sandy beaches. Pick up your Lisbon rental car with Auto Europe and explore Portugal, taking in the sites and exploring off-the-beaten-path vistas inaccessabie via public transportation.

With your Auto Europe car rental in Lisbon, this gorgeous area is yours to explore as much or as little as you desire.

Click a city name in the table below to navigate to each day's itinerary.

Road Trip Drive Distance Driving TIme Major Route
Lisbon to Costa da Caparica 16.6 km 24 minutes IP7 and A38/IC20
Costa da Caparica to Estoril 34 km 30 minutes A5
Estoril to Cascais 4.2 km 13 minutes Av. Dom Nuno Álvares Pereira and Av. Marginal/N6
Totals: 54.8 km 1 hour 7 Minutes

Best Beaches in Portugal Road Trip Day 1: Lisbon

Lisbon Events & Attractions:

Lisbon attracts millions of visitors per year, and for good reason, its charm is palpable with myriad architectural wonders, white-sand beaches, and a worldly culinary scene. Explore Lisbon by car and discover all the city has to offer at a pace that best suits your travel needs.

  • Centro de Arte Moderna: Museum with over 9000 works of art by 20th century Portuguese and international artists
  • Museu Calouste Gulbenkian: Popular museum with collections highlighting a variety of artistic periods 
  • Núcleo Arqueológico: Web of underground tunnels believed to be ruins of a Roman-era Spa
  • Belém Neighborhood: Historic district, home to various UNESCO World Heritage sites (Mosteiro dos Jerónimos, Torre de Belém)
  • Castelo de São Jorge: Gothic style castle overlooking Lisbon's historic center and Tagus River

Lisbon Restaurants, Bars, and Nightlife:

  • A Baîuca: Features nightly Fado folk musicians, traditional Portuguese cuisine
  • BA Wine Bar do Bairro Alto: Wine bar focused on local vintages (Vinho Verde, Touriga Nacional), tapas include charcuterie, cheese-plates, and bread
  • Porto Alfama: Quiet intimate atmosphere, high quality tapas, and wine bar 

Lisbon Hotels & Lodging:

  • Corinthia Hotel: 5-Star Hotel, awesome views of the Aqueduct and Monsanto Park
  • Dom Pedro Palace: 5-Star Hotel, luxury hotel, turn-of-the-century interior design 
  • Inspira Santa Marta: 4-Star Hotel, centrally located, short walk to major historic attractions

Lisbon Scenic Driving Route:

Lisbon to Costa da Caparica Scenic Drive

Back to Top

Best Beaches in Portugal Road Trip Day 2: Costa da Caparica

Costa da Caparica Events & Attractions:

Just a short drive over the Tagus River is Costa da Caparica, a relaxed beach town with many quaint cafes, shops, and exciting outdoor recreational opportunities.

  • Costa da Caparica beach: Great for families, offers surfing lessons (try Duckdive or Gota d'Agua)
  • Praia do Tarquínio-Paraíso: Another great family beach located close to town center
  • Praça da Liberdade: Town center, many shops, cafes, restaurants, and historic attractions 

Costa da Caparica Restaurants, Bars, and Nightlife:

  • Pelicano & Kikiriki: Located seaside, contemporary Portuguese meals in a quaint atmosphere
  • Unik Lounge: Beachfront location, focus on seafood tapas (chocos, grilled giant tiger prawns)
  • Borda d'Agua: Coastal grill, relaxed atmosphere

Costa da Caparica Hotels & Lodging:

  • Residencial Mar e Sol: 2-Star Hotel, good value, smaller rooms, varied breakfast menu
  • The Hotel Residencial Colibri: 3-Star Hotel, centrally located, quiet rooms 
  • Hotel Real: 2-Star Hotel, ocean views, short walk to major beaches and town center

Costa da Caparica Scenic Driving Route:

Costa da Caparica to Estoril Scenic Drive

Back to Top

Best Beaches in Portugal Road Trip Day 3: Estoril

Estoril Events & Attractions:

Estoril is a fun, beachside town that impersonal packaged tours won't get you to. With a Portugal car rental from Auto Europe, you wont miss out on this resort that has claims to have inspired the James Bond story "Casino Royale." Yes, Europe's largest casino is found here and even for those who aren't gaming, it can be fun to don your finest and cruise through the club.

  • Golfe do Estoril: 18-hole, resort golf course known as "oldest and most emblematic clubs in Portugal"
  • Casino Estoril: Largest casino in Europe 
  • Casa Verdades de Faria: Portuguese music museum featuring both historic and contemporary music
  • Belém neighborhood: Historic district, home to various UNESCO World Heritage sites (Mosteiro dos Jerónimos, Torre de Belém)
  • Tamariz Beach: Good family beach

Estoril Restaurants, Bars, and Nightlife:

  • Restaurante Cozinha do Mar: Traditional Portuguese food, with a simple but elegant menu, and quick/friendly service
  • Baiuka: Open-air beachfront location offering a simple, yet delicious menu of fresh seafood, wines, and salads 
  • Azimut Restaurante Bar: Beachfront, grilled fish dishes, superb drink menu

Estoril Hotels & Lodging:

  • Saboia Estoril Hotel: 3-Star Hotel, centrally located a short walk from the major beaches, facilities include a swimming pool, bar, a gym
  • Clube do Lago: 4-Star Hotel, located outside of town (Monte Estoril), facilities include a cafeteria and snackbar

Estoril Scenic Driving Route:

Estoril to Cascais Scenic Drive

Back to Top

Best Beaches in Portugal Road Trip Day 4: Cascais

Cascais Events & Attractions:

Considered one of Lisbon's most popular seaside suburbs, this cozy resort village has something for everybody - numerous idyllic beaches, a historic town center lined with old-world architecture, and a variety of shopping options.

  • Centro Historico: Historic town center featuring numerous shops, mueseums, and restaurants
  • Museu do Mar: Museum celebrating the Portugal's historic naval power 
  • Boca do Inferno: Incredible cliffside views and crashing Atlantic waves
  • Casa das Histórias Paula Rego: Collection of Paula Rego's work from the 1950s to the 1990s, for those interested in art and architecture
  • Praia da Ribeira: One of many near-perfect beaches in Cascais
  • Cresmina Beach: Another idyllic white-sand beach in Cascais

Cascais Restaurants, Bars, and Nightlife:

  • Fortaleza do Guincho: Ocean-view hotel restaurant specializing in authentic Portuguese fare, boasting one of the most comprehensive wine lists in all of Portugal
  • Dom Diniz: Cozy and small family run restaurant focused on wine, cheese, and tapas 
  • Restaurante Marisco Na Praca: Stylish, modern restaurant setting featuring locally caught Cascais seafood dishes  

Cascais Hotels & Lodging:

  • Praia Mar: 4-Star Hotel, 100m from the beach and tourist shopping destinations, includes on-site restaurant and bar
Back to Top

More Fantastic European Road Trip Planning Guides

France Road Trips
Italy Road Trips
Spain Road Trips
Germany Road Trips
UK Road Trips
Ireland Road Trips
Switzerland Road Trips
Netherlands Road Trips