Lots of Beaches Outside Of Lisbon
The city of Lisbon is on the Tagus River. Right in the city we found an active waterfront and historical districts but no beaches. But we did not have to go far to find beaches outside of Lisbon.
When we visited Lisbon the first time, when we left we headed along the coast for our visit to the Algarve. We stopped in the beach towns of Sesimbra and Setubal. Along the way we found many world-class beaches at Portinho da Arrabida, Praia de Arrabida, Praia de Galaphinhos and Praia da Figueirinha. Each was more beautiful than the last. Long stretches of white sand. There was little parking at most of the beaches. But locals park on the road and climb down the hills to the beach.
On this visit to Lisbon, we headed in the direction of Cascais. Along the way, there were many other local beaches outside of Lisbon. It was unseasonably warm in Lisbon in October and everyone was making the best of the last heat wave. We were headed to the beaches outside of Lisbon for a great day to enjoy the Intercontinental Estoril.
Heading To Cascais
If you have a car in Lisbon, it is a short 30 minute drive in no traffic to reach Cascais and the beaches outside of Lisbon. A taxi is not for anyone on a budget. There is Uber in Lisbon so that may be a cheaper option than a taxi.
We usually take public transit if that is a reasonable option. There was a regular train o Cascais along the same route goes to Sintra. But an easier option is to take the regional subway train. We took the local subway line and connected to the green line. The Cais do Sodré stop is at the end of the green line. From there we went upstairs to get the regional subway train line to Cascais.
The ticket you get for the local subway cannot be used for the regional subway train to Cascais. So this meant we had to buy another ticket at the Cais do Sodré station. But there were lots of ticket machines and one person working when we went. Even buying two tickets, it cost us only 7.80€ for the full trip there and back. It was cheap transport for a day on the beaches outside of Lisbon.
It was a hot Saturday and the train was filled with beach-clad locals headed to the beaches outside of Lisbon. Most train cars had standing room only. But since the regional subway train ran every 20 minutes, it was a short wait for the next train and a seat.
The regional subway train was a bit of a milk-run with multiple stops along the way. This train is also an option if you want to visit the Belem region of Lisbon. Even with regular stops, the trip took under 40 minutes.
Visiting The Intercontinental Estoril
Our destination for the day was a trip to the lovely small boutique resort at the Intercontinental Estoril. We have written about the excellent customer service at Intercontinental (IC) Lisbon before. And this was just another example to show how broad their customer service goes. We had expressed an interest in the Intercontinental sister property in Estoril. When we booked a return visit to Lisbon and the IC Lisbon, Carla (Marketing and PR Manager) proactively reached out and offered us a day at the IC Estoril.
The IC Estoril is located very close to the Monte Estoril stop on the regional subway train line. The beach town of Cascais is the next stop and Estoril is the one before this. So beaches surround the IC Estoril. They are no more than a 5 minute walk away.
We met with Nuno (Food and Beverage Manager) at IC Estoril. He provided us with a great view of this small boutique property. All of the rooms look our over the pool and the water. Suites are on the higher levels. The top of the hotel is actually private apartments. This is a relatively new hotel. It is decoration is modern and even the elevator controls are electronically controlled.
A large breakfast area is inside the hotel and the lovely Atlantica restaurant is adjoining the hotel. There was plenty of quiet space in the lobby. A full gym with new equipment is available if you want to do more than just lounge!
There is no Concierge Lounge. Instead they offer a “Club Experience” for guest staying in Suites or Ocean View Club rooms. This gives you breakfast, Afternoon Tea, Happy Hour with drinks and canapés and non-alcoholic drinks during the day. If we stayed and wanted to just chill out, we would be happy with this Club Experience.
A Great Seafood Lunch At Atlantico
When we walked into the Atlantico for lunch, we knew we must be in the right place. There is a champagne bar at the restaurant.
A large patio with umbrellas provided a great view while we ate lunch.
The Atlantico menu had a good selection of local Portuguese specialties and a great seafood selection. We never pass on fresh seafood! The octopus and sea bass were both perfect choices. We tried some local wines with our seafood lunch. And of course, we found chocolate for dessert! Portugal is a great destination for delicious food!
We had a slow leisurely lunch before we headed down to enjoy more at the IC Estoril.
We Lounged By The Pool
Even if there is a beach close by, I generally want to swim in the pool. The waves crashed on the beach and we even saw young guys with small surf boards. There was a steady procession of boats in the water. Groups of people on SUPs (Stand Up Paddleboards) went past. We saw that the beaches were really packed. It was a good thing we had a quiet spot that was close but not in the midst of this. The ocean water was a cold 17℃ (about 62℉) and I would not be swimming there!
The pool at IC Estroril was large. Part of the pool had a shallow area that would be great for kids. The other part had many different levels depending on how deep you wanted to go. The pool water was a little cool for this wimpy Canadian to swim. But it was great for a quick dip to cool down.
I was delighted to find a large number of loungers and umbrellas beside the pool and down into the water. There were even lounge chairs in isolated little nooks. We picked a spot and settled in for a couple of hours of total relaxation. My cell phone ran out of batteries so I even got some time to totally check out.
The train track runs right behind the IC Estoril. I was worried that this would intrude on my lounging by the pool. Every 20 minutes like clockwork the train would go one way and then back the other way. I was conscious of the train passing but it did not really bother me. The high hedges at the back of the pool block out most of the view of the train. Being so close to the train station was probably more of a positive than negative note for me at this resort.
A Great Day Outside Of Lisbon
We spent a great relaxing day outside of Lisbon. We needed a little downtime after our busy back-to-back cruise in the Baltic and then along the northern coast of Europe. It was great to arrive in Lisbon in the middle of a very hot autumn. And we wanted to take advantage of the beaches outside of Lisbon.
We will definitely head back tot he Cascais and Estoril areas when we are in Lisbon next. It is great to have little beach communities a short train ride away.
There are many other options for a short trip to find a beach outside of Lisbon. You can go a little further away and hit the great beaches between Sesimbra and Setubal. When we headed to the Algarve, we found even more great beaches. And then we tried the beaches in the Azores. Beach lovers will want to visit Portugal!
What is your favourite beach outside of Lisbon?
Disclaimer – As paying guests of the Intercontinental Lisbon (with very high rewards status), we were invited to be guests of the Intercontinental Estoril for the day. The cost of our lunch was covered. But this in no way influenced our view of this property. We would definitely stay at this property on a return visit to Lisbon.