Located 20 km south of the historic centre of Lisbon, this is a place you can’t miss! Visit Costa da Caparica and discover all the natural wonders and the authenticity of the people living in this small city in the south bank of Tagus river.
Known in Portugal for its wonderful beaches, this city hides a natural treasure that took my breath away – the Costa da Caparica Fossil Cliff Protected Landscape.
If you’re like me and love beautiful beaches with fine sand, hiking among wonderful landscapes, admiring fishermen and their authentic quarters, then visiting Costa da Caparica is a must and something to do when you visit this part of Portugal!
What to see when you visit Costa da Caparica
When you arrive to this city, go to Bairro dos Pescadores (Fishermen’s Quarter), more precisely to the end of the street Rua Parque de Campismo de Almada, to discover the wonderful beaches that stretch for 15 km of the coastline.
Even though you can walk along the stretch of fine sand for 15 km, I suggest you go for two small hikes to discover the photogenic houses located on the beach, admire the beautiful cliffs with bright colours and enjoy the wonderful views from the viewpoints.
When you’re at the Nova Praia beach (in the above-mentioned street), you’ll see to the left a small railway line used by the company Transpraia in high season (from June to September) to take people from this beach to Fonte da Telha beach, a 9-km long route.
Inaugurated in 1960, this small train gave the opportunity for visitors to enjoy the beaches further away from the centre of the city, this happened at a time when having a car wasn’t as common as it is today.
Nowadays, this train is less used since there are many accesses for the different beaches and people drive there.
If you visit Costa da Caparica in low season (as I did), walk along this railway line for 1 km to admire the back of the fishermen houses and then make your way back through the fine sand of the local beaches so that you can have a different perspective of this place.
If you can, make this walk during sunrise or sunset – it’s truly a magical moment!
As I mentioned before, the place that you can’t definitely miss in this region is the Costa da Caparica Fossil Cliff Protected Landscape, located 10 km away from the centre of the city.
To discover this natural beauty, I suggest you go for a hike in a 15-km round walking route. If you’re not used to long walks, you can just do part of the trail, stretching for 5 km (see map below).
In both cases, start your hike at Fonte da Telha village. For the longer route, head north, through the beaches, and then make your way through the forest to enjoy a totally different atmosphere.
Once you get to the route that will take you to Fonte da Telha, you’ll have the opportunity to choose whether to finish your hike by going to the village or keep going until Adiça beach (that’s what I did).
This walking route goes side by side with the beaches and will give you the chance to admire the beautiful cliffs while the part through the forest will take you to some viewpoints where you can enjoy some amazing views over this region.
After your walk, you should have lunch/dinner at one of the bars/restaurants located at Fonte da Telha. You can choose from the typical Portuguese restaurants, vegetarian cuisine, expensive or affordable places.
When I visited Fonte da Telha I went to the bar-restaurant Kailua Fonte da Telha that has many dishes to choose from (hamburgers, salads, vegetarian food, meat and fish) with prices higher than the average in Portugal.
Even though it was more expensive than usual, I loved this place and the time I spent there. Apart from having eaten delicious food, I had the opportunity to admire a beautiful sunset!
However, the most important thing is that you don’t leave Fonte da Telha without admiring the fishermen working. At the beach, in the centre of the village, you’ll find some fishing boats. You should wait for a while or ask the fishermen when will they go to the sea.
At sunset, I had the opportunity to see the tractors taking the boats into the water so that the fishermen could work.
At that moment, I saw a dog barking close to one of the boats and I didn’t understand why he was acting like that.
When the boat went to the water, the dog stayed close to the boats that remained in the beach. The dog just stood there for several minutes, sad and without moving, watching the boats getting further away from the shore. Inside one of the boats was his owner that went to work, risking his life to bring “us” food to eat.
It’s possible that this dog understood the risks his owner was taking and was afraid not to see him again.
When we’re eating fish, we don’t realise the risks people take just to put food at our table and what they do to survive…
Sadly, not a year goes by in Portugal without hearing about the death of fishermen that were taken by the sea while working in small boats.
I have a huge admiration for these authentic people, with generous hearts and living in a simple way. When I see people working hard like these people, I always remember my family that worked for a long time in agriculture.
What else to see when you visit Costa da Caparica
Capuchos Convent and viewpoint
Built in the 16th century, in a simple style, Capuchos Convent belonged to the Order of St. Francis. Franciscan friars lived here until the 13th January 1759, the date when they were murdered after being accused of plotting the death of the king D. José I of Portugal.
Since 1950, this convent belongs to the city of Almada and it is used today for exhibitions and cultural shows .
After having admired the interior of the convent and its gardens, walk for 350 metres (or drive) to discover the Capuchos viewpoint.
Located on a higher spot of Costa da Caparica (3 km away from the centre of the city), here you’ll have the opportunity to admire the whole city, the Atlantic Ocean and get a glimpse of Lisbon, Serra da Arrábida Natural Park and Cape Espichel.
Before you leave Costa da Caparica, you should do like its inhabitants and go for a walk or run in the promenade for pedestrians and cyclists, located in the seafront. Don’t hesitate to stop at one of the bars/restaurants to relax and enjoy the amazing and unique view over the sea.
What to visit close to Costa da Caparica
Located in Almada municipality, 9 km away from Costa da Caparica and facing Lisbon, Cristo Rei (Christ the King) is a sanctuary and a religious monument that represents the Sacred-Heart of Jesus. Inspired in Rio de Janeiro’s Cristo Redentor (Christ the Redeemer), this wonderful 110-metre high construction was inaugurated in 1959.
After climbing the 75-metre high pedestal, you’ll have the opportunity to admire some of the beautiful monuments in Lisbon and, depending on the weather, Sintra-Cascais and Serra da Arrábida natural parks.
This is the perfect place to take some photographs of the famous 25 de Abril bridge and one of the best places to admire the Portuguese capital, Lisbon.
Information: take the opportunity to book this activity (affiliate link) and discover the two Tagus river banks, always with fabulous views over the Portuguese capital. Start in Belém, where you can admire Mosteiro dos Jerónimos and Torre de Belém. Then, head to one of Lisbon’s most recent viewpoints, located right in the 25 de Abril bridge, the Pilar 7 viewpoint, where you can also enjoy a virtual reality experience.
Next, cross the bridge and discover the south bank of Tagus river, where you will literally reach the high point of this guided tour (affiliate link), the National Sanctuary of Cristo Rei. There, you can climb to the top of the statue’s pedestal, which welcomes Lisbon’s visitors with open arms, and enjoy the magnificent views that extend for several kilometres in all directions. A must see!
While visiting Almada, you can take the opportunity to admire the frigate Fragata D. Fernando II e Glória, the last ship in the Portuguese navy that used sails. It started its journey in 1843 after being built in Daman, India, a Portuguese territory from 1559 until 1961.
Nowadays, this ship is located at Cacilhas, an Almada quarter, facing Lisbon.
When visiting the frigate D. Fernando II e Glória, you’ll find a ship which is considered as the eighth oldest sail-battleship in the world. During its 33 years of service, it sailed over 100 000 nautical miles (185 000 km), the equivalent to 5 tours around the world.
Information: to know the opening hours to visit this ship, click here.
Right beside this frigate, you’ll find Barracuda submarine that served the country for more than 52 000 hours of navigation throughout 40 years.
To the left, you’ll find miradouro do Farol (Lighthouse viewpoint) where you can enjoy the view over Tagus river, Lisbon and the bridge.
Next, take the street Rua do Ginjal that goes alongside with Tagus river for 1 km and where you’ll find 2 restaurants (Ponto Final and Atira-te ao Rio) much appreciated for their dishes but also for the amazing view over Lisbon.
After the restaurants, you’ll find Elevador Panorâmico da Boca do Vento (panoramic elevator) that I suggest you take so that you can continue your visit in the city of Almada.
Next to the elevator, you’ll find Casa da Cerca, a typical manor house from the 17th and 18th centuries that was converted into a contemporary arts centre in 1993. This is definitely a place to visit if you like this kind of art and beautiful botanical gardens.
Information: to know the opening hours to visit this arts centre, click here.
Continue your visit in the castle’s garden where you’ll find the restaurant Amarra Ó Tejo. From here you can enjoy an amazing view over Lisbon, 25 de Abril bridge, the panoramic elevator and Cristo Rei.
Return to Cacilhas quarter, through the street Rua Cândido dos Reis, a street where you’ll find several restaurants and the church Igreja de Nossa Senhora do Bom Sucesso.
Where should you sleep when you visit Costa da Caparica and Almada
Sea, Surf & The City 9,3/10 (affiliate link)
When I went to visit Costa da Caparica, I spent a week at this beautiful apartment located in Bairro dos Pescadores.
You’ll have at your disposal all the necessary amenities for a wonderful stay: Wi-Fi, equipped kitchen, washing machine and free parking. It is definitely a perfect accommodation for a couple that wishes to spend some amazing days in this region.
Tryp Lisboa Caparica Mar**** 8,1/10 (affiliate link)
Where should you eat when you visit Costa da Caparica
Kailua Fonte da Telha (Fonte da Telha)
Where should you eat when you visit Almada
How to get to / visit Costa da Caparica and Almada
By car: if you wish to move freely and visit all the places I’ve mentioned in this article, then I suggest you visit Costa da Caparica by car.
You’ll find a big paying parking lot located at the street Rua Pedro Álvares Cabral (click here to see the prices).
In Almada, my suggestion is that you park your car in Cacilhas quarter, at the parking lot located next to the frigate D. Fernando II e Glória. Click here to see the prices.
When you exit the ferry, you’ll find Almada’s metro and buses that will take you to most of the places I’ve mentioned above.
To visit Costa da Caparica leaving from Cacilhas, take the bus 135 (click here to check timetable and ticket prices).
To go from Cacilhas to Fonte da Telha, take the bus 127 (click here to check timetable and ticket prices).
To go from Costa da Caparica to Fonte da Telha, take the bus 130 (click here to check timetable and ticket prices).
To go from Cacilhas to Cristo Rei, take the bus 101 (click here to check timetable and ticket prices).
To see the map of Almada, Costa da Caparica and Fonte da Telha with all the bus lines, click here.
When to visit Costa da Caparica
If you want to calmly enjoy the wonders of this region then I suggest you visit Costa da Caparica in low season, as I did. This region is a popular destination, especially for people living here and in Lisbon, which makes it difficult to get to the beaches, restaurants and even parking lots.
Are you going to visit Costa da Caparica? Then don’t hesitate to book your hotel room, your car or the best activities by clicking the links below. This way you are helping me in the development of my blog and I’ll be able to offer you free tips and travel guides so that you can better prepare your visit to Portugal. Thank you!