Surf, Sun and Stay in Lisbon

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Advisor - Fora
Curated By


  • International Travel

  • Portugal

  • Lisbon

  • Active Travel

  • City Travel

  • Coastal

  • Outdoors

  • Sports

A beach filled with surfers in Lisbon.
Fora’s Take

Lisbon has everything, from fabulous beaches to quaint coffee shops to people-watching, plus numerous food markets and events at which to meet locals and other travelers. Some people say the city is a Portuguese mix of San Francisco (the hills and the red bridge) and California (chill surfer lifestyle). Get lost in the city and walk around as you discover colorful tiles, little shops, restaurants and a stunning blue sky. Vamos amigas e amigos!

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Day 1: Arrive & Feel the Vibe of the City

The city of Lisbon, Portugal from above.

Whether you stay on the beachside or in the Lisbon city center, you are now in Portugal! Time in Lisbon moves a bit more slowly. Make a stop at a café and get a golden Peastéis de Nata (a pastry with vanilla pudding) and a Vinho Verde (the green and lightly sparkling wine). Café Janis, near to Cais de Sodre, is a fantastic option.

From the city center, it's easy to take the train to the beach of Carcavelos (20 minutes) or Cascais (most beautiful, but a bit farther) with the line Lisbon-Cascais. With your rented car or an Uber, you can easily cross the famous red bridge of Lisbon and go to the other side, called Caparica, where restaurants sit directly on the beach.

If you are full of energy and want to discover the city first, wear sneakers. It's much easier to walk the hills up to the famous Miradouros (view points over the city). Instead of walking, you can also use the yellow tram to bring you to the most famous spots. An especially stunning view is that from Miradouro de Santa Luzia.

After a long day, stop for dinner at Java. This restaurant is a hidden gem, with amazing food and a great rooftop terrace. Afterwards, enjoy the bars in the side streets. But don't stay out too long, because tomorrow, it's time to surf.

Day 2: Time to Surf

A surf beach near Lisbon.

Some of the best beaches to surf are Costa da Caparica, Carcavelos and Guincho. Depending on your surf level, you can find a surf school to take a lesson, or just rent a board at every beach. You can bring your own surfboard, too. If you are a beginner, it's better to call the surf school a day before, so they can tell you what time will be the best to surf depending on the tides. Often, the best waves occur in the morning, and it's less crowded. But it's your holiday, and if you prefer to sleep in, there's often a second surf lesson in the afternoon.

You can also read a book on a beach lounger, play volleyball, discover the beach bars or get a massage. The Windsurf Café in Carcavelos or Irmão (Caparica) is a great to hang out at or get some food after surfing. There are also many beach parties and live music in the summer.

Day 3: Day at Leisure

Surfing camps in Lisbon.

To surf or not to surf, that is the question.

Unfortunately, it's already the end of the weekend, so treat yourself today. Start the day with a brunch at Eat Pray Love Lisboa or Flora & Fauna, and do a little walk along the riverside near Cais Sodre.

If you have enough time left, you can get a massage at your hotel spa or one of Lisbon's float spas. If you are into art, head to the National Tile Museum and the Museu Coleção Berardo.

A great place to enjoy your last hours in Lisbon is the Quiosque Ribeira das Nau. You can sit on one of the beach chairs with a view over the river and drink a coffee or cocktail.

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