There’s a ton of technical rock climbing right around, and even inside, Lisbon, including multi-pitch trad routes. The climbing community is a tight one, and very generous. Please don’t abuse the fact that they share topos. Buy the guides from the authors when you can. And don’t bolt unless you talk to the locals first – some crags are being saved for natural climbing.
Climbing in and around Lisbon
Escalada Deportiva (Sport Climbing)
Farol da Guia Crag in Cascais: Fancy climbing some limestone right on the Atlantic?
Farol da Guia was set up by the local climbing association Desnivel and is maintained by many volunteers. It’s crowded on weekends and in the summer when it’s in the shade (morning is best), but there’s always room for everyone, and it has routes from III to 7c and beyond. Topos are available here (Portugal uses the French rating system – for conversions, see http://www.alpinist.com/p/online/grades).
The crag is a few km from Cascais along the Avenida Marginal, GPS coordinates 38.69141, -9.43485. Parking is typically easy if you go into the side streets, and if you have no car, you can still reach it by train and bike, or a beautiful 1-hr walk from the Cascais train station. From Lisbon, take the Linha de Cascais train at the Cais do Sodre train station (or at Santos, Alcântara, or Belem) all the way to the last stop, Cascais. From here, you can walk, grab a €4-6 euro taxi to Farol da Guia, or, if you come early enough, grab a free bicycle from the kiosk in front of the station in exchange for an ID. The crag entrance is directly to the right of the lighthouse (farol) when facing the water, and across the road from the gas station (good coffee, bad snacks). DIRECTIONS
The walled-in area east of the crag has some great cafés for inexpensive tostas (sandwiches) and more fancy fare too.
Gym Climbing (and a Secret Artificial Wall that Costs Nothing)
Several Lisbon climbing gyms have come and gone, but there’s a great bouldering center that opened in 2014 right on the Tejo river near the cruise terminal:
Vertigo – website
Avenida Infante Dom Henrique, Edifício Beira Rio, Beato
967 890 179
Mon – Fri, 14h – 24h; Sat, 10h – 24h; Sun 10h – 18h
€6 – 8 for a day pass, less for kids, value packs and monthly access, more for classes.
There are two small but free artificial outdoor climbing walls in Lisbon, although one of them is in bad shape. They are so small that we would rather not put directions on the internet, but if you really want to go, contact us directly or ask other Lisbon climbers – we share.
Trad Climbing (and Multi-Pitch) – For True Adventurers
Penedo da Amizade in Sintra: This is the closest area for trad climbing, and also a spectacular location underneath centuries-old palaces and castles, including the majestic Castelo dos Mouros, all in front of the blue smile of the ocean.
You can drive, or grab a 30-min train from Rossio train station (DIRECTIONS) to Sintra, to reach the Penedo da Amizade (Boulder of Friendship) crag. Here you can use your cams and friends and nuts if you like, or stick with the quickdraws. Topos are here.
It’s a bit difficult to reach, so don’t go if you have a problem hopping the occasional fence (but beware that they will throw you in jail if you jump the wrong wall – this is a national heritage site). You can try getting to the area of the old Moorish Castle and the gardens of Palacio da Pena at GPS N38 47.370 W9 23.545, and then follow directions in English outlined here. There’s more information in Portuguese at Grupo de Montanha e Escalada de Sintra (GMES). This is the real deal adventure (unless you hire a local climbing guide, of course, and not that there’s anything wrong with that). We’ll be posting contact information for Sintra guides shortly — if you are one, get in touch.