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Rock Climbing Around Lisbon — and Beyond, a Part II of Sorts

For the first part, which includes Lisbon gyms, Monsanto’s artificial wall, Farol da Guia sport climbing, and Sintra’s sport and multi-pitch routes, read here.

Our favorite quick-access crag, Farol da Guia, has been getting crowded as of late, so for the sake of spreading out the growing numbers of outdoor climbers suddenly in Portugal, we’d like to reveal a few more places you can climb within an hour drive of Lisbon.

Sintra Bouldering

The multi-pitch routes below Castelo dos Mouros are excellent, but you don’t need all that gear to get on the rock in Sintra. The mysterious forests here hold a bona fide paradise of bouldering too. For 10€, you can buy a digital topo guide that also includes Cascais (see below). There’s also a Facebook page where you can find bouldering companions or rent a pad. To get an idea of what’s available here, check out these photos in Climbing magazine by Ricardo Alves, the photographer behind the excellent Portugal climbing guide (which includes topos for Sintra, namely for Peninha, Kalash, Capuchos, and Malveira, and much, much more). The bonus with bouldering in the forest, of course, is getting away from Lisbon heat! Also, spooky as hell over here:

Baía do Mexilhoeiro and Farol Bouldering

Baía do Mexilhoeiro (Bay of the Mussel Hunter!), which is about halfway back along the seaside road from Farol da Guia to Cascais along Av. Rei Humberto II de Italia, offers a great deal of seaside bouldering. HOWEVER: We recommend that you stay away from the bolted sport routes on the cliff face, and even be wary of top-roping. As cool as it is to climb up and walk over to the hotdog stand in your harness, order a beer and open up your laptop for a bit of work (true story!), the rock here is highly unstable. Go to Farol instead. Mexilhoeiro topo is covered in both of the climbing guides mentioned above.

And it’s not just sport climbing at Farol da Guia, which we covered in Part 1 — there’s also bouldering, with topo available in the printed guide. 

Fenda da Arrábida

This is a local favorite for many climbers both north and south of the gorgeous Arrábida park. Most people who climb seriously at Vertigo are here often. There are some topos online from 2013, here. The printed guide, from 2017, has superior GPS and far more routes. 

There’s some really hard stuff in Fenda, all of it single-pitch but often very long, and there are a few climbs that are great for beginners as well. It’s been getting crowded, so for the love of god don’t bring your school group here. And if this is your first time here and you’re on your own, just allow time for getting lost while crawling through caves — trust us, it’s fun. Also, here’s what you can look forward to at the end of your climb:


About an hour north of Lisbon is a wonderful little crag that’s only open from August 1 to the end of December, because of bird nesting restrictions (and if you ever see a two-meter-span falcon flying at your head on lead, you know it’s best to obey these). There are two sections, but we’ve only been able to find Montejunto Novo (updated topo here). If you spot it from the road or ask the not-always-helpful locals, here’s the topo for Montejunto Velho as well. The climbs are 6a and up, but there are a few easy ones as well. NOTE: There’ve been reports of a broker bolt in March 2019 on the route “Não pisem o musgo,” so be careful and check what you’re clipping into. More info at the very active (in Portuguese) FB page Escalada Desportiva PT

If you’re over here, we highly recommend the nearby town of Alenquer for lunch or dinner. There’s a cheap tasca on the main square, and across from it a fancy restaurant, so bring mom.

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