Lisbon is famed for its coastal geography, and come rain or shine, the beaches can be great fun to get away from the city and let off some steam.
The animal lovers over at Doggy Banquet have compiled a list of the top dog-friendly beaches in Portugal. And if it’s the Lisbon area you’re after, they’ve pulled out the best bits for Atlas.
Praia da Ursa, Sintra (Cabo De Roca)
This one is for the adventure seekers, near Europe’s most western point: The beach is a 30-minute hike from Cabo da Roca, and you’re best off taking a rental or Uber to get you to the start of the trail, although there is bus that goes from Cascais and Sintra to Cabo da Roca.
Parking at Cabo de Roca is straightforward and from there onwards, it is an easy walk along the coastline towards the initial descent down to the beach. This path offers some spectacular views of the Sintra coastline and cliff faces.
The descent down to the beach is moderate-to-difficult for both dogs and pet owners. It’s possible to do the initial walk and not descend to the beach; this isn’t a wasted hike, as the vistas are magnificent.
If you do descend to the dog beach, then consider that small dogs will need support at various points along the route, probably with being lifted. Due to this, we recommend that two people take the walk down to support carrying the dog in various places. We’ve done this with a 9kg Jack-Chi (Chihuahua, Jack Russell mix) and had no issues, he enjoyed the adventure. Larger dogs which can’t be carried can manage the rocks, but they’ll need to be agile and energetic. This is not the path for old dogs with arthritic joints or pet parents’ clumsy footing. The path is well-trodden by adventurous locals and ex-pats, so you will encounter people moving in both directions to offer you reassurance.
Once you arrive at the beach, you’ll be in a beautifully secluded bay, surrounded by cliffs and the Atlantic Ocean. There are zero facilities here, so take what you need for both you and the dog, including plenty of water, sun umbrellas, and a beer or two.
The route isn’t lit, so consider this if going for sunset or dusk. We don’t recommend doing the walk in the dark
Honestly, if you’ve got the stamina and the joints for the hike, then it’s a strong recommendation from us for you to go. The destination was great, but the journey was superb.
Praia da Samarra
Another beautiful dog beach on the Sintra coast. As with Praia da Ursa, Praia da Samarra is remote but more accessible than Praia da Ursa, so if you’re feeling less adventurous but still want to be off the beaten track, head here.
The water is turquoise — truly beautiful. But be conscious that beauty like this doesn’t go unnoticed. It will probably be busy!
One element we really enjoyed about this beach is how connected to nature you feel. It’s completely sheltered, meaning small dogs and even children can play relatively low-risk (of course, always supervise).
It’s pretty wild, as with many dog beaches in Portugal, so remember to bring what you need and take back with you what you’ve brought to keep the area nice for the next guests.
Due to its isolated location, you’re best off renting a car to access it, but Uber works also.
Praia da Aguda
On the theme of Sintra, another beautiful dog beach. Praia da Aguda is tricky to access, but it’s a worthwhile venture. Unlike Praia de Ursa, this one isn’t a bay, but rather a long linear strip of narrow beach. Plenty of space to manoeuvre and explore.
Take everything you need and avoid bringing older dogs as access can be difficult.
Praia Pequena do Rodízio
Also located in Sintra, sheltered from the north winds and very secluded, this area is popular for bodysurfers, surfers and people who love to fish. Don’t feel like walking in the sand? Take a walk along the cliffs. This beach has wild beauty to be admired.
Praia do Pescoço do Cavalo
This small beach is along the strip that leads to the beaches of Cascais. This supervised beach has many facilities to take advantage of, lay your towel along the large rocks, and enjoy the view. This little area often goes unnoticed to your benefit, as there is little footfall on the beach.
Travelling around Lisbon with your pets
Lisbon is surprisingly easy to access with pets — pretty much all forms of public transportation allow dogs, but there are a couple of rules…
When travelling by trains and buses, you must keep the dogs off the seats and secured on a lead. It’s best for big dogs if they have a harness also. When travelling by taxi, a carrying case is ideal. Many drivers take issue with dog hair on the seats, and that’s completely normal. Uber has ‘Uber Pets’ mode, where drivers are far more forgiving, oftentimes placing the dog in the footwell is enough mitigation. If your dog is large, trains are best.
If you’re in Lisbon on holiday and you want to go to the beaches with your dogs, we recommend a car rental. You’ve got the flexibility to go and explore where you want, on your own terms. Car rentals in Lisbon are also quite cheap, as low as €20 per day. Just remember to get rid of the dog hairs before you drop it off to save you from getting any comments from the rental company.
If you’re after some dog supplies while you’re here, Doggy Banquet focuses on health and quality-led dog products for dog owners in Portugal and Spain. And their blog is regularly updated with tips and tricks for surviving in Portugal as a dog owner.
They also deliver to Lisbon addresses on the same day — great for when you’ve suddenly run out of supplies.