Ride the waves, enjoy a few hours of sunbathing on the warm sand or go for long walks to catch a sea breeze at this surfer’s paradise in southern Europe.
Guincho Beach (Praia do Guincho) is a large sandy beach along the Atlantic Ocean. James Bond movie fans may recognize these shores from the opening scene of On Her Majesty's Secret Service. While far less hazardous than portrayed in that 1969 action movie, Guincho Beach does offer a more adventurous experience than the sheltered beaches of nearby Cascais and Estoril.
In the summer months, strong winds blow in from the north, making Guincho Beach popular with windsurfers and kitesurfers. The beach used to host the windsurfing world cup and surfing and body boarding events still take place regularly. In spring, autumn and even winter, the beach attracts those who love to surf the high waves caused by the eastern winds.
If you are new to surfing, take lessons at one of the area’s surf schools. Most also provide accommodations, can do repairs and rent out gear.
When the conditions are too windy for surfing or sunbathing, go for a long beach walk and breathe in the fresh ocean air. Guincho Beach is backed by dunes and easy trails take you towards Cabo do Roca, the westernmost point of Portugal and also mainland Europe. See its eye-catching lighthouse and set out for an energizing coastal hike along the cliff face. Swap your beach sandals for sturdy shoes and head inland to explore the forested trails of nearby Parque Natural de Sintra-Cascais.
Guincho Beach is located on Portugal's Estoril coast, about 21 miles (34 kilometers) from the capital, Lisbon. The beach is just a few minutes by car from Cascais, a former fishing village that is now a popular tourism hub with top-of-the-range shops and elegant hotels.