Costa da Caparica runs for about 20km on the south side of the river Tejo across the Ponte 25 de Abril. Caparica is the main resort and very popular with lisboetas, so plenty of bars, restaurants, beach-side cafes and varied slices of Portuguese metropolitan life. The beach is busy at the town end but gets quieter further down. There's a miniature railway during the summer for the first 10km or so.
Caparica beach (photo: Vitor Oliveira)
Lisbon is only a 30 minute bus ride from Caparica, so it's a good base for exploring this wonderful city. The south side of the bridge is dominated by Cristo Rei, a replica of the statue of Jesus which protects Rio de Janeiro. It has a lift inside to a viewing platform about 250 feet up, from which the views of Lisbon and the Tejo are just spectacular.
Cristo Rei, Lisbon (photo: Vitor Oliveira)
Further down the coast is Setubal, Portugal's third port, on the north side of the Sado estuary. Notable landmarks are the Igreja de Jesus and Castelo de Sao Felipe, but Setubal is equally famous nowadays as the birthplace of Jose Mourinho, the Special One. From here you can take the car ferry across to the Troia peninsula, where the beaches are magnificent once you've left behind the developed part around the ferry terminal. If you're heading south to Alentejo this is a good route as you take in many typical villages and superb beaches along the way.
Other places well worth a visit are Palmela and its medieval castle, the Parque Natural da Arrabida and Sesimbra, with its fort, castle and fishing port, Porto de Abrigo. But this is wine country and there are wineries to visit! Highly recommended: Casa Ermelinda Freitas at Fernando Po, near Palmela, where you can taste and buy from a range of award winners.
Portinho da Arrabida (photo: Reino Baptista)
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