Once you drive cross the iconic "Golden Gate-esque" Ponte 25 de Abril bridge leaving Lisbon, the Cristo Rei statue (reminiscent of "Christ the Redeemer"in Rio) greets you with open arms, followed by the municipality of Almada. Costa da Caparica is just one of the many parishes located within Almada and makes for a great day trip to take advantage of the beaches and extensive coastline that lie just beyond Lisbon. Meet Bruno, our local travel guide, to find out what to do when visiting the modern and coastal town of "Costa" as it's affectionately called by locals.
Meet Bruno: Olá! I'm originally from Foz do Arelho and came to live in Costa da Caparica because it was close to my school, Universidade NOVA de Lisboa. I ended up buying a house here because it's a great place to live! Currently, I work in Oeiras (in Lisbon) but I still live in Costa. I’ve become attached to this beautiful place and have been living here for the past 12 years.
1. Where can you get the best food in Costa da Caparica?
Costa is a city with a rich food culture and has lots to restaurants to try. Caldeirada is a typical seafood dish in most coastal towns, especially in Costa since it's originally a fishing town. There is even a caldeirada cooking contest during the winter every year! My favorite restaurant and the one I'd recommend is Barbas, which offers an array of seafood meals and a beautiful sea view at an affordable price.
2. How about the best dessert?
As for pastries, you can check out several lovely places. In the summer, I'd suggest Pastelaria de Santo Antonio, which has its own coconut version of the famous Portuguese pastry, pastel de nata. They also have tons of other pastries to satisfy any sweet tooth, as well as a large outdoor eating area under pine trees.
The bakery, Capote, located on Rua dos Pescadores, is another great place where you can find a famous local pastry called the claudino, which is a long, flaky pastry with various sweet fillings.
3. What is Costa best known for?
Costa is best known for it's extensive beaches and coastline. Along with basking in the sun, you can stop by certain beaches to see fisherman go out on their boats and fish for their catch of the day. The fish are then carefully sorted on the beach and small fish are sent back into the water. People come around to watch the fisherman and bargain to get the best deal on freshly-caught fish.
4. Coolest event to attend in Costa da Caparica?
Costa is also known for the annual Sol da Caparica music festival, which usually takes place in mid-August and features diverse Portuguese musical acts. In the summertime, catching one of these concerts is a great way to end your day after the beach.
5. What else should I see near Costa?
While in Costa, take a day trip to Setúbal! There is a direct train to Setúbal from the Pragal station in Almada. Once there, stroll past the riverwalk along Avenida Todi, enjoy amazing seafood restaurants that serve locally caught fish, and catch a ferry to the resort town of Troia. Sometimes dolphins can even be spotted swimming in the Sado River as you cross it! In Troia, you can relax on the beach with of a view of the green Arrábida hills in the distance (shown in the picture below) or enjoy one of its luxury amenities, such as testing your luck at its casino resort. On the way back, I recommend stopping in Setúbal again to taste the local delicacy, choco frito, or fried cuttlefish.
With all of these amazing insider tips from Bruno, we hope you enjoy your time in Costa da Caparica! While Portugal is brimming with towns that take you back to the past, Costa definitely evokes a more contemporary vibe with tall, modern apartment buildings and a long boardwalk connecting its many beach outlets.
It makes for a great day trip from Lisbon to enjoy some of Portugal's beaches or even a place to stay if you want to explore Lisbon while saving money on lodging. The ferry from the Cacilhas station - which drops you off at the Cais do Sodré station - makes it convenient to get to Lisbon in about 15 minutes, skipping the bottleneck traffic that plagues the 25 de Abril bridge. To get to the Cacilhas station, take a bus, taxi, or uber.
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