Despite looking forward to buying new boots for fall and indulging on Halloween candy, the end of summer is always a bitter-sweet time for me. I don’t fare well in cold weather, so I try to cram as many getaways into the remaining weekends of pleasant temperatures and sunshine before the clocks change, and reminisce about my fun summer adventures. I can’t be the only one who starts planning where to go next summer, right? So if you’re already planning your next vacation to Portugal, or are still in time to hit the beach this year, consider exploring Praia das Maçãs.
Not too far from the mountains of Sintra lies a small beach that is popular with locals, called Praia das Maçãs. It isn’t windy like Guincho beach or as touristy as Cascais and Estoril. What I like about this beach is that, during the week or outside of peak beach times, it’s actually a very convenient beach, especially if you only have a few hours to work on your tan. What’s so convenient about it, you ask?
For starters, parking: at times when it isn’t busy, you can find a place to park your car within 1-2 minutes’ walk to the sand. This may not seem like a huge deal, but when I go to the beach, I prefer to not spend the first 20 minutes trying to find a place to park. However, good luck to you finding a spot close to the beach at 11:30 am on a Saturday in July…
Secondly, food: there isn’t a shortage of cafés and restaurants. In fact, I can’t name a single building around the beach that doesn’t serve food or ice cream. I’m a fan of Restaurante Búzio because they have some lovely fresh fish, which they bring out to show you so you can pick whatever takes your fancy. There are other restaurants and cafés actually on or right in front of the beach, so you can multi-task eating and sunbathing (who says multi-tasking is stressful?).
Finally, Praia das Maçãs is small but pretty. I’m confident it gets crowded at peak times but as I always go when it’s less busy, I can always find a spot to sit without having a stranger 2 feet away from me playing music, or – heaven forbid – getting sand on me when they walk by or lift their towel. Because of its small size, I don’t recommend coming here if you’re playing hooky from work (you will be easily spotted!). I particularly like that the far end of the beach is cut off into a cove-like shape by some rocks. It gives the beach a very cozy, intimate feel. It’s also entertaining to watch people climb the wet rocks and making bets as to whether they’ll fall off or not (only joking! That would be stupid: I’ve never seen anyone fall).
If you’ve been to Praia das Maçãs, please let me know your favorite restaurant/secret spot, so I can go next time I’m there… probably only next summer, unfortunately.