If you Google Praia dos Galapos, you’ll see that it’s one of Portugal’s best hidden beaches, nestled in the lush Serra da Arrabida hillsides, just an hour outside of Lisbon.
But there’s not much information about how to get there–or anything about the secret cove that can be your private paradise. So, I’m going to help a traveler out.
Our private beach felt very “Pirates of the Caribbean.” I kept expecting Captain Jack Sparrow to wash up ashore at any moment (to my dismay, he did not, but maybe you’ll have better luck).
Not a condo or parking lot in sight, no beach chairs, no view of the road. The hills and cliffs keep the winds away and the water calm. But first, you have to get there.
Getting To Praia dos Galapos: Uber.
There isn’t a parking lot, though there is a little room on the shoulder of the road to park if you don’t mind walking. Your best bet is to Uber to the area.
There’s not an address to Praia dos Galapos, so we used one of the two small restaurants located on the main beach as a drop-off point.
Since the beach is located at the bottom of steep hills and cliffs, you can’t see the restaurants from the road, but if you give your Uber driver the address below, he or she will get you to the right spot on the top of the hill.
Ubers in Portugal are inexpensive. It cost us $50 each way, which we split between the three of us. Not bad for an hour drive. Once you get outside of Lisbon, the scenery is breathtaking, so no car naps.
Address: São Simão, Portugal
Finding the Hidden Beach
When you get dropped off, look for an unpaved path. Once you find it, you’ll walk a few hundred yards/meters until you get to a small set of paved stairs. You won’t be able to see the beach yet, but you’ll get little peaks of blue as you get closer.
The stairs lead down to the main public area of the beach, which is beautiful and not too touristy. But it’s not the private enclave that I’m about to tell you about.
When you get to the bottom of this path and enter the main beach, look to your left. You’ll see a wall of rocks. It’s adventure time.
Carefully make your way across the rocks. Ignore the “danger” sign, and if anyone asks, just say you don’t know how to read Portuguese. (It’s not dangerous, but still be careful because the rocks could get slick.)
We found a small opening, turned sideways and leaned back as we slowly scooted between the rocks. Have one friend go first while you hold their stuff. Once your friend has made it across, pass your things through so you can be hands-free for the crossing.
It doesn’t take much longer than a few minutes, I promise. The reward is worth it. White sand, turquoise and clear waters, privacy and a quiet place to call your own for an afternoon.
The beach has nooks and crannies, ideal for setting up and stowing your stuff in shady areas. Mother Nature provides. (Although, Target provided the purse).
Good to know:
- There are restrooms at the restaurant on the main beach that are available to customers. We ordered soda and chips as a snack, which were inexpensive, and that qualified.
- There are no chair or umbrella rentals until mid-June. I don’t believe you’d be allowed to bring your rentals over the rocks, so bring your own.
- Bring your own towel.
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