5 Best Outdoor Activities of Lisbon
Lisbon, and Portugal in general, is a great place to enjoy outdoor activities. The maritime front, the various rivers, the mountains in the north of Portugal and the big green areas create the perfect environments for the best nature activities one can imagine. Lisbon numbers some excellent sports and leisure options for people of all ages and for all tastes.
1. Surf & Paddle at the best beaches in Lisbon district
As I said before, Lisbon is blessed with an attractive coastline. Firstly, you can surf in the 2 greatest beaches to catch some waves: Carcavelos and Guincho.
Guincho is based in the village of Areia, about 15 km north of Cascais near Sintra.
If you surf or not, it’s always a great activity to be experienced! There are many surf schools along the coastline which will teach you how to surf within a few lessons. If you want to stay in the ocean but don’t like waves, you have another option: paddle.
In the calmer beaches near Cascais centre, there are schools teaching you how to paddle-board and you have the option to rent all necessary equipment.
2. Cycling at the peaceful paths near the ocean and the river
Everyday at the seawall at the south of Lisbon, there are always people working out, skating, cycling or just walking. The calmness and serenity of the sea can relieve us in a way that the city can’t. Near the ocean we can find some peace, and cycling burns up excess energy. Such an ideal workout is pretty popular, but don’t worry there’s plenty of space for everyone to do their activities.
The municipality of Cascais has spread throughout its city many bikes in some points. You can download the app called “MobiCascais” (Android, iPhone), however you still need to go the main pickup points to pay.
These pickup points are next to the train station in Cascais (Largo da Estação), next to the Nature Tourism Information Office, in front of Paula Rego Stories House (Avenida da República, Cascais), and in Guia (Avenida Nossa Senhora do Cabo, Cascais).
If you’re not sure of how it’s done by yourself, at these 3 pickup points you can always ask for help to the people who are identified with hoodies or t-shirts of Cascais municipality.
Prices of the rental: 30 minutes – 1 €; 1 hour – 1,99 €; a whole day – 3,90 €
Opening times of the kiosks: 8h – 20h
Train station: between São João do Estoril and Cascais station, you can exit on bike as all are near the seawall and the beach
3. Birdwatching in the Lisbon area
At the Tagus Estuary Nature Reserve (about a 30-minute drive from Lisbon) for the outdoors enthusiasts, there are fabulous opportunities to see a variety of resident and migratory bird species. Between the wetlands and salt pans at the estuary, you’ll find the most beautiful birds. Depending on the season and the location, expect to spy black terns, ospreys, herons, spoonbills, flamingos and eagles.
There are tours which are arranged for you to bird watch here. They are led by local expert ornithologists. This option introduces visitors to the incredible array of wildlife to be found in and around the Lisbon area. You’ll learn more about the environment and the ecosystem of the Tagus Estuary.
EVOA (Espaço de visitação e observação de aves) has guided tours and can help you out with this activity!
Grab the binoculars and go find the wild area in the suburbs!
Address: Lezíria Sul, 2600 Vila Franca de Xira
Prices: Guided visits from 5€ to 12€ per person
4. Tree climbing in Jamor
For the most courageous ones, there are activities just like tree climbing near Lisbon, in Jamor. The Adventure Park has one of the biggest circuits of tree climbing in the Iberian Peninsula. You’ll be able to have fun for 2 hours in a set of suspended obstacle lines, through the treetops of the forest.
You’ll feel the thrill of towering tree-lane treks, free-falling Tarzan jumps, and long, fast slides. This is an ideal activity for the younger and for the adults who are searching for an original open-air activity. I used to go with my class there, and we spent a day having so much fun all together! It’s good for us to connect with nature and this is always an opportunity to do it.
Minimum height: 1,40m
Maximum weight: 130kg
5. Canoeing in Jamor
Canoeing is one more water activity, which is great for gaining group spirit (I advise to go with a group of people). This activity aims the spirit of mutual help in a team, privileging the work of movement coordination and dialogue.
In Jamor I also went canoeing with my friends when I was younger. It was probably one of my favourite activities as I love water and problem solving! At the end of the day, what mattered were the bonds that we made and the connection with nature.