Come spring break, many people are looking for a sunny destination to go. Europe doesn’t usually jump to our mind for spring break but believe me: Portugal will be your best choice to go with your dog this year. Lisbon is one of the 10 best European cities for Spring Short Breaks according to Fodor’s Travel and the coastal region to the west of Lisbon, known as The Portuguese Riviera will make your dog the happiest in the world! Start planning the ultimate Spring Break experience after reading this post!
WHERE TO STAY
1. The Oitavos
Located in Cascais, The Oitavos is an ultra contemporary coastal resort immersed in sand dunes. The Oitavos was our first home in Portugal in 2014 while I was visiting homes to begin our expat life in Lisbon. That’s a real dog friendly hotel: pets are treated as real guests. We do recommend you to stay at this ultramodern design 5 stars hotel: rooms are very comfortable, all furnishings in white and blue colors, an amazing contemporary cuisine and stunning views from all rooms.
WHERE TO GO TO THE BEACH
Portugal is home to some of the most stunning beaches in Europe. It’s true that this country has been blessed with beautiful coastlines. And the best time of the year to visit those amazing beaches with your dog is now! Spring time is definitely one of the best seasons to explore the Portuguese Riviera, centered on the towns of Estoril, Cascais and Sintra. This guide will detail Max and Louise’s favorite beaches found in the coastal region to the west of Lisbon and you will be able to set your foot in for an amazing time soon.
1. Tamariz Beach
Tamariz Beach is centrally located in Estoril, a beautiful town in Cascais also known as ‘Sunny Coast’. It is overlooked by a medieval styled castle what makes your photographs even beautiful. There are a lot of bars and restaurants facing the beach where you can enjoy with your dog (all of them accept dogs at the terrace area). We usually go to Tamariz Beach as it is walking distance from our home, Max and Louise have a lot of local friends and that’s their meeting point in the weekends.
2. São Pedro do Estoril Beach
Not so large like Tamariz Beach, São Pedro do Estoril Beach has its charm. To us, this is one of the best beaches of Cascais: perfect for human surfing and to meet local people with their dogs. There are also two restaurants facing the beach where you can have a drink or eat something while your dog is playing on the beach.
3. Poça Beach
Not the perfect beach for humans because of the immersed rocks that difficult bathing but an amazing spot for your dog: sea waters are calm and the beach has a thin and long sand area what dogs love!
4. Azarujinha Beach
Coming on foot from Poça Beach you arrive at this amazing beach called Azarujinha. Nice atmosphere created by the cliffs and the buildings around. Surfers love this spot and I enjoy a lot going with Max and Louise because usually we are completely alone having fun there from March to May. If you want a peaceful moment with your dog, go to Azarujinha beach and relax.
5. Carcavelos Beach
Maybe one of the most popular beach of Lisbon. Carcavelos has a large expanse of sand, many bars, restaurants, surf schools and good waves. Surfers, Windsurfers and Bodyboarders are the people you can find there and during spring time many dogs come to have fun! Max and Louise are real fans of Carcavelos, since December 2016 they are having surf classes with dad. If you pass by from now until end of may, you’d probably see them there.
6. Guincho Beach
Also as famous as Carcavelos Beach, Guincho is pounded by massive Atlantic Ocean waves what makes ideal for experienced surfers. Max and Louise love to enjoy Spring weekends at this beach because it has a huge expanse of sand, both in length and width. There is also a bar where you can have snacks and drinks with your dog. It is worth a visit! Pet surfing here only for experienced dogs!
7. Arriba Beach
Very close to Guincho, Arriba Beach has two sand areas divided by a cliff. In the middle part you can have a pleasant bath while your dog will be playing in sand at the beach. If you want a quiet beach to rest a little bit with your dog, Arriba Beach is the best option. Tourists go to Guincho and local residents go to Arriba beach.
8. Ribeira de Cascais Beach
Located in the very center of Cascais, it’s also known as “Fishermen’s Beach”. The beach has a quay for the boats and a lot of beautiful houses surrounding. It has a small sand part but the sea water is very calm, perfect for your dog!
9. Ursa Beach
Visiting Cascais, you must explore Sintra beaches with your dog. We have already talked a lot about Ursa beach on our Instagram and “12 Paradise Beaches Your Dog Must Visit In Their Life”. It is one of Max and Louise’s favorite beach and probably one of the most beautiful ones in Portugal. Located very close to ‘Cabo da Roca’, the westernmost point in Europe, this beach in unsupervised and has no facilities but wild beaches are the best ones for dogs! Don’t miss this out!
10. Magoito Beach
Located in the north of Sintra, this golden sand beach is very quiet and dotted with numerous rocks. Your dog will love Magoito beach: it has an extensive sandy area to run and the ambiance is pretty wild. Spring is the best time to see Sintra at its greenest, especially the beautiful landscape of Magoito Beach.
11. Adraga Beach
Once elected one of the best beaches of Portugal by a British national newspaper, Adraga is a beautiful beach in Sintra with an amazing scenery of cliffs, rocks and golden sand. We usually go to Adraga beach during the week and after playing with Max and Louise I often enjoy a fresh fish at the only restaurant you find there. If you are up for Sintra, then you should make a stop here! Adraga is the best one for a peaceful afternoon listening to the waves and the wind…
DOG PARKS TO PLAY AT
Dogs need exercise, including play, but playtime needs to be a good experience for everyone. Max and Louise combines beach life with some garden activities. Have a look at the two dog parks we usually go where Max and Louise can run freely off-leash and socialize with others dogs.
1. Casino Estoril Garden
Fist mentioned in our article “7 Amazing Dog Friendly Gardens To Play With Your Dog In Lisbon”, the beautiful garden of Casino Estoril is a real meeting point for all ‘dog lovers’ residents of Estoril and Cascais. There is a big fetch field where your dog can run a lot and play.
2. Jardim da Parede
Also mentioned in our article about the dog-friendly gardens in Lisbon to go with your dog, it’s very close to São Pedro do Estoril Beach and you can have all facilities around: supermarket, restaurants, bars etc. There is also a big fetch field with many dogs playing together. Socialize here is pawsome!
WHAT TO DO
There are many places in the Portuguese Riviera to visit with your dog. Cascais is a small beach town of The Portuguese Riviera. It’s small enough to explore entirely by foot with your dog. That’s the best option if you want to “feel” the atmosphere of this charming village. And if you enjoy surfing, you will fall in love with Portugal.
1. Cape Roca
Europe’s westernmost point is actually part of Sintra-Cascais Natural Park, so it would be a very scenic walk for the nature and trail lovers. Max and Louise are real fans of nature!
2. Cascay Bay
There is a small marina next to Ribeira de Cascais beach where you can find yachts and fishermen boats. We usually visit Cascais Bay walking from Estoril to Cascais along the beachfront esplanade. During Spring time it’s very pleasant this walking, temperatures are not so high so you can really enjoy the coast. You can even stop to have something to drink or to eat at one of the beachside bars and restaurants. They have all terraces where pets are usually accepted.
3. Boca Do Inferno
Boca do Inferno means “mouth of hell” in english. You can walk 15-20 minutes with your dog from the center of Cascais along the coast to have the an amazing experience and understand why this grotto is called “mount of hell”. I’m not gonna tell you why for you to have the curiosity to explore the most visiter attraction in the area around Cascais.
Portugal has some of the best waves in Europe. Max and Louise usually surf at Carcavelos Beach with their dad. It’s the best one for dogs! São Pedro do Estoril, Azarujinha and Guincho beaches are amazing spots for humans but for dogs are quite difficult due to strong waves. Those are the best spots of The Portuguese Riviera to surf. And if you want to try surf for the first time, Carcavelos has good surf schools. You can’t miss this opportunity!
WHERE TO SEE THE SUNSETS
For those who enjoy sunset o’clock like us, there are few places here at the Portuguese Riviera where you can watch amazing sunsets. Check them out!
1. Cape Roca
Sunset time is the best time of the day to visit “Cabo da Roca” with the sun setting over the Atlantic Ocean.
2. Carcavelos Beach
Walking your dog at the end of the afternoon at Carcavelos beach can be a pleasant program for your day. We usually have something to drink while watching the sunset.
3. Tamariz Beach
Find the golden hour where you go on vacation and see how sunrise and sunset change with latitude and time of the year.
IN CASE YOU NEED A VETERINARY
If you come from the U.S, for example, your pooch will need a health certificate to fly back home. Take note!
1. Hospital Veterinário Bicuda
We do recommend you Hospital Veterinario da Bicuda in case you need an emergency healthcare during your trip to the Portuguese Riviera. They are really professionals and english spoken.
Still need more reasons to book your Spring break in Portugal? The sunny Portuguese Riviera awaits you and it’s just around the corner of the best city in the world: Lisbon!