Exploring and swimming the coast of Sesimbra, Portugal

Exploring and swimming the coast of Sesimbra, Portugal

Sesimbra is a national park just South of Lisbon, Portugal. Being a national park it has that back to nature wild feeling you would expect from any well looked after area of natural beauty. Some of the scenery looks almost prehistoric with dramatic hills and woodland you could picture dinosaurs walking through. In fact out on the end of one headland overlooking the sea at Cabo Espichel you can see dinosaur footprints preserved in the ground, it really looks like they could still be there now.

What initially attracted us to Sesimbra was the magical blue waters at Praia do Ribeiro do Cavalo. This beach is a walk and a scramble down some cliffs from the nearest place to park but well worth putting in the effort. The waters are different shades of bright blue with amazing visibility.

Looking West over the clear waters and coast we were about to swim.


Looking East, another amazing stretch of coast we can't wait to return to explore.


The amazing blue waters


This is where we had a swim to explore a bit more of the coast and get a closer look of the underwater world here.

We used our AquaTrek®36 backpack as a beach bag for the day to carry towels, sun screen, lunch and water etc. Rather than having to transport any kit whilst swimming from A-B we were able to use the pack as visibility for other boats in the water. As we swam West from the beach we were glad we had it with us. There is a stretch of coast West from here that doesn’t have any beach but has shallow clear water which is a haven for boats to moor up for the day and enjoy the beauty of the area. We had no problem swimming along the cliffs here, getting closer than the boats could to the fish against the cliffs.

Using the AquaTrek®36 to stay visible to nearby boats

Amazing clear waters

The clear shades of blue from inside the water


Where to stay

The town of Sesimbra itself is a little over developed and touristy and quite a contrast to all of the other small villages that surround it. There are lots of traditional Portuguese villages  scattered throughout the national park that have much more character and a local community feel. We visited the village of Alfarim during a fiesta and had a great night with the locals.

 We stayed in an off grid caravan complete with a self-composting toilet and cold water shower with sea views a 2 minute walk from the coast path. This was right up our street and a great find to experience the beauty and tranquillity of the national park.


Home for the night

Sea views from the caravan window

Blue light hour just before the stary skies of the national park start to light up


As with the rest of Portugal seafood is in abundance. Simple but delicious the local grilled fish with salad, house potatoes and washed down with the local vino verde (young white wine) is always a treat after a day exploring the beaches and ocean.


Other water sports activities

 There are plenty of kayak, SUP and boat tours that can be booked from around Sesimbra if you want to explore the area with an organised group.