The Atlantic Coast of Portugal to the south of Lisbon, running down towards the Alentejo. The Costa Azul is wonderfully unknown to much of the world, despite having both incredible beaches and the attractions of Portugal’s third largest city, Setubal. Despite its proximity to the lights of Lisbon, the Costa Azul is magnificently peaceful, with an atmosphere that convinces you very quickly that you are miles from anywhere.
The Costa Azul boasts an incredible number of soft sand beaches which remain perfectly peaceful, even during the height of the summer, as the large tourist crowds tend to flock further south to the more famous resorts in the Algarve. The beaches along this stretch are often cited as the finest swimming beaches in the whole of Portugal, and the sheltered beaches are absolutely perfect for a range of water sports, and there are plenty of reasonably priced water sport centres along the coast. Self catering Costa Azul accommodation is often taken by surfers waiting for the enormous Atlantic swells which crash onto the Costa Azul when conditions are right.
The Parque Natural da Arrabida runs along the sheltered estuary that runs from the coast towards Setubal. The coastline is often likened to the coast of California, with plunging cliffs and wonderful views across the ocean. Dolphins can regularly be seen off the coast of the Costa Azul, throughout the lagoons, estuaries and coves which make up the coastline. There are some fantastic walks to be enjoyed, with many miles of moors, woodland and sand dunes to explore. Horse riding holidays are hugely popular along the Costa Azul, and there are some wonderful trails. There are plenty of stables providing hirelings and trail guides.
Throughout the Costa Azul are a whole host of magnificent castles, ancient palaces and charming churches to discover on foot, horseback or by car, as well as a great number of fantastic golf courses to play.
The cuisine along the Costa Azul is fantastic. Simple, honest dishes here are awash with flavour, and the local wines are absolutely fantastic. As with much of the region, the gastronomy of the Costa Azul area is wildly underestimated by the global tourist market, which just adds to the glory of the region. I can only assume that the whole region will soon be discovered and this absolute treasure will be permanently affected by the strains of mass tourism. Until then however, if you are lucky enough to rent a self catering Coast Azul property, you will be treated to a fascinating, stunning and truly endearing part of ‘real’ Portugal, and have it all to yourself.
Charneca da Caparica is the largest beach resort on the Costa Azul, hugely popular with Lisbon residents for its glorious beaches that stretch far into the distance. The resort gives you a huge number of water sport options, leisure facilities and restaurants to enjoy.
Sesimbra is a wonderfully picturesque fishing village just 40km down the coast from Lisbon. Nestled between an azure blue bay and the foothills of the Arrabida hills, a Costa Azul holiday rental villa in Sesimbra puts you right at the heart of all that great about this region. Unassuming locals, stunning scenery and enough entertainment and sporting activities to keep any family happy, Sesimbra really is a hidden treasure.
The Azeitao region of the Costa Azul is steeped in history, and also perfectly poised to take advantage of both the beaches and the Arradida National Park. There are stunning monuments and ruins from throughout Portugal’s long history, with the Palaeolithic and Roman monuments being particularly spectacular.
The Costa Azul’s proximity to Lisbon is a real advantage for holiday makers who have discovered this wonderful region. Lisbon Airport (LIS) is well served by a large range of airlines, which provide flights from the vast majority of British airports.