Praia da Ursa - Lisbon's best beach

Last year on a week long road-trip around Portugal with Joe and Emma, we discovered Praia da Ursa, my all time favourite beach. It’s special. In fact it’s so spectacular that I actually had a tough time deciding whether I should write this post.  Surely a beach this special should be kept a secret?

Luckily, I don't think it's for everyone. Access is treacherous, forget about "facilities" and it's  not easy to swim - the Atlantic's waves and currents can be really dangerous here.

From above, Praia da Ursa is barely visible.

We’d spent the day exploring Sintra’s Moorish Castle and were ready to find a quiet beach to enjoy the rest of the late autumn afternoon. We parked at the Cabo da Roca car park before setting off on the long trek to Praia da Ursa. If you're visiting in the Summer, don't rely on finding a space here - I've heard it gets crowded. The path to Praia da Ursa follows the headland for around half a mile before descending into a perilously steep scree-covered valley. The walk is incredibly scenic, just remember to look at where you're treading as well as at the view. Emma was wearing a pair of shiny, slippery flat shoes and almost slid to her death on multiple instances. I'd definitely recommend grippy shoes. Oh and travel insurance.

Once we reached the bottom of the valley we were greeted by an arch of golden sand bordered by a range of incredibly shaped limestone stacks. Discovering that we had the beach to ourselves, we stripped off and ran straight into the sea which was warm enough even in November!  We spent the next couple of hours swimming, running around like children and taking photos of the incredible sunset.

If you're ever in Lisbon, make sure you find some time to check out Praia da Ursa. Even though it's so close to the swarms of tourists at Cabo da Roca, it's really a world away. You won't be disapointed.

Even though it was November, it was still warm enough to swim

Praia da Ursa is only accessible by scrambling down a steep scree-covered slope

As the sun started to set it cast long shadows over the golden sand

Praia da Ursa is a short walk from Cabo da Roca which is Europe's most Westerly point.