Contributor Review – Sofia Ferreira
Local Expert. Visited 2023
Praia do Abano is a small-sized and discreet beach tucked away between the rocky formations near Cabo da Roca, a majestic cape bearing traces of a 17th-century defensive fort. This cape is also the westernmost point of mainland Europe. Although it spans only 0.1 kilometers or 330 feet, crossing to the other side reveals an even more intimate beach cove. Praia do Abano is one of the more secluded and lesser known nude beaches in Portugal.
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Much like its larger neighbor, Praia do Guincho, Praia do Abano is subject to strong winds and turbulent waters, prompting visitors to exercise caution. On my visit, the waves were modest, but the forceful currents were palpable. Consequently, I never ventured beyond knee-deep waters for safety. If you decide to visit Praia do Abano, please be cautious. For swimming, Praia do Guincho might be a safer choice, given its popularity with surfers and periodic lifeguards in season. However, it isn’t recognized as a nude or tolerated beach by the Portuguese Naturist Federation. For nude sunbathing, though, Praia do Abano is unparalleled. Its secluded nature means it’s often overlooked, making it a favorite among nudists.
Regarding the ambiance, I visited in September and was met with solitude. While I did spot numerous cyclists and hikers, there were no swimmers, surfers, or sunbathers in sight. Some might find such emptiness daunting, but every passerby greeted me with a smile, dispelling any unease.
Praia do Abano is nestled within the protected confines of the Sintra-Cascais Natural Park, a haven for hiking, sightseeing, and exploration. This diverse region encompasses the towering cliffs of Cabo da Roca, pristine beaches like Praia do Abano, Praia do Guincho, and Praia das Maçãs, a northern mountain range, charming rural villages, and the lush Serra de Sintra. Sintra, with its rich history as a summer retreat for the elite, boasts architectural marvels from enchanting castles to grand palaces, earning it a UNESCO World Heritage Site designation.
In summary, Praia do Abano offers a serene environment for nude sunbathing, thanks to its secluded sandy patches and protective rock formations. However, its rocky terrain combined with strong winds and rough waters might deter some from swimming. Personally, I found it to be a peaceful haven, a harmonious blend of water, rocks, sand, and vegetation.
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Praia do Abano is a discreet gem located less than an hour from Lisbon. Tucked away amidst rocky formations and historic landmarks, it offers a serene escape from the city's hustle. While the walk down to the beach isn't particularly long, it is steep, which might pose challenges for those with mobility issues or those who aren't in the best physical shape.
From Estrada do Guincho, take the dirt road leading to Praia do Guincho's parking lot. Continue on this path, even if it appears less maintained due to Praia do Abano's quieter reputation. As you near the end of the road, to your left is a panoramic view of Praia do Guincho. Straight ahead is Forte do Guincho or Forte das Velas, a fort from around 1642. To your right is Praia do Abano. An alternate route to access the beach is also available via Estrada da Malveira.
Public transport to Praia do Abano is extremely limited. The best way to get here is by car for convenience. However, if you're in the vicinity and familiar with local routes, cycling or hiking could be viable options.