The best independent guide to Costa da Caparica
The best independent guide to the Costa da Caparica
Fonte da Telha is a delightful Portuguese beach town that lies along the beautiful Costa da Caparica coastline. The town nestles between golden cliffs and a glorious sandy beach, that extends for 5km in either direction.
Fonte da Telha was originally a fishing village, and today the fishing fleet still employ traditional xalavar fishing techniques, which are unique to the region. This fishing heritage gives the town a rustic character and ramshackle appearance, being a mix of fishermen’s houses, Portuguese holiday homes, and family-run cafes.
Surrounding Fonte da Telha are the Mata dos Medos pine forests, and the town lies within the “Arriba Fóssil” nature preserve. This protected status preserves the low-key nature of the Fonte da Telha, which is surprising considering the closeness to Lisbon and wonderful beach.
The view of Fonte da Telha
The beach at Fonte da Telha beach is a favourite with the Portuguese who descend on the town at summer weekends, but is barely known by foreign visitors.
The beach tends to attract families and slightly older Portuguese, as the limited public transport makes it inaccessible for non-car drivers. (Insight: Most Portuguese teenagers and twenty-year-olds head to the Cascais coastline).
Fonte da Telha beach faces the Atlantic Ocean, which means powerful waves and chilly seawaters. The near-constant sea breezes make the Costa da Caparica coastline ideal for kitesurfing and surfing. When there are favourable winds, hundreds of kites can be seen flying along the entire coastline. Found in Fonte da Telha are kitesurfing schools and surf rental stores.
As for a holiday, Fonte da Telha has a relaxed vibe, and is a good location for a calm holiday, which is still close to Lisbon and Portugal’s main airport.
Related articles: Costa da Caparica - Cascais
Fonte da Telha beach is stunning, boasting soft golden sands and clean sea waters.
The beach is part of the Costa da Caparica coastline, a 23km stretch of sand that extends from the Cabo Espichel headland in the south to the modern resort town of Costa da Caparica to the north.
The vast beach can easily accommodate the droves of Portuguese day-trippers, and even at the height of the summer, there is always plenty of space.
Info: The weather is suitable for spending time on the beach from May until the end of September
To the north of Fonte da Telha is Praia 19 (officially known as Praia da Bela Vista), which is a popular beach and meeting point for gay visitors.
Fonte da Telha is not a common holiday destination for foreign visitors but has a lot going for it.
Outside of the daytime rush for the beach, the town has a calm and relaxed vibe, which is distinctly Portuguese. There are many restaurants and beach cafes offering good value, freshly cooked fish.
Nightlife is centred around the beach bars of Fonte da Telha, but the Costa Caparica is known for its summertime beach parties hosted at remote beach clubs and bars. These beach parties are found by asking local café/restaurant/bar staff.
Fonte da Telha is ideal for families seeking somewhere less hectic than the major resort towns of the Algarve. There are no major hotels in or near Fonte da Telha, and accommodation tends to be rental rooms, hostels or bed and breakfasts.
The map below shows the location of the main accommodation options in Fonte da Telha, if you adjust the map to the dates of your stay it will display current availability and prices:
Tip: Zoom in to see more accommodation options in Fonte da Telha or zoom out to see accommodation along the Costa da Caparica
Fonte da Telha lies within the protected landscape of the “Paisagem Protegida da Arriba Fóssil da Costa da Caparica”. This region is of scientific interest as it contains many fossils dating from the Miocene era (23 to 5 million years ago). Fossils frequently found are teeth from Miocene fish, which have been exposed in the cliffs behind Fonte da Telha.
The Mata dos Medos are the pine and eucalyptus forests that grow over the mature sand dunes at the top of the cliff line. These forests were originally planted under the direction of King João V (1689 – 1750) to prevent the sands blowing inland and covering the fertile farmlands further to the east.
At the top of the cliff is the PR9 coast footpath which heads both north and south along the coastline. The 7km southerly route leads to the beautiful Lagoa de Albufeira, a tidal lagoon surrounded by pristine countryside. (Guide to Lagoa de Albufeira).
Sadly, there is no literature or websites detailing the hiking path, but Openstreetmap.org provide detailed maps of the region, and is what we use when hiking in Portugal. A map of Fonte da Telha can be seen here: https://www.openstreetmap.org
The combination of decent waves, constant breezes and vast beaches, has made the Costa da Caparica a popular location for kitesurfing. Found in Fonte da Telha are kitesurfing schools which can provide private tuition or rental. Private lessons cost from €65 per hour, or if you have previous experience, there is Supervised Rent for €25/h.
Kitesurfway Lisboa - https://www.kitesurfway.com/
Gustykite Kitesurf school - https://gustykite.net/
Xalavar fishing is the traditional technique employed by fishermen along the Costa da Caparica coastline. The method uses a fishing boat to carry out to sea and set the nets around a shoal of sardines.
These nets are then hauled inland by two tractors positioned on the beach, and the freshly caught sardines are sold on the beach. Historically oxen were used to drag the nets in.
A car is really needed when exploring the southern side of the Costa da Caparica coastline.
There is a limited bus service from Cacilhas to Fonte da Telha. Cacilhas is the major bus/tram/ferry interchange on the southern banks of the Tejo estuary and is reached via a ferry from Cais do Sodré in Lisbon.
The bus service from Cacilhas to Fonte da Telha is operated by Carris Metropolitana, and is the number 3012 route. The bus journey takes 55minutes, and a single ticket costs €2.60. The latest timetable can be seen on the Carris Metropolitana website:
Note: There are no bus services from Setubal or Sesimbra to Fonte da Telha.
Related articles: Lisbon to Cacilhas (and to the Christo Rei Statue)
Most visitors drive to Fonte da Telha, and in the summer there is a scramble to find parking spaces within the town – we always recommend starting as early in the day as possible. Also, there can be horrendous traffic on the return to Lisbon as everyone queues to pay the toll for the Ponte 25 de Abril bridge.
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