The best guide to the Sesimbra region
The best guide to the Sesimbra region
Sesimbra home - Sights & activities - Beach guide - Cabo Espichel - Serra da Arrabida - Setubal guide
The Praia do Meco is a gorgeous sandy beach at the southern end of the Costa da Caparica coastline.
The beach is infamous throughout Portugal as it was the first nudist beach in the country, but today there is a clear designation between the family-friendly sections and the nudist beach (which is further to the south of the coastline).
The Praia do Meco is a pristine beach with a beautiful natural setting, and apart from a couple of beach restaurants, there is no sign of human interference for kilometres in either direction.
This stretch of coastline is protected by the “Arriba Fóssil” nature preserve, which limits any developed close to the fossil-rich cliffs or within the sand dune pine forests.
When the weather is good (no wind!), there is no better beach than Meco.
Related articles: Costa da Caparica - Sesimbra introduction
Meco is a vast beach, surrounded by beautiful scenery, but there can be strong winds, and there are powerful currents in the sea.
The remote setting is also part of the draw and negativity, it means there will be fewer visitors than many other beaches, but a car is needed to travel here.
Meco beach faces a westerly direction and the might of the Atlantic Ocean. Onto the beach, huge waves crash and it tends to be the roughest section of the Costa da Caparica coastline.
The waves are huge but break close to the shoreline, so it is not as good as other places along the coastline for surfing. The reason for this close breaking of the waves is that the beach descends steeply below the waterline, whereas further up the coastline the sands extend at waist height much further out.
This rapid drop off and strong currents make it not ideal for swimming or bathing for young children, and care should always be taken in the sea. The beach is supervised by lifeguards during the summer (June-September). As with all Portuguese beaches, the seawater is always chilly only reaching 19C in the midst of the summer.
Meco beach (and the whole of the Costa da Caparica) can experience very strong sea breezes. If the wind is too strong, consider visiting the sheltered inland beach of the Praia da Lagoa de Albufeira (3km north) or the beaches of Sesimbra.
Related articles: Lagoa de Albufeira – Sesimbra guide
At Meco beach there are two restaurants, the Bar do Peixe and the Onda Azul. For beach restaurants, both offer excellent food and good service. The Bar do Peixe is renowned for its fresh fish dishes and is a beautiful setting for a sunset evening meal.
There are no shops close to Meco beach, so any drinks of food will have to be purchased from the Bar do Peixe or the Onda Azul. To the rear of the beach is a modern and clean toilet block, with external showers.
On the beach are two private sunshade/sunbeds areas, with a pitch for two costing €15 per day. The sunshade areas take the prime section of the beach, but as the beach is so large, there is always plenty of space to be found.
The nudist section of Meco is to the south (on the left side when facing the sea) and is beyond the sand dune/rock outcrop. The main section of Meco beach is suitable for children and families.
Insight: The sands at Meco are much coarser and the sand grains much larger than the soft sands along the rest of the Costa da Caparica. This is due to the server winter storms and strong winds, which have blown the finer sands inland.
The only method to travel to Meco beach is to drive, and there is a decent tarmac road (M561) all the way to the beach. There is lots of car parking at the beach, but it does quickly fill up in the summer months, especially at the weekends. Two fields adjacent to the beach have been converted into the car parks, with the closer charging €2 for all-day parking and the slightly further one charging €1.
There are no bus services to Meco beach.
If you tire of sitting on the beach and want to go for a walk, we would suggest heading in a northerly direction. This leads to the pretty Praia da Lagoa de Albufeira 2km along the beach.
To the south are the Rio da Prata and Praia da Tramagueira, both nudist beaches. Along this section of coastline are clay cliffs, which are supposedly good for the skin, and provide a natural mud wrap!
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