Praia da Ursa that retains its natural beauty

by Nuno Madeira
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[vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]Praia da Ursa, located a few hundred meters from Cabo da Roca, in the municipality of Sintra, is considered the most western beach in mainland Portugal.

Considered one of the most beautiful beaches in the country, it has very complicated and dangerous access.

Its name is due to the huge stone in the form of Ursa (Bear) looking at the sky, side by side with another rock formation of name Gigante (Giant), and everything derives from the legend of Praia da Ursa.

Legend says that in the Ice Age there lived a bear with its children, and when the thaw began, the Gods told all the animals to flee from the coastal areas. But the bear did not want to accede to the orders of the Gods and there she wanted to stay with her children because she was born there and wanted to stay there. The enraged Gods turned the bear into a huge rock and their children into small rocks scattered around them, forever and ever.[/vc_column_text][vc_single_image image=”6968″ img_size=”full” alignment=”center”][vc_column_text]To get to Praia da Ursa, you will have to take the N247 and turn to Azóia, towards Cabo da Roca. Less than 1000 meters from Cabo da Roca, after a curve to the left, and after passing the village, you will see a sign indicating Praia da Ursa on the right. Before, it was possible to leave the car right there in a small park of land, but it is a private lot that is now usually closed.

There are now two options, either leave the vehicle next to this entrance and do the rest of the journey on foot, about 500 meters, or continue by car through the sand and rocky road to the inner park closer to the beach, however, it should be noted that the road is in poor condition and not all cars will be able to do it successfully due to some areas badly damaged by the rains and the passage of vehicles.

I recommend only to take this route if you know it well and/or if you are in an off-road vehicle because only pass one vehicle at a time and there are not many areas to maneuver. Even for motorbikes, it can be dangerous for less experienced drivers.[/vc_column_text][vc_single_image image=”6969″ img_size=”full” alignment=”center”][vc_column_text]From this place, you can already see the two great cliffs emblematic of this beach.

The green of the constant vegetation is united with the blue sky and the ocean that lies ahead.

There are now two options. The path to the right, or the path to the left?

The one on the right gives access to a natural viewpoint and does not give access to the beach. Already gave in time but several collapses in the slopes cut the access to the sand, therefore, they must choose this path only if they are with the intention of seeing the beach more closely as if a belvedere was, but not reaching the beach.

The left path, that yes, will hit the beach, but we’ll be there later.

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In my visits to Praia da Ursa, I usually go down to the right because it is not always my intention to reach the beach, and they will understand why the photos are ahead.[/vc_column_text][vc_single_image image=”6970″ img_size=”full” alignment=”center”][vc_column_text]The path to the right is very well delineated, impossible to miss, and only one or two places require a little more care in the descent to avoid slipping in the sand that may be slippery.

Needless to say, it will be recommended to wear suitable footwear and clothing, preferably wide, not to hold movements.

Whether summer or winter, the undergrowth is immense and is the predominant color that accompanies us to the edge of the cliff.

To the north, in the distance, you can see Ericeira.[/vc_column_text][vc_single_image image=”6971″ img_size=”full” alignment=”center”][vc_single_image image=”6972″ img_size=”full” alignment=”center”][vc_column_text]This route will take you to an area that seems to be a natural lookout point. They are about 420 meters from the car park, according to my GPS Tracker used on the last visit to the place.

You will find a first spot where you can see the sand, but you can go even lower down to a set of huge rocks where you can observe and/or photograph with better vision.

Attention, even those more experienced in hiking should be careful because this zone is about 100 meters high and a false step can cause a fatal accident.

In my many visits to Praia da Ursa, this is the route that I use for being faster, easier, and because it gives me a better view of the beach to photograph or simply meditate. Believe that it is the will that gives you being with such natural beauty in front of us.

I must confess that I have never been able to visualize the shape of the bear looking at the sky, which tells the story, and now much more difficult was after the collapse of much of the rock that occurred in April 2011 and was captured by the photographer Eliana Lemos.[/vc_column_text][vc_single_image image=”6973″ img_size=”full” alignment=”center”][vc_single_image image=”6974″ img_size=”full” alignment=”center”][vc_single_image image=”6975″ img_size=”full” alignment=”center”][vc_column_text]There is no time or perfect tide to photograph this beach because all hours and tides are perfect. I recommend however a wide angle lens, otherwise, you will not be able to shoot the whole area at once.[/vc_column_text][vc_single_image image=”6976″ img_size=”full” alignment=”center”][vc_column_text]On my last visit I took about 8 minutes to climb back up to the parking lot, however, consider an average of 15 minutes to make the climb with calm and rest points on the way. A bottle of water will work great on hotter days.[/vc_column_text][vc_single_image image=”6977″ img_size=”full” alignment=”center”][vc_column_text]You can now go back to the parking area, or, halfway up the hill, choose a small trail on the right that can take you directly to the trail that descends to the sand. But who does not know should not risk because one of these rails, which led before the beach, was the one that collapsed and stopped giving access.

This trail to the right of which I now speak is more or less halfway up the hill, after a large cluster of vegetation on the right and after passing through an area where we can see the route that takes us to the beach on the other side of the cliff.[/vc_column_text][vc_single_image image=”6978″ img_size=”full” alignment=”center”][vc_single_image image=”6979″ img_size=”full” alignment=”center”][vc_single_image image=”6980″ img_size=”full” alignment=”center”][vc_column_text]If you opted at the beginning for descending the left path, towards the sand, or if you chose to cross the path that leads to the natural viewpoint, prepare that the descent to the sand is more complicated and demanding than the course of the right.


There are more areas where the sand may be loose and cause a fall. There is even an area where you will probably have to cling to the rocks because it is a steep, rocky and very dangerous descent.

The only thing I can say is that when they reach the beach, all this effort is rewarded.

Again, I recommend proper footwear as well as appropriate clothing.

The climb that I made from the beach to the parking lot took about 17 minutes, according to my GPS Tracker reason why, should have about 30 minutes of climb with calm and rest to catch your breath, especially if it is loaded with equipment of Beach.[/vc_column_text][vc_single_image image=”6959″ img_size=”full” alignment=”center”][vc_single_image image=”6960″ img_size=”full” alignment=”center”][vc_single_image image=”6961″ img_size=”full” alignment=”center”][vc_single_image image=”6962″ img_size=”full” alignment=”center”][vc_column_text]Once in the areal, all the effort of the descent, and after the ascent that still you have to do, is rewarded with the astonishing view of the rocks Ursa and Gigante, to the right.

During the low tide, you can discover a cove to the north, named Pesqueiro do Abrigo, and south the Palaia. But pay attention because you can easily lose track of the hours and if the tide fills you may have problems because the passages are interrupted by water.

With about 100 meters of sand, the beach is really fantastic and quiet, or at least it was, just as I had already spoken of Ribeiro do Cavalo Beach, near Sesimbra.

Now, with the ease of communication in social networks, this beach that was first frequented by nudists, I venture to say that in summer it almost seems like a “normal” beach with a lot of people on the beach. For this reason, you should respect all other holidaymakers, especially the nudists since the beach is classified as such.[/vc_column_text][vc_single_image image=”6963″ img_size=”full” alignment=”center”][vc_single_image image=”6964″ img_size=”full” alignment=”center”][vc_column_text]Finally, I leave another important note, as I said before, there have been crumbling and overthrowing, so all care is little, not only because access is very difficult, but also because there is no kind of facilities or equipment to support the beach.

Even in early 2018, there was a collapse with a deadly victim to mourn, and it was not the only case to date.[/vc_column_text][vc_single_image image=”6965″ img_size=”full” alignment=”center”][vc_single_image image=”6966″ img_size=”full” alignment=”center”][vc_column_text]If you liked this article, you will also like to read the article about Praia Ribeiro de Cavalo (soon), in Sesimbra.[/vc_column_text][vc_single_image image=”6835″ img_size=”full” alignment=”center” onclick=”custom_link” link=””][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column][vc_separator][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column][vc_facebook][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column][vc_separator][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]

Coordinates and Location of Praia da Ursa

Google Maps Coordinates: 38.7905562, -9.4922968 | open Google Maps

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