Colares travel guide for food lovers
Sintra is a world-famous destination and one of the most popular day trips from Lisbon. Even though many travelers do make it to Sintra, at least for the day, not that many make it a point to go beyond the town’s city center. Indeed Sintra has a lot to see, do and eat, but venturing away from the most obvious spots, as it tends to often happen, can be highly rewarding.
Colares is a locality that belongs to Sintra, but it has little to do with the preconceived idea that lots of travelers may have about this area. Forget about the royal palaces and regal manor houses, Colares is all about wild environments, stunning beaches and, generally speaking, taking it slow while connecting with the natural surroundings. Cabo da Roca, the westernmost place in Europe, belongs to the parish of Colares. So if this iconic spot is part of your travel plans already, there’s no reason why you shouldn’t explore other worthwhile spots in Colares too.
This area within the Sintra-Cascais Natural Park is ideal for road trips, during which you get to stop at picturesque villages, only separated by pretty idyllic landscapes. The dramatic coastline adds a lot of appeal to the region, but Colares’ charms aren’t certainly limited to the gifts nature has granted to this western corner of Portugal. The fertile lands which receive the salty breeze from the Atlantic Ocean have made Colares a popular area for food growing and winemaking, so you will find a lot of small-scale agricultural developments around here, particularly started by folks who care about permaculture and regenerative agriculture, and who make it a point to grow food in the most sustainable way possible. When you live around here, you get to visit regular farmers markets and have easy access to local produce, including lots of flavor-packed organic fruits and vegetables.
But if you are just passing by, definitely dedicate some time to enjoying what Colares has to offer to travelers. Whether it’s during summer for sunbathing and swimming, or during winter for a reinvigorating stroll on the sand, Colares is home to several impressive beaches. Nestled in a valley, Praia da Adraga is one of Colares’ most picturesque beaches. In this very spot the ocean looks simply magnificent as it showcases its power, but this also means you ought to be careful when attempting to bathe as the waves are quite rough. Praia Grande (literally big beach) may be more suitable for swimming, and it’s also a perfect spot for lounging around as it has such an expansive sandy area that can hardly get overcrowded as, for example, its smaller neighbor Praia Pequena (whose name translates as small beach).
Other beaches worth checking out in the area include Praia das Maçãs (pictured above), a favorite of those into watersports, such as bodyboard and surfing. Praia da Adraga has the potential to remind you a little bit of the Algarve region down south, because of the caves and tunnels that the water has over time eroded on the rocks – just be ready to take quite a walk from your car to the sandy area. Talking about walks, nothing beats the downwards trail you must complete to visit the glorious Praia da Ursa (pictured below), which even though is relatively hard to get to, tends to be quite visited as it’s right by Cabo da Roca, thus making it the westernmost beach in mainland Europe. If you come here, pack as light as possible. If the trail down will feel tiring, you can always take a reinvigorating dip in the ocean as you reach, but the same won’t happen on your way back up!
Azenhas do Mar, which we could think of as a more rustic Portuguese version of Greece’s Santorini (no party vibes here, though), is quite probably the most visited place in Colares. In fact, the postcard perfect view of the town and the salty pool waters by the dramatic cliffs is the stereotypical image that will pop up the moment you search for anything related to this area. Azenhas do Mar is the name of a small village but it is also the name of a popular restaurant (which we explore below) that occupies the most privileged spot in town. This establishment has stupendous views towards the ocean but it also includes a bar by a gorgeous saltwater pool that enables visitors to actually swim, in a rocky area where it would simply be too dangerous to enter the ocean directly.
A little more inland, Almoçageme is a village nestled in the hills of Sintra’s forest and it’s particularly worth checking out during the weekends, when they have a small but bustling street market going on. In fact, Almoçageme is a master at organizing events for the community to get together, so there’s often something going on around here entertainment wise. Even when there’s nothing specific on the program, do not forsaken Almoçageme and the nearby village of Penedo, as this is traditional Sintra at its very best! Those into hiking through nature with the possibility of crossing quaint villages on the way, will certainly love it around here.
Whether you are on a road-trip or hiking in Colares and its surrounding areas, you will at some point feel the need to recharge your batteries, and the good news is that there are plenty of good restaurants to do so around here. As this is a coastal area, typical meals revolving around fish and seafood are what stand out the most, but there is choice for every taste. Today, we explore the best Portuguese food offerings in this part of Sintra.
These are the best places to go eat out in Colares:
Best restaurants for Portuguese food in Colares
Azenhas do Mar
The name Azenhas do Mar is synonymous with the village of the same name, its homonymous restaurant and the salt water natural swimming pool which is a part of the restaurant and bar complex. They are all very much worth a visit, if not for a complete meal, at least for a drink with a spectacular view. If you can afford it, dining at Azenhas do Mar restaurant has the potential to be a great experience. This is simply one of the best fish and seafood restaurants in the entire Sintra area. The dishes aren’t overly complicated and straightforwardly rely on the freshness of the high quality sea products they select. The setting is lovely and the cordial service matches all of the above – what’s there not to like?
📍Lugar das Piscinas, 2705-098 Colares
Restaurante da Adraga
Fresh fish simply grilled over charcoal is what Adraga’s beach restaurant is known for. In fact, lots of Lisbon’s residents are known to travel to Adaga when craving the perfection that this kind of food is when super fresh. It may sound rather simplistic to some, but those into fresh fish will taste the difference at places such as Restaurante da Adraga. Of course it doesn’t hurt that the establishment is located in a privileged spot and that the views will also feed your soul in the process.
📍Rua da Praia da Adraga, 2705-063 Colares
Bar do Fundo
f your idea of an eatery right by the beach doesn’t go much beyond a shack in the sand serving drinks and fast food, visit Bar do Fundo and change your mind. Bar do Fundo is located in such a gorgeous light filled setting that it could be one of those places that couldn’t care less about what they serve, and chances are they’d still be full. Thankfully that is not the case, and their menu takes the best of traditional Portuguese cooking with a touch of sophistication. Their grilled octopus lagareiro style is to die for and so is the tuna steak grilled to perfection, still slightly raw in the center as it should be, served with “naughty rice” flavored with coriander. On Sunday, they are more Portuguese than ever, as they serve the most iconic of all typical meat dishes in our country, cozido à portuguesa.
📍Av. Alfredo Coelho, 2705-329 Colares
The Michelin guide recommended Nortada is one of the higher end restaurants in the Colares area. They serve fish and seafood by the kilo, with outstanding views towards the ocean which bathes Praia Grande beach. When you go out to eat fish in Portugal, it’s important to make a distinction between farmed fish and seafood caught in the wild. Sometimes you’ll even see the same species (for instance popular ones such as sea bass or sea bream – other popular fishes consumed in Portugal such as tuna, sardines or mackerel are never farmed and always wild) with wildly different prices. When the dish has a fixed price you know it will most likely contain farmed fish. When the restaurant advertises fish by weight, which is the case right here at Nortada, they are most certainly referring to wild fish. As the weight of a creature can highly vary, you have to ask your server about the size and approximate weight of the piece – not only to understand if it makes sense to ask for a serving of it, but also to avoid a bitter aftertaste when the final bill lands on your table. Either way, servers will normally recommend a fish depending on the size of your group and will inform you if a certain fish can be cut into pieces or if it can only be sold full – this will vary according to the anatomy of the species in question. Fresh fish lovers in the Great Lisbon area have been coming to Nortada since 1979, to enjoy the highest quality sea products in a familiar welcoming setting with a breathtaking view – best enjoyed during dinner when you can see the sun go down in the horizon.
📍Avenida Alfredo Coelho 8, Praia Grande, Colares 2705-329 Portugal
Not everything is fancy and pricey around Colares, and that is a very good thing! Adega Vadia is one of those typical Portuguese establishments where you go to eat well, hang out with friends, and don’t spend a fortune by the end of it all. In some aspects Adega Vadia has the familiarity of a typical Portuguese tasca, but the way they prepare and present their dishes is a tad more elevated. This is a perfect spot to end the day in Praia Grande, enjoying a chilled drink and a delicious range of petiscos.
📍Largo das Casas Novas 1, 2705-177 Colares
Adega das Azenhas
If there is a well established restaurant in the area which locals can swear by, that is Adega das Azenhas. Adega is the Portuguese word for winery, as this restaurant is located in a centuries-old former winery now turned eatery. This is a traditional Portuguese restaurant where they do not reinvent the wheel and instead focus on doing things right according to what’s been done with premium ingredients for many generations. Owner Dona Lurdes welcomes diners with an outstanding sense of hospitality, almost as if this was her home instead of a commercial establishment. Try the fresh fish from this coastal area, or the salted cod Azenha style, pictured here. If you’d prefer a meat dish, we’d recommend a recipe which encapsulates the rustic personality of Adega das Azenhas, like the fried rabbit or the lamb chops.
📍Avenida da, Av. Comissão de Melhoramentos 1 3, 2705-096 Colares
Água e Sal
Neighboring Azenhas do Mar restaurant, but not right by the water as the popular restaurant, Água e Sal is another great option for fresh fish and assorted seafood in the village of Azenhas do Mar. This restaurant meets artisanal ice-cream parlor was opened by the son of the owner of Adega das Azenhas above, and it serves the kind of food you should eat by the beach when in Portugal. The saying “like mother like son”, in this case, translates into incredibly fresh and delicious food – just the kind of legacy we love to explore!
📍Largo do Padre António 5, 2705-098 Colares
Refúgio da Roca
After you feel the crazy winds of the westernmost tip of the European continent in Cabo da Roca, this refuge is an ideal spot to come for lunch. Refúgio da Roca’s specialties include chunky seafood soups, shellfish rice, octopus and salt cod dishes, as well as grilled meats on natural skewers made of laurel wood, which infuse the meats with lovely subtle aromas. While this is a popular restaurant in the area all year long, we like it particularly during the winter. When the fireplace is on, it almost feels like a mountain refuge where you can get cozy and enjoy delicious comfort food Portuguese style.
📍Estrada do Cabo da Roca 27, 2705-001 Azóia
If while in Colares you’d like to visit a traditional Portuguese restaurant with a very complete wine cellar, Búzio should definitely be on your radar. It’s not the most affordable option in the area, but it indeed serves very good quality food. This upscale restaurant specializes in fresh seafood and as it is just located about 100 meters from the sea, the setting to enjoy it couldn’t be any more ideal.
📍Avenida Eugene Leví, nº 56, Praia das Maçãs, 2705-302 Colares
Sal & Xixa SteakHouse
While Colares and all the nearby coastal areas are famous for seafood, Colares’ restaurateurs understand that not everyone likes fish and, even if you do, sometimes you just feel like a nice steak. Enter Sal & Xixa, a steakhouse with impeccable reviews where you can order your meats already cooked, of course, but also cook them at the table yourself. The cooking experience can be lots of fun if you are dining out with friends, as it promotes the spirit of sharing. You wouldn’t be breaking bread as the saying goes, but you’d be grilling steak… which can also be a form of bonding, right?
📍Av. Eugene Levy, 2705-306 Colares
Ribeirinha de Colares
Ribeirinha de Colares is more than a straight forward restaurant. It serves delicious dishes, of course, but they also organize events and do catering service, while the space doubles as a pastelaria (Portuguese for pastry shop), gourmet products store, and even a wine cellar. Come here for a great meal and leave with a bundle of local goodies such as preserves, spreads, infusions and more. During the summer they also have home-made ice-cream.
📍Av. dos Bombeiros Voluntários 71, 2705-180 Colares
Pensão Sisudo Restaurante
The restaurant at Pensão Sisudo focuses on Mediterranean food as a whole, and not exactly just Portuguese cuisine. They do serve salt cod dishes and grills with quintessential Iberian meats such as back pork, but they also do grills with fresh fish and cuttlefish, prepare lovely stuffed squid and do small plates perfect for sharing, such as tuna tataki, tempura and even vegetarian options like grilled eggplant. A very solid choice in Colares, particularly for lunch as they offer a great value for money special and the dishes keep changing.
📍Largo Miguel Bombarda 14, 2705-029 Colares
Terrace – Hotel Arribas
This elegant restaurant within the Arribas Hotel in Colares is all about contemporary food. The ethos of their kitchen relies on simplicity but that is not a bad thing. In fact, we all know that oftentimes the simplest things are the hardest to accomplish right, as there are no masks or gimmicks that can make up for anything. Executive chef David Kercher runs the kitchen of Terrace restaurant and, as a reflection of his own background, his cuisine is a fusion of Portuguese and Australian. Taste flavors from Sidney to Sintra, with some Asian elements too, often prepared with produce from the hotel’s very own organic vegetable garden.
📍Av. Alfredo Coelho 28, 2705-329 Colares
Traditional Portuguese cooking and petiscos are what Colheita 71 is all about. This restaurant has a super cozy rustic decor and feels very inviting as the team who has been working here for many years will greet you as family. There aren’t many places in the area (not even in Lisbon!) where you can have an authentic Porto style Francesinha. So if you’re curious to know what this iconic recipe from the north of Portugal tastes like, head to Colheita 71.
📍Rua José Fernandes Badajoz 6 1º, 2705-225 Colares
Café Snack-Bar Rijo
Rijo is a no-frills snack-bar in Colares. It’s the kind of establishment which Portuguese people will easily recognize and almost be able to know what to expect from it. When it comes to mid-range tasca style eateries, Portuguese establishments are pretty standardized, and not necessarily in a bad way. At Rijo you can eat well, the food is representative of our most typical styles of cooking, and you never end up paying too much. Sometimes, that’s all it takes to make customers happy.
📍Av. Eugene Levy 66, 2705-304 Colares
Cervejaria Blue Caffé
Even though the word cervejaria is Portuguese for beer hall, keep in mind that, most of the time, it refers to places which focus on seafood. It may seem strange, but as fresh seafood and beer tend to be a common combination, this is just the way it goes in our country. So, unsurprisingly, Cervejaria Blue Caffé specializes in seafood, something you can never get too much of by the beach in Praia das Maçãs.
📍Av. Eugene Levy N°49, 2705-306 Colares
Clube da Praia
More than a restaurant, just like its name anticipates, Clube da Praia is a club where there’s food and drinks, but where they also host live entertainment and events. Every Friday and Saturday night there’s live music and the managers say that “Clube da Praia’s bartenders are simply the best in and around Sintra”. The menu focuses on Portuguese staples such as grilled fish, but also other international favorites like pizza and, on Thursdays, they even have an all-you-can-eat sushi night.
📍Av. Eugene Levy 31, 2705-602 Colares
Flores do Cabo
This is one of the most peculiar establishments you will find around Colares. Flores do Cabo is part art gallery, part plant-based restaurant and cafe. In the team’s own words, this is “a place inspired by the magic and mystery of flowers, by the urge to connect with nature.” The space includes a contemporary art gallery, a studio which focuses on outdoors architecture projects, a store with tribal crafts from different corners of the world, and an organic plant driven cafe which is promoted with the slogan “in plants we trust.”
📍Estr. dos Capuchos 839, 2705-255 Colares
Best bakeries and cafes in Colares
Várias Paixões Caffé
This cafe’s name translates as “several passions’’ and we’re inclined to think that that came about because the establishment is part coffee shops, part pastry shop, and part casual restaurant which serves simple light meals. Várias Paixões Caffé is the kind of place we’d go to for a Portuguese style breakfast or a cup of coffee with a pastry mid afternoon. Their range of pastries includes many of the typical Portuguese cakes you’d normally find at our pastelarias, as well as some signature creations which will make your day sweeter.
📍Rua da Liberdade 114 A, 2705-229 Colares
Moinho Dom Quixote is located very near Cabo da Roca and that automatically makes it a tourist favorite. The fact that it also has impressive views over the roughed cliffs and towards the ocean (from here you can overlook Cascais’ Guincho beach) of course also contributes to giving this cafe and restaurant a special vibe. You can come here for a coffee or drink in their lush outside area, or even enjoy a light bite in their eclectically decorated interior.
📍Av. Dr. Brandão de Vasconcelos 420, 2705-116 Colares
Pão com Chouriço Praia das Maçãs
Pão com Chouriço is an institution in Praia das Maçãs. There are few things that us Portuguese love more than freshly baked buns stuffed with chouriço, especially when this is done old style, that is, in a wooden oven. Just like great pizza is baked with real fire, the same applies to chorizo stuffed bread, which is one of the most beloved typical Portuguese savory snacks. They say swimming in the ocean is bound to make you hungry, but in Praia das Maçãs there is always a fresh out of the oven way to mitigate that hunger!
📍Centro Artesanal, Av. Eugene Levy loja 1, 2705-306 Colares
What is Colares wine and where to taste it
Speaking of Colares’ gastronomic delights makes it compulsory to speak of Colares wine. History can’t tell us exactly when the first vineyards started to be planted in the region, but records do confirm that winemaking around Colares has been happening for at least one thousand years. In fact, when most of Europe’s vineyards were decimated because of phylloxera in the mid 1800s, the vineyards in Colares were some of the very few which actually resisted this plague.
The terroir of Colares is very specific because of the proximity to the ocean in a particularly windy area, between the Atlantic and the forest of Sintra. The soil where the vineyards grow ranges between sandy and rather heavy on limestone. Colares wine has been a controlled denomination of origin label since 1908 (you will often see this in writing as ”D.O.C. Colares”), officially belonging to the região de vinhos de Lisboa, one of Portugal ‘s 14 wine regions.
Colares may be the smallest producing area of table wine in the country, but they are certainly special! The most used grape varietals to make Colares wine include Malvasia de Colares for whites and Ramisco for reds. The wines tend to be dry, pretty salty, with high acidity, and overall quite fresh. If we are to speak the truth, we have to admit that not everyone loves the wines from Colares, but if you are into trying new wine, these are certainly some of the most peculiar wines you can taste in Portugal and they’re very much worth the experience to broaden the preconceived ideas which you may have about Portuguese wine.
To try Colares wine we would encourage you to go directly to the source. You can visit Adega Cooperativa de Colares, which is Portugal’s oldest cooperative dating back to 1931, and perhaps the most famous name when it comes to the wines of this region, but there are other wineries worth stopping by as well and many of them do structured visits to their vineyards and themed wine tastings:
Adega Cooperativa de Colares
📍Alameda Cel. Linhares de Lima 32, 2705-351 Colares
Adega Viúva Gomes
📍Largo Comendador Gomes da Silva, 2 & 3, Almoçageme, 2705-041 Colares
Includes Adega Beira-Mar and Adega Visconde de Salreu Cellars
📍Av. Luís Augusto Colares, 70 – 74 Azenhas do Mar, 2705-106 Colares
Casal Santa Maria
📍Rua Principal nº 18/20, Casas Novas, 2705-177 Colares
Quinta Vale da Roca
📍Rua dos Moinhos 7, 2705-001 Colares
Quinta de San Michel
📍Estrada de Janas – Quinta de San Michel, 2710-265 Sintra
Maare & Corvus – Villa Vergani
📍Avª Dr. Brandão de Vasconcelos, 122 – Almoçageme, 2705-018 Colares
Where to go for a drink around Colares
Musa na Praia
If beer sounds more like your cup of tea versus wine, don’t worry as Colares delivers on that front as well! Musa, one of our favorite craft breweries in Lisbon, has recently opened Musa na Praia, which translates as Musa at the beach. Their new tap room is located inside Aldeia na Praia (“beach village”), which is an accommodation, entertainment and F&B complex in Colares, which includes a hostel, a co-working space, a couple of restaurants, cafes and bars. This is a perfect spot to end the day in a relaxed manner, if hitting a sit-down restaurant is not what you are in the mood for. Cheer to your travels in Colares at Musa na Praia.
📍Avenida do Atlântico S/N Antiga Colónia de Férias da CP, 2705-288 Colares
Colares has its very own craft beer, HopSin, brewed right on the premises. Their range of beers is quite impressive so, if you are not driving and you’re a beer lover, we would definitely recommend going for the flight which includes 10 varieties of the house’s best ales. The taproom has a very nice sitting area and there’s also a rooftop where you can keep fresh drinking HopSin beer and munching on snacks such as the very summer-like braised snails Portuguese folks get crazy about during the warmer months.
📍Av. do Atlântico 1, 2705-231 Colares
Otto Gastro Bar
Sometimes also known as Casa das Bifanas, Otto Gastro Bar is a great spot to enjoy a drink in Colares, but you can also grab a bite if you get hungry. Their menu includes Portuguese and Italian dishes, with some vegetarian and even gluten free options available. The atmosphere is very relaxed and, during lower season, this is the kind of place which makes us reminisce about the summer feel of Colares and its surrounding beaches.
📍Estr. Nova da Rainha 1, 2705-200 Colares
What is a beach without a proper beach bar? The truth is that the beaches around Colares have more restaurants than bars but Varanda, even though it does serve some food too, would fit more in the bar category. Ask for a drink, lounge around as the waves roll in and out the sands of Praia Grande and let time pass.
📍Rua da Lagoa de Baixo 43, 2705-334 Colares
Do you feel like including Colares on your travel plans now? We sure hope so! If there are other less explored places near Lisbon you’d like us to cover in future articles, let us know via Instagram. Please tag us: @tasteoflisboa #tasteoflisboa
Feed your curiosity on Portuguese food culture:
Real people, real food. Come with us to where the locals go.
Signup for our natively curated food & cultural experiences.