Praia Grande is a beach in the municipality of Sintra, in Portugal. It is part of the Sintra-Cascais Natural Park.
It offers a relatively extensive beach – hence its name. With a strong ideal swell, the beach is famous for its excellent conditions for surfing and bodyboarding. At this beach, every year, several water sports competitions are attended, including the bodyboard world championship. It has an ocean pool in the far north (admission fee), while to the south there are traces of dinosaur footprints on the cliff. Good water quality.
Praia Grande is also a summer resort for many inhabitants of the Lisbon region and is very popular among the Portuguese capital’s jet set. The EN375 road, which gives access to the beach, has been served by a stop on the Sintra tram since 1980 and in the period 1904-1958.
The far left of the beach, next to the cliffs, is one of the most popular areas for fishermen, famous for the quality and quantity of fish.
Praia Grande, located in the municipality of Sintra, in the parish of Colares, is a place with a rich geological heritage that deserves to be divulged. In the geological formations of the cliffs of this beach are printed dinosaur footprints grouped in trails. These marks on the rock allow you to know the aspects of the anatomy, locomotion, and behavior of these animals. On the other hand, the composition of the rocks and the geometric aspect of the layers where the footprints are printed, allow you to get an idea of what the environment and the landscape were like at the time when dinosaurs roamed these places.
The place attracts tourists and curious people who want to observe the dinosaur footprints from the Cretaceous period, namely sauropods, theropods, and ornithopods, which are marked on the rocks at the bottom of the beach. These footprints, around 110 to 115 million years old, are located on almost vertical benches at the top south of Praia Grande and become particularly evident when illuminated with a shallow light. There are a total of 66 footprints, of which 51 are spread over 11 tracks, the rest appearing to be isolated. The tracks appear to have been made by bipedal animals.
Thanks to the marvels of tectonics and geology, causing the former sea bed to be driven up vertically into cliffs, actual dinosaur prints can be seen just a short walk from the beach.