That isn’t a corny hyperbole: Praia do Paraiso, which means heaven, is what Porto da Baleeira is known as, being the last wild beach before Cabo Espichel. It is one of the many incredible spots for snorkelling and having a go at scuba diving in Serra da Arrábida. The half-day adventure will cost you 30€ per person and requires a minimum of four people, with everything included, from diving gear to insurance, boat trip and guide.
There are other fantastic places for real diving, some of them at the edge of Parque Natural da Arrábida’s integral reserve (a sanctuary for virtually every species but our own, as humans aren’t allowed there). From four metres deep, the seabed is a mixture of rock and sand, making it a perfect spot for less experienced divers and for underwater photography. You can also snorkel there and even deep-dive to 18 metres. If you have never scuba-dived before, a beginner open water diving course costs 395€, with gear included, and it is three to four days long. To get a taste for it, try the half-day scuba diving baptism for 75€.
Various operators in Sesimbra. Reference prices are from Vertente Natural, loja 6, Porto de Abrigo. 21 084 8919.