Dinosaur Footprints of Parede Beach

It’s a sunny day at the beach in Parede, on the Lisbon coast. Families have set up beach chairs and towels on the sand. Children are playing in the small puddles in the beach rocks. Some splash at the water in a series of nearly circular bowls, 50cm across. Few of them, if any, realize that what they are playing in are the traces of a dinosaur which came walking through shallow water 100 million years ago, leaving footprints in the mud that have become preserved even to the present day.

These prints were really only identified by paleontologist Dr Vanda Faria dos Santos in 2011. She has recommended that these tracks be designated as a Natural Monument, allowing for protection, but so far nothing has happened.

Dr Santos explains that the tracks clearly show a trail, the tracks in a row showing left and right feet. She says that it’s not certain what species produced the tracks, but they are definitely sauropods. The prints date back 100 million years, to the late Albian stage of the Cretaceous Period.

The tracks are not always visible. As one might expect, at high tide they are covered by the sea. However, even at low tide they might not be visible. The sand shifts based on tides and ocean currents and at some times the tracks are completely covered by sand.


Parede is a town along the Lisbon coast, between Lisbon and Cascais.


Parede Beach is easy to get to, with ample parking. The walkway just above the beach passes right by the footprints, which are right in front of Bar Xana. There is a ramp that reaches the beach very near the footprints, and a staircase a little further on.


There are no signs indicating that the footprints are there. You’ll just have to look!


  • Article (in Portuguese) from National Geographic Portugal
  • Scientific report (in Portuguese) by Dra. Vanda Faria dos Santos from National Museum of Natural History and Science
  • A video report (in Portuguese) by Canal Cascais
  • A news report (in Portuguese) from the time of the footprints’ discovery

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