CascaisLisbon Region of Portugal at the end of the mouth of the River Tagus as it meets the ocean, with spectacular beaches to be found on its Atlantic shorelines. The combination of maritime leisurely charm, strategic position and location close to Lisbon made it a favourite residence of the Portuguese royal family and several other nobles and one of Portugal's first holiday resorts.
Dominated by the bay and the imposing Cidadela fort, the historic centre is brimming with architectural treasures of a religious, military and civil nature. Likewise, the museums of the Sea, Casa das Histórias de Paula Rego, and the Municipal Museum Condes de Castro Guimarães are also must-see attractions.
A car ride between Lisbon International Airport and Cascais can range between 30 minutes and 1 hr 15 min (during rush hours).
Cascais once a fishermen's harbour is a nice and sophisticated town, also a great gateway to explore the beautiful gold sand beach of Guincho.
The town is small enough to explore entirely by foot. To get a feeling for the life it's best to stroll around on foot. Uphill, beyond the town centre there are numerous narrow cobbled streets to explore with interesting architecture, plants and animals to see.
Riding a bicycle in Cascais is one of the "must do" things. Keen cyclists with their own bikes and like hills can venture towards Cabo da Roca, the westernmost point of continental Europe's mainland and even to Sintra using the nice roads while crossing the heart of this incredible nature reserve so close to the capital city of Lisbon. However, these are not trips to be taken with bikes rented in Cascais. For those with more limited cycling abilities and stamina, a popular trip is to follow the coastline through the town of Cascais as far as Guincho beach, about 10 km. There is a cycle track (shared with pedestrians!) that begins after you have passed the marina. In the summer, the northwesterly winds can make the last 3 km of this trip a bit tough but, in compensation, you will have a tail wind all the way back to Cascais.
Basic bicycles are available to rent for free (providing you have ID and your accommodation address) through the municipal council's BiCas scheme. Bicycles are available from several locations around the town. The tourist office will have further information. This bikes are heavily (mis)used by locals, students, and budget minded visitors and often are not available when needed, when available most times not always in the best safety and enjoyable conditions thus the common breakdowns. Colourful bikes can be rented in the forecourt of Cascais station and the Europcar car rental company also has some. Companies operating from Lisbon include Bike Iberia (+351 96 242 3455) in Lisbon Downtown off the train station of Cais do Sodre.
By busA looped bus line, BusCas, serves the town and the nearby surrounding area. For travelling further afield there is an extensive bus service, mainly operating from the bus station beneath the shopping centre opposite the train station. Taxis are always available and easy enough to find in the centre of town.
Boca do Infernoaddress: Av. Rei Humberto II ItaliaJust outside the town is the famous Boca do Inferno in which the sea on rougher days hammers into the rock and creates a booming noise and a spectacular spray thus creating its name which in English means "mouth of hell". The English occultist Aleister Crowley faked his death there in 1930.
address: Av. Rei Humberto II de Itália Parque Marechal Camona 2750-319 CascaisOne of the most outstanding palaces is the Palácio de Conde de Castro Guimarães that is open to the public and exhibits its own grand private collection that includes over 25,000 books and such rarities as an illustrated book by Duarte Galvão (1455-1517).
address: R. Júlio Pereira de Mello 2750 CascaisOn a much more modest scale is the Museu do Mar that depicts the story of Cascais and its fishing history.
Parque PalmelaThe Parque Palmela is an attractive park created by the Duques de Palmela and now maintained by the Town Hall and in which open-air concerts are often held.
Guincho beachWithin easy reach of Cascais is the famous beach at Guincho with its high waves that attract windsurfers from all around the world as having some of the best rollers in Europe.
Casa das Histórias Paula RegoModern red-coloured museum devoted entirely to the works of Portuguese-born artist Paula Rego and her husband. The museum's large collection is rotated every few months following different themes.
address: Praça 5 de Outubro 1An attractive building with an excellent, small museum on the ground floor that provides a good introduction to the town.
Lighthouse museumA museum dedicated to the lighthouses of the Cascais coast, situated on the site of an old fort next to a working lighthouse. You can get up close to some of the lights used.
Also, most of the pre-historic finds from the Grutas de Alapraia are stored here.
Underground caves were discovered in the late 19th century.
The Grutus do Poço Velho are in the centre of the town and date back to the Neolithic period.
Cascais boasts a smart new Marina with lovely yachts adding a further attraction to the town.
The next town to the east of Cascais is the resort town of Estoril with its popular Casino. You can walk to Estoril from Cascais along the beachfront esplanade, passing many beachside bars and restaurants.
Beginning on Avenida Rei Humberto II de Italia, just outside town past the marina, is a cycle lane and footpath extending the whole 5 km to Guincho beaches. This route runs beside the sea and is ideal for morning and evening strolls. The almost perennial North Atlantic sea breeze lends a refreshing air, especially during the hot summer months. Along the way you will find Boca Do Inferno, the famed "Mouth of Hell", where there is also a snack cafe, seafood restaurant and vendors of touristy gifts.
Water sportsThe marina area is very active. Sailing enthusiasts will find sailing schools open at the weekend, while regular competitions and leisure vessels can always be seen around Cascais Bay. On some of the beaches it’s very easy to hire boats and go water-skiing.
Like on the south coast, the big waves and strong winds on the west coast provide perfect conditions for surfing, windsurfing and body boarding. The world championships of these sports are regularly contested at the beaches of Guincho, Grande and Ribeira d’Ilhas north of Ericeira.
GolfGolfers will find a lot of courses concentrated in a very small area, the majority of which are designed by the world’s best architects. This means that you can choose from a wide variety of courses that cater for players of any age or ability, right up to the highest international standards. The mild and pleasant climate offers perfect golfing conditions right through the year.
There are many golf courses in the area:
phone: +351 219 62 66 40address: Alameda do Aqueduto, Belas Clube de Campo, 2605-193 Belas18 holes of 6,380 metres in length, par 72.
phone: +351 214 68 01 76address: Av. da República, 2765 Estoril18 holes of 5,262 metres in length, par 69.
phone: +351 214 31 00 77address: Casal da Carregueira, Belas, 2745 Queluz18 holes of 5,278 metres in length, par 69. Facilities: trolleys, clubs and caddies for hire, golf academy, clubhouse, restaurant, bar, sauna, children’s games room, babysitting service available.
phone: +351 219 24 90 11address: Estrada da Lagoa Azul, Linhó, 2714-511 SintraAtlantic course - 18 holes of 6,290 metres in length, par 72. Monastery course – 9 holes of 2,588 metres in length, par 35.
phone: +351 214 86 01 80address: Hotel Quinta da Marinha, Casa 36, Quinta da Marinha, 2750-715 Cascaisholes of 5,845 metres in length, par 71. Facilities: 3 restaurants – Five Pines (hotel), Cosi Fan Tutti (clubhouse) and Monte Mar (on the Estrada do Guincho), bars with outdoor terraces, 6 tennis courts, 3 outdoor swimming pools, jogging circuit, fitness centre, bicycles for hire, children’s club.
phone: +351 214 86 06 00address: Quinta da Marinha, Casa da Quinta nº. 25, 2750 Cascais18 holes of 5,845 metres in length, par 71.
phone: +351 219 24 90 11address: Estrada da Lagoa Azul, Linhó, 2714-511 Sintra9 holes of 2,588 metres in length, par 35. Facilities: putting green, chipping area with 2 bunkers, driving range with 2 grass bays. Buggies, trolleys (manual and electric), clubs and golf shoes for hire.
Motor racingEstoril’s famous motor-racing circuit hosts many important car and bike competitions, such as the Motorcycle GP Championships. It can also be arranged for individuals to experience the thrill of motor racing first-hand.
- Racing Track, Fernanda Pires da Silva, +351 214 609 500.
Horse-ridingThe variety of forest paths and excellent facilities throughout the region are a major attraction for those who enjoy horse riding. Here you’ll find a good selection of riding schools where you can hire horses and learn to ride.
Every year a five-star equestrian event is taking place In Portugal called Global Champions Tour. It is a social gathering for all horse shows’ amateurs and professional riders at the Manuel Possolo hippodrome in Cascais. If the thrill of show jumping excites you, check what’s on at Quinta da Marinha or the Cascais Equestrian Centre.
- Estoril Coast Riding Centre, Charneca, Cascais, +351 214 87 20 64
- Quinta da Marinha Riding Centre, Cascais, +351 214 86 94 33
- D. Carlos I Country Club, Quinta da Marinha, Cascais, +351 214 87 14 03
- Manuel Possolo Equestrian Centre, Cascais, +351 214 82 27 50
For the best food in town skip the Indian, Italian and English restaurants and head into the residential part of town, or walk down the coast to an establishment with fresh fish and a sea view.
Bacalhau occupies top spot in terms of culinary richness. You can choose from a 100 different recipes! And if you’d like to try a typical meat dish of the region, try Leitão de Negrais or Mercês-style pork.
Find yourself a restaurant that takes its deserts seriously, and finish your meal with one of the local sweet specialties: Travesseiros, the famous Queijadas de Sintra, Fofos de Belas, Areias de Cascais or Trouxas de Malveira. Portuguese egg-based confectionary is unique and delicious, and a fine companion for some after dinner port.
Vino Verde, "green wine", is a refreshing, slightly sparkling accompaniment to Portuguese meals, and shouldn't be missed. Portuguese red wines are on a par with those in France, Italy and Spain. The main demarcated regions are found in the Douro, Dão and Alentejo, but the Estoril Coast produces very small quantities of its own fine wines in Carcavelos and Colares, a rare pleasure that you might have the opportunity to try.
- Vinho de Carcavelos, Estação Agronómica Nacional, +351 214 40 35 00
- Adega Regional de Colares, Open 09:00-13:00 and 14:00-16:00 every day. A tasting of these fine wines can be organised in advance for a minimum of 10 peoplel. +351 219 28 73 33, Alameda Coronel Linhares de Lima 24, 2705-135 Colares.
- Panorama, Estr. do Guincho 2750-642. Tel: +351 21487 9458
Restaurante O Pescadorphone: +351 21 483 20 54Rua das flores nº 10 B. Fresh seafood fills the menu at this folksy restaurant, a favorite since 1964, where a cluttered ceiling and maritime-related artifacts distract the eye. Sole is a specialty, and this is also a good place to try bacalhau (dried salt cod); it's often baked here, either with cream or with port wine and onions.
Pop SandwichA tiny sandwich bar offering fresh-made baguettes, sandwiches and mini-pizzas along with the usual assortment of coffee and cold drinks. Found on the main shopping street, its bright green interior makes it easy to find. Run by an old Portuguese couple the food is fresh, delicious and unbelievably cheap. Great for a quick meal before heading down to the beach. A large sandwich and coffee should cost around €2.
Pizza Itáliaphone: +351 214830151address: Rua Poço Novo 1A very nice Italian restaurant. If the weather permits, enjoy the terrace, with a view over the Cascais Bay.
address: Rua da Palmeira, 6AAn Italian and Japanese restaurant (with two separate kitchens). Choose among a selection of pizzas or pastas, or try the sushi buffet (€14) with a nice champagne and cucumber sangria.
Os MorgadosA typical Portuguese restaurant which offers great fish dishes, such as grilled seabream and seabass and tasty pasta or rice with prawns and seafood.
Monte Bistrophone: +351 21 466-0106A restaurant and take-away. Excellent value for money, a good portion of creativity while staying within traditional cuisine. Probably the best option when you lodge in Estoril and don't have time to walk to Cascais for dinner.
phone: +351 21 4572102address: Pr. do Junqueiro nº 16, Carcavelos- Cascais Portugal
phone: +351 21 482 5900address: Avenida Manuel Júlio Carvalho e Costa, 115 Guia
phone: +351 214 680 202address: Rua Belmonte 1Renovated in 2008 and pretends to be very up-to-date, but not very successful in hiding how 1980s it really is (especially in breakfast, which is average at best). Receptionists are very helpful, including restaurant recommendations. Private pool with most balconies facing it. Some rooms are without seaview or even a balcony. Breakfast 07:30-10:30. 15-min pleasant walk to Cascais along the coast (which is comfortable with a stroller).
phone: +351 21 464 83 00address: Av. Fausto Figueiredo 279, 2765-412 Estoril, PortugalModern hotel 450 m (1/4 mile) from the beach and seaside promenade along Estoril/Cascais. Friendly service, garden, swimming pool, restaurant, bar, rooms for smokers and non-smokers. Good for holidays and short breaks. Lisbon is only a 35-minute train ride away.
phone: +351 214 648 400address: Av. Marginal, Apartado 49, 2766-901 EstorilLocated along Linha do Estoril, two minutes away from the sea (Tamariz’s Beach) and 200 m away from the Casino Estoril. Facilities for corporate meetings and holidays. Online booking.
phone: +351 214 826 000address: Rua Frei Nicolau de Oliveira 80, Parque da Gandarinha, 2750-641 CascaisNear the renowned Cascais Marina. Online booking.
phone: +351 214 847 380address: Rua Frederico Arouca 100, 2750-353 Cascais -Hotel Albatroz Cascais is around 30 km from Lisbon. A set of 5 charismatic historical buildings turned into a luxury hotel with a unique location above the sea, also enjoying a wide view over the sea. At the hotel: swimming pool, restaurant, bar, terrace, free private parking, room service, and all services from a 5-star hotel.
phone: +351 214825900address: Avenida Manuel Júlio Carvalho e Costa 115
phone: +351 214648000address: Rua ParticularA luxury five-star hotel enjoying beautifully landscaped gardens and magnificent sea views, and splendid classical buildings from the 1930s. It was fully renovated in 2006.
- To the north and within easy reach is the romantic and fascinating town of Sintra and which was made famous to foreigners after a glowing account of its splendours recorded by Lord Byron. Scotturb Bus 403 travels regularly to Sintra, stopping at Cabo da Roca.
- Also to the north visit the great Sanctuary of Our Lady of Fatima (Shrine), a place of worldwide famous Marian apparitions.
- Mafra or Queluz, Costa de Caparica, Palmela, Sesimbra, Tróia.