Cascais – from fishing village to seaside resort

About 19 miles west of Lisbon you’ll find the town of Cascais. In the past, Cascais was a small fishing town, traces of which can still be seen in the narrow streets at the old harbor

These days Cascais is a proper city, especially because of the buildings around the old centre. You will find a lot of tourists here in both summer and winter. And for the well-to-do Lisboeta, life is also good here.

History of Cascais

Towards the end of the 19th century, the royal family travelled to Cascais to enjoy the sun and the beach, giving the former fishing village a more cosmopolitan character. The rich Lisboetas followed soon and the town transformed into a fashionable seaside resort. During the Second World War, the royal families from, among others, Spain and Italy also came here.

Regenboog boven de oude haven van Cascais

This mundane character can still be seen in the streets today: large houses, stately hotels, expensive cars and well-dressed, mainly older tourists from both Portugal and abroad, find each other here.

Cascais lies at the crossroads of the Atlantic Ocean in the west and the mouth of the Tagus River in the south. It is therefore not surprising that the marina is full of luxury yachts. From here you can go sailing in all directions.

Beaches in Cascais

Strand Praia da Ribeira de Cascais
You can find a number of great beaches in the area of Cascais. In the old town itself you can choose from the very cozy and romantic Praia da Rainha, overlooking the marina. There’s also Praia da Ribeira at the old fishing port, and Praia da Conceição and Praia da Duquesa. These last two are a stone’s throw away from the Cascais railway station, perfect if you came from Lisbon by train.

Praia da Rainha, Cascais

About 6 miles to the north of Cascais is Praia do Guincho, the beach that is mainly known among surfers because of the strong winds that are almost always present. Further north (15 miles) is the most beautiful beach in the area, Praia da Adraga. This rugged beach with its rough cliffs and big waves is characteristic of the Portuguese Atlantic coast.

Places of interest nearby
Besides beaches you can also visit Boca do Inferno (“mouth of the devil”) in Cascais. This gap in the rocks causes the waves to hit the land in a spectacle of foam and a lot of noise.

Boca do Inferno hoog water
The west coast near Cascais is great to discover by bike (yes, really!). It is pretty flat here and the cycling route along the western coast is breathtaking! Fortunately, there is a very accessible cycle path along the main road. Do keep in mind that, especially with a strong wind, there may be some dune sand on the path.

Cascais is adjacent to the town of Estoril, which is probably best known for its casino. Parts of the James Bond film “On her Majesty’s secret service” were filmed there. Another famous spot in Estoril is the race circuit where car and motorcycle races are held all year round.

Marina of Cascais & more

Cascais yacht club
The Marina de Cascais is situated near Boca do Inferno. It is a reasonably large marina with lots of luxury yachts.If you walk on a little further, you will pass Parque Marechal Carmona. Take the time to enjoy in this park. It has various playgrounds, a meadow with beach chairs and especially nice paths to discover the park.
Parque Marechal Carmona - vijver en quiosk
Right next to the park you’ll find the Museu Condes de Castro Guimarães, with a small beach that is absolutely worth a walk down.

Museum Cascais

The 22 yards tall lighthouse of Cascais is part of the Fort Santa Marta. I advise you to go there and take the opportunity to shoot some memorable pictures, the scenery is just lovely. On hot days, you can take a dip in the bay next to the lighthouse.

Cascais vuurtoren

Food and drink

Jardim dos Frangos
In Cascais you can find the best chicken Piri-Piri in the area! Don’t miss this treat and head for Jardim dos Frangos onAlameda Combatentes da Grande Guerra 68.

O Viriato
For lunch and dinner we recommend O Viriato Av. Vasco da Gama 34,

Restaurante Apeadeiro
Restaurante Apeadeiro is the restaurant next to O Viriato. For a very reasonable price you get really good and decent portions Av. Vasco da Gama 252.

Restaurants bij Largo Luís de Camões in Cascais

Fancy an ice cream? Of course you do! Well, you’re in luck: Cascais has a branch of Gelados Santini! As we said before, you will find the best ice cream in the area here Av. Valbom 28F.

How to get to Cascais

The fastest way to get to Cascais from Lisbon is by car. There are two common routes: the fast route via the A5 motorway, and the tourist route on the N6, the scenic drive along the coastline of the Tagus.

The train is another very comfortable option. Take the train from Cais de Sodré in Lisbon. A ticket is € 5 (£4,50) per person. You’ll need the Viva Viagem card to load your journey on. If you have a Lisboa Card, you can travel to Cascais for free. You can find the train schedule from Lisbon to Cascais here.

Our tip: for the best views, make sure you sit down on the left hand side of the train when you depart from Lisbon.

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