Cascais, on the Portuguese coast just west of the country’s capital, is a one time fishing village turned hugely popular tourist destination. It has a charming historic centre as well as a bustling harbour and beach making it a great all round holiday location that has something to please every personality.
There are several stunning beaches to choose from in and around Cascais. There’s the hidden gem of Praia da Azarujinha, the surfer’s paradise of Praia da Bafureira or the diver’s dream of Praia da Duquesa - so take your pick. Cascais also has a lively nightlife that’s sure to satisfy any party animal, the marina and downtown area are the places to go for clubs and discos and there’s even a casino called Estoril which is a great alternative and offers top class evening entertainment including shows and concerts.
If you like sport then you’ll love Cascais. Ideally located close to 10 excellent golf courses this resort is fast becoming a major golf enthusiast’s destination. However if golf’s not your thing then don’t dismay, there are loads of water sport activities to turn your hand to, including surfing, sailing and windsurfing to name but a few.
Once a quiet, vaguely unknown fishing village, Cascais found a name for itself after European royals favoured it as their holiday destination of choice in the late 19th to 20th century. Following its rise in popularity it is not surprising that Cascais or ‘The Town of Kings and Fishes’ has since become a top holiday choice in Portugal.
Just a short drive from Lisbon, Cascais offers a taste of sophistication. The cobbled streets of the old town are lined with designer shops and high end restaurants, and its shimmering marina is situated on the warm and inviting coastline. As a prime seaside resort, visitors are still very much immersed in its maritime history in the handfuls of seafood restaurants on offer, and in the local museums all eager to tell the story of Cascais’ evolution through the centuries.
This destination is an ideal choice for a whole range of holiday-makers, whether they are sport enthusiasts, sun chasers, or history geeks, Cascais invites all personalities to sample the many activities and attractions it has to offer.
For an activity packed itinerary, Praia Do Guincho is renowned for its rolling waves, ideal for water sports such as windsurfing and kitesurfing all year round whilst offering stunning views of the dramatic clifftops lining the shores. Cascais is also fast becoming a popular golfing holiday destination, boasting a growing selection of golf resorts and parks it is the perfect place to get in some practice.
For a more restful break, Praia de Carcavelos is a favoured beach for families with huge stretches of powdery sand and crystal water, Carcavelos is an attractive choice for those looking to catch some rays and paddle in the warm sea.
- Currency: Euro (EUR)
Language: Portuguese, English widely spoken and English signage.
Approximate flight time from the UK: 2 hours 30 minutes
Time zone: No time difference from UK
Active explorers: Lined with waves begging to be surfed, golf resorts galore, and a nearby national park, those seeking an adventure-packed holiday will not be disappointed with the activities Cascais has to offer.
Shoppers: Dotted with fashionable shops, bars and restaurants, the main town and marina are the perfect spots for those looking to splash their holiday cash. Visitors can even try their luck at the local casino in Estoril.
Photographers: With its gorgeous clifftops, romantic sunsets and luscious parks, Cascais invites snap-happy tourists to create an impressive holiday album from the wide variety of attractions available to see.
Cascais Surf School and Camp
With some of best waves around the world and located in one of the most popular surfing destinations, Cascais Surf School is quite possibly one of the best places to learn how to ride the waves. With the option of group or private lessons and even its own accommodation, there is plenty of choice for visitors whether they first time learners or experienced water lovers. The lessons are within a reasonable price range and transport to and from the school can be arranged.
Address: Rua Conde Ferreira 117, 2750-346, Cascais
Opening hours: N/A
Cost: 1 group lesson – from 15 Euros, 1 private lesson – from 45 Euros
Parque Marechal Carmona
This park is a highlight in the town of Cascais and offers a relaxing and tranquil view of some of Portugal’s natural wonders. The park itself is home to Condes de Castro Guimarães gardens and museum, offering visitors a chance to breathe in the luscious greenery and herbaceous gardens, whilst learning about Cascais’ vibrant history through the colourful art and architecture on display. The park also includes a chapel, small zoo, and various wild birds can be found roaming free. This is an ideal opportunity for keen photographers.
Address: Parque Marechal Carmona – 2750 Cascais
Museum opening hours: 8.30am- 7.45pm (Summer), 8.30am – 5.45pm (Winter)
For a taste of the high life, the marina is home to hundreds of yachts and boats owned by the rich and famous. The indoor complex offers top quality dining and drinking establishments, which do of course come with a price tag. The marina itself makes for a pleasant stroll around a prominent feature of Cascais’ coastline, and gives a taste of the clientele that this destination has grown to attract since the days of its royal appreciation.
Address: Casa de S. Bernardo 2750-800 Cascais
Opening hours: 9am – 6pm in winter, 9am – 8pm in summer
Boca do Inferno
Only a short walk from the main town, Boca do Inferno or ‘Hell’s Mouth’ is a spectacle not to be missed. Standing as a small cave and bay area, this popular tourist site was formed from years of erosion from the often choppy ocean waves against the cliff face. Boca do Inferno is a great photo opportunity, especially for those brave enough to scale the cliff to get a closer look. There are also market stalls nearby selling affordable souvenirs and gifts.
Address: Cascais, Portugal
Museo do Mar (Museum of the Sea)
This small museum is the perfect way for visitors to surround themselves in Cascais’ marine and fishing history and is a great place for families to visit for a quick stop-off in between the day’s activities. The museum includes displays and facts about marine life past and present, the history of the fishermen who trawl the coast and models of fishing boats and ships through the years. Informative videos are also shown at intervals throughout the day.
Address: R. Júlio Pereira de Mello, 2750 Cascais
Opening hours: 10am – 5pm, Tuesday – Friday, 10am-1pm and 2pm-5pm, Saturday and Sunday
Have you been to Cascais recently? What are the must-do experiences that you'd suggest? Do you have tips on how to stretch that holiday budget a bit further or know of a hidden-gem that’s easy to miss?
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