Why Visit Cascais?
Cascais is affectionately referred to as the "Town of Kings and Fishes" due to the historic royal connection and the large fishing fleet that was once the main industry before the advent of tourism. Today, the beach resort could be best described as the Hollywood of Portugal, home to Portugal’s rich and famous, with expensive houses lining the suburbs and multi-million pound yachts moored in the marina.
Cascais is surround by varied and high quality beaches with the coastline stretching both to the north and eastwards to Lisbon. The beaches to the north are rugged and wild dominated by the powerful Atlantic which makes them perfect for surfing. The beaches to the east are calmer and more family orientated with calm seas and excellent amenities.
The main beach of Cascais
Cascais has always been a fishing town and today the small fishing fleet’s catch is served in the towns restaurants. The town transformed from a small back water town during the 19th century when the Portuguese royal family discovered Cascais. The resort was their favourite destination to escape from Lisbon and in this era Cascais become the most exclusive town in Portugal as the upper classes follow the kings lead.
After the deposition of the royal family in 1908 the status of Cascais wavered but once democracy was restored Cascais flourished. In the last decade there has been a building frenzy and the old stately homes that stood empty on the western side of the beach resort have been converted back into exclusive accommodation. For the Portuguese Cascais provides the fascination of spotting a television celebrity or other glossy magazine star, of which there are many in town.
Cascais makes for a great day trip from Lisbon and the reverse is equally true, Lisbon can be easily explored using Cascais as a base. Both town and capital are connected by a reliable train service that runs late into the night making both destinations easy to explore from the other. Cascais contains a wide selection of middle to top end hotels and resorts but for visitors on a budget consider staying within Lisbon.
During the summer the resorts fill quickly with package tourists so accommodation should be booked well in advance but in the early or late seasons bargains can be found. There is a range of very good eating establishments in the heart of Cascais while the cheaper options are contained within the shopping centre to the north of the train station.