Cascais Portugal Guide
Cascais is a charming Portuguese fishing town that is situated on the western edge of the Lisbon coastline. Cascais offers a fascinating historic centre; with grand 19th century residences and immaculate parks that open out onto the traditional fishing harbour. The town makes for an enjoyable day trip from Lisbon but is equally suited as a destination for an extended holiday. Surrounding Cascais are two contrasting coastlines; the wild and rugged surfing beaches of the north and the family friendly beaches towards Lisbon. Cascais has so much to offer visitors, so let us as Cascais-Portugal.com show to you this captivating town of Portugal.
Getting Started with Cascais Portugal
The Town of Kings and Fishes
Unlike many other Mediterranean beach resorts, which suddenly sprung up with the advent of mass tourism, Cascais has been established as a holiday destination since the early 19th century. Historically Cascais was a minor fishing port but this was transformed when King Fernando II (1816-1885) proclaimed Cascais as his preferred location for his summer retreat. This act gave rise to Cascais’ popular nickname of "The Town of Kings and Fishes".
With the decampment of the Portuguese nobility from Lisbon to Cascais, the high society of Portugal and Europe flocked to follow. They constructed grand residences, lavish entertainment venues and fine parks. This trend of high society has continued through to the present day with many of Lisbon’s rich and famous living close to Cascais. This provides the region with a prosperous and sophisticated atmosphere.
Cascais as a day trip from Lisbon or Sintra
Cascais is less than 20 minutes away from central Lisbon and is a popular excursion. Cascais has numerous museums and stately homes, all of which can easily fill a day of sightseeing. Close to the fishing port is the Cidadela of Cascais and the trendy new marina, while further inland is the decorative Castro Guimaraes museum and the pretty municipal park. All museums in Cascais are free to enter and include the informative Museo do Mar, the bright pink Centro Cultural de Cascais and the Casa Das Historias.
The 19th century architecture overlooking the Praia da Ribeira
Bikes can be hired for free (bring ID) and there is a pleasant coastal cycle path that passes the Hell's Mouth cliff formation cliff formation and extends to the great surfing beach of Praia do Guincho. Further along the coast is the most westerly point of mainland Europe, the Cabo da Roca, a region of wind blasted cliffs and ferocious seas, great for lovers of nature's raw power.
The the massive cliffs of the Cabo da Roca
For an enjoyable walk there is a coastal promenade that connects Cascais with the stylish resort of Estoril 2 km away and the route passes numerous small beaches and funky bars and restaurants. There is a varied selection of things to see and do in a day trip to Cascais and the town is rightly a popular day trip from Lisbon.
Cascais Portugal as a holiday destination
Cascais is ideally situated as a holiday destination; it is only a short train ride to vibrant Lisbon or bus ride to charming charming Sintra and the Serra de Sintra National Park. The beaches of Cascais are simply fantastic; Guincho beach is a tremendous surfing beach, while the Praia de Carcavelos is a massive beach easily accessibly by train. For a suggested itinerary for a 1 week holiday to Cascais please click here.
The decorative Castro Guimaraes museum
Cascais offers exceptional value for money and a range of hotels that are able to cater for all visitor types. At the centre of Cascais is the old town that has retained its traditional appeal and is an enjoyable place to relax during the day. As the sun sets the fine restaurants serve up freshly caught fish or other local specialities. The trendy bars are lively and continue late into the night - Cascais is a resort firmly aimed at couples (of all ages) and young families and not for groups looking for cheap drink.