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The best independent guide to Cascais

Cascais-Portugal.com

The best independent guide to Cascais

One week in Cascais, a suggested itinerary & tour for 2024

Cascais is one of Portugal’s finest holiday destinations, making it a fantastic location for your week-long holiday.

This delightful town combines the best aspects of a vibrant beach holiday with the excitement, sights and activities of a major city - Lisbon.

Sitting on a stunning coastal stretch of sandy beaches, Cascais also boasts a delightful historic centre with grand 19th-century buildings, as well as pretty parks and a wide range of restaurants, bars and shops.

In addition, the surrounding region is packed with fascinating towns to visit, glorious beaches to relax on and the stunning natural scenery of the Serra de Sintra to enjoy.

All of this makes Cascais the ideal holiday destination if you want to include sightseeing, activities and soak up some culture as part of your beach holiday. This guide provides a suggested itinerary for a week’s holiday to Cascais, and outlines why you must visit.

A suggested itinerary for a 1 week holiday to Cascais

Day 1 – Explore the historic centre of Cascais along with the Boca do Inferno cliffs and the beachfront promenade to Estoril.
Day 2 – A relaxing beach day on the Praia da Duquesa or the Praia de Carcavelos.
Day 3 – Enjoy a day trip to Lisbon and explore the Alfama and Baixa districts, including Lisbon castle, the Se cathedral, and a chance to marvel at the grand plazas of Baixa.
Day 4 – Take a day trip to Sintra to visit the wonderous Palácio da Pena and ancient Castelo dos Mouros.
Day 5 – Discover the Serra da Sintra, which includes the Praia do Guincho, Cabo da Roca cliffs and the Praia da Ursa. With a car, you could also include the pretty towns of Praia das Maçãs and Azenhas do Mar.
Day 6 – Visit the Belém district of Lisbon.
Day 7 – A second day in Sintra, visiting Quinta da Regaleira, Palácio de Monserrate, and the Palácio Nacional de Sintra or Palácio Biester.

Highlights of a week's holiday to Cascais

A visit to the colourful Palácio da Pena, one of Europe’s most beautiful palaces.

Palácio da Pena cascais

Watch the sunset over the Atlantic Ocean from the Cabo da Roca cliffs, the most westerly point of mainland Europe.

Cabo da Roca cascais

Relax on the beautiful sandy beaches of Cascais such as the Praia da Duquesa, with its calm seawater that is ideal for families.

Praia da Duquesa beach cascais

Take a day trip to Lisbon and explore its many sights, which include the delightful Torre de Belem.

Torre de Belem Lisbon

Socialise with new friends in one of the many bars and restaurants in Cascais.

bars and restaurants in the Cascais

The interactive map below shows the location of the main sights of our suggested 1-week holiday to Cascais. (Note: Zoom in or out to see all of the points).

Day one 1) Cascais town centre 2) Museu Condes de Castro 3) Boca do Inferno 4) Estoril Casino - Day two 5) Praia da Duquesa Beach 6) Praia de Carcavelos Beach - Day three 7) Alfama district 8) Lisbon castle 9) Baixa district - Day four 10) Palácio da Pena 11) Castelo dos Mouros - Day five 12) Praia do Guincho 13) Cabo da Roca cliffs 14) Praia da Ursa - Day six 15) Belém district 16) Torre de Belem - Day seven 17) Quinta da Regaleira 18) Palácio de Monserrate

The remainder of the article will look at this suggested itinerary in more detail.

Day 1 – Discover Cascais and Estoril

Cascais is a characterful and interesting location to explore, as it blends the atmosphere of a traditional fishing town with examples of 19th-century grandeur from when it served as the summer retreat of Portuguese nobility.

The many varied sights include the grand Condes de Castro villa, the fishing harbour, the Casa Santa Maria and the heavily fortified Fortress Nossa Senhora da Luz. Cultural highlights include the Paula Rego art gallery, the Sea Museum and the Centro Cultural de Cascais. To the north of the town is a scenic coastal path that leads to the Boca do Inferno cliff formations.

After exploring Cascais, you can walk the pretty beachfront promenade that extends to the town of Estoril. This pleasant 2km route passes a series of delightful little beaches and luxurious villas before ending in the fashionable resort town of Estoril, which is famed for its casino.
Related articles: A one-day tour of Cascais

Museu Condes de Castro Guimarães, Cascais

Museu Condes de Castro Guimarães.

Câmara Municipal de Cascais

The Câmara Municipal de Cascais (Cascais town hall).

Boca do Inferno Cascais

The Boca do Inferno cliffs.

Day 2 – Beach Day

Cascais is situated on a beautiful coastline of glorious and varied beaches. The beaches to the east of the town are characterised by golden sands, calm seawaters and excellent tourist facilities, making them ideal for families. The beaches to the north of Cascais and along the Serra da Sintra coastline face the might of the Atlantic Ocean, with massive waves, windswept sands and dramatic scenery.

For your first day on the beach, we’d suggest visiting a beach close to Cascais, such as the Praia da Duquesa or Praia da Rainha. If you prefer a larger, more lively beach you could choose the Praia do Carcavelos, which is regarded as the best in the region.
Related articles: Cascais beach guide

Praia do Carcavelos beach Cascais

The Praia do Carcavelos is always a hive of activity in the summer.

Praia dos Pescadores Cascais

The pretty Praia dos Pescadores beach.

Day 3 – Lisbon (Alfama and Baixa districts)

Lisbon is the vibrant capital of Portugal, and no holiday to Cascais is complete without a visit to this exciting city. The areas we’d suggest exploring first in Lisbon are Alfama and Baixa, and these two districts can easily fill an entire day's sightseeing.

Baixa is the grand centre of Lisbon, with majestic plazas, wide avenues, and attractions including the Elevador Santa Justa, the Rua da Augusta and the magnificent Praca do Comercio.

Alfama is the complete opposite to regal Baixa, with a maze of narrow streets and alleys that climb up the steep hill from the Tejo estuary to the castle. Found in Alfama are many of Lisbon’s oldest monuments, including the castle and cathedral, and the entire district is crossed by the quaint yellow trams.

Cascais is connected to Lisbon by a direct railway service with a journey time of less than 40 minutes.
Related articles: Guide to Lisbon - Cascais to Lisbon

Rua da Augusta lisbon

The Rua da Augusta is the main shopping street in Lisbon.

Lisbon castle

Lisbon Castle is at the top of the Alfama district.

Have you got your hotel?
Cascais is one of the most popular holiday destinations in Portugal, and there is always high demand for hotel rooms and accommodation.
The map below displays the best hotels and accommodations in Cascais. If you adjust the dates to that of your holiday, it will display current prices and availability.

Booking.com

If the map does not load, a list of the best hotels can be seen here.

Day 4 Day trip to Sintra

Sintra is a delightful town that extends over the cooling hills of the Serra de Sintra. This location was a favourite with the Portuguese nobility and elite, who constructed lavish palaces and opulent mansions within the region.

Many of these buildings were designed in the flamboyant Romantic style of architecture, including the magnificent Palácio da Pena.

Sintra is an outstanding tourist destination, and there is so much to see that it takes two full days to explore. For your first day here, we’d suggest visiting the Castelo dos Mouros and the beautiful Pena Palace.

Insight: Cascais is connected to Sintra by the 1623 bus route, which departs from Cascais bus station and terminates at Sintra train station.
Related articles: Sintra Guide - Cascias to Sintra

Palácio da Pena, Sintra

The colourful terraces of the Palácio da Pena.

Castelo dos Mouros, Sintra

The Castelo dos Mouros perches on a rocky outcrop and offers stunning views of the region.

Day 5 – Serra de Sintra coastline

The Serra de Sintra is the dramatic coastline to the north of Cascais, comprising of jagged cliffs, raging seas and vast beaches.

The finest beach of this region is Praia do Guincho, 8km to the north of Cascais, which is a fantastic location for surfing. To the north of Guincho beach is the Cabo da Roca, a series of massive cliffs that mark the most westerly point of mainland Europe. This is a magical location from which to watch the sunset. From the Cabo da Roca is a scenic coastal footpath to the beautiful Praia da Ursa beach.

If you have a car, you could also include a visit to the pretty villages of Praia das Maçãs and Azenhas do Mar and drive along the scenic N247 road to Azóia. For a wonderful viewpoint of the region, visit the Capela de Nossa Senhora da Peninha.
Related articles: Cabo da Roca guide

Praia da Ursa Cascais

The Praia da Ursa beach

Cabo da Roca

The coastline of Cabo da Roca

Praia das Maçãs

Praia das Maçãs

Day 6 Lisbon and the Belém district

Belem is a picturesque district to the west of Lisbon where you’ll find many of the capital’s most iconic monuments, including the Jeronimos Monastery, Torre de Belem and the Discoveries Monument.

The district lines the banks of the Tejo estuary, which is where many of the 15th century ‘voyages of discovery’ departed from. These expeditions discovered the sea routes to India and Brazil, and the trade these brought to Portugal helped fund the extravagant Jeronimos Monastery.

Belem is a district of ornamental gardens and wide-open spaces, with pleasant footpaths along the waterfront and views of the suspension bridge.

There are many great museums in Belem, including the fascinating Museu dos Coches (museum dedicated to horse-drawn carriages), Museu Berardo (art gallery) and the Museu da Marinha. There is a lot to see within Belem, and it deserves a whole day of sightseeing.
Related articles: The Belem district

Mosteiro dos Jerónimos

The Mosteiro dos Jerónimos

Torre de Belém

Torre de Belém

Day 7 – Sintra (second day)

For your final day, we’d recommend having a second day in Sintra to visit the Quinta da Regaleira, Palácio de Monserrate and Palácio Nacional de Sintra.

The Quinta da Regaleira is famed for its elaborate gardens, which include a hidden network of caves and an initiation well inspired by the Knights Templar.

The Palácio de Monserrate offers a delightful fusion of Arabian, Moorish and Gothic architectural styles, set amidst lush gardens and forests. Monserrate is slightly outside of Sintra and a great place to escape the summertime crowds of tourists.

The final location to visit is the Palácio Nacional, the gothic palace that stands at the centre of Sintra.

Initiation Well at the Quinta da Regaleira

Initiation Well at the Quinta da Regaleira.

Palácio de Monserrate Sintra

The Palácio de Monserrate

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