The best independent guide to Cascais
The best independent guide to Cascais
Cascais is a fantastic holiday destination that combines traditional Portuguese character, outstanding tourist facilities, and of course, beautiful beaches!
The Serra de Sintra coastline is as much an opposite from the Costa da Estoril as possible. This region faces the might of the Atlantic Ocean, with its powerful waves, strong breezes and dramatic natural scenery. Much of the Serra de Sintra coastline lies within a protected nature park, and there is almost no tourist development, just wild and stunning beaches.
This article will provide an introduction to the beaches of the Cascais region.
Advice: The weather is warm enough for spending time on the beach from May until the end of September.
Related articles: Introduction to Cascais - Day trip to Cascais
The map below shows the location of the best beaches of the Cascais region. The green icons represent the best 10 beaches of the Costa da Estoril that are easily accessible from Cascais. The blue pins are the best beaches north of Cascais, but are more remote and often need a car or taxi to travel to them.
The top 10 beaches of the Costa da Estoril, and easily accessible from Cascais are: 1) Praia de Carcavelos 2) Praia da Duquesa & Praia da Conceição 3) Praia da Rainha 4) Praia de São Pedro do Estoril 5) Praia do Tamariz 6) Praia da Ribeira 7) Praia da Torre 8) Praia Velha 9) Praia de Santo Amaro 10) Praia das Moitas
The best beaches to the north of the Cascais (may have limited or no public transport): 1) Praia do Guincho 2) Praia da Ursa 3) Praia da Foz do Lizandro 4) Praia da Adraga 5) Praia das Maçãs 6) Praia Grande
The two beaches of Praia da Conceição and Praia da Duquesa form the main beach of Cascais. This is a beautiful stretch of sand with calm, clean sea waters and lots of beach activities. The beach is divided into two by a minor promontory; to the west is the Praia da Duquesa and to the east (closer to Cascais) is the Praia da Conceição.
During the summer the beach is a hive of activity; with boats towing banana and Ringo rides, large sea inflatables and sea pedalos. The Conceição and Duquesa beaches are suitable for children, as there are no waves or currents and the beach is supervised by lifeguards.
Our opinion: The Praia da Conceição and Praia da Duquesa are the ideal beaches for the beginning of your holiday to Cascais.
The Praia da Ribeira is the central beach of Cascais and overlooks the fishing harbour and the fort. Historically, fishing boats were pulled onto the sands, and the beach is still lovingly referred to as the fishermen’s beach (Praia dos Pescadores). As this beach is in the centre of the town, beachgoers may feel that they are being constantly gawped at, due to the constant trudge of day-trippers wandering past the beach.
Our opinion: This is another beach to admire and photograph, but maybe not to use.
The beaches around Cascais provide more variety than the ones which are close by. By travelling a little further using public transport, opens your options to the larger beaches of the Costa do Estoril or the wild natural scenery of the Serra de Sintra.
Praia do Guincho is a wild and rugged beach that lies within the Serra de Sintra nature park. This vast beach faces the might of the Atlantic Ocean and is pounded by huge waves, making it one of the best surfing beaches of the Lisbon region.
Guincho beach boasts dramatic and raw natural scenery, but it is no tranquil or relaxing beach, there are constant strong winds, while hidden beneath the waters are powerful currents. Guincho beach is served by the 405 and 415 bus routes, which leave Cascais bus station. There is a purpose-built cycle path connecting Cascais to the Praia do Guincho, and the 14km round trip is an enjoyable route.
Our opinion: Great for surf, kite surfing or admiring the natural scenery, but often to blustery for a relaxing beach day
The Praia de Carcavelos is the Lisbon coastline's most popular beach. Carcavelos is much larger than all of the beaches close to Cascais, there are medium waves for surfing and excellent public transport links to Cascais and Lisbon. Along the beachfront are numerous beach bars, restaurants and shops, and there is always a lively atmosphere in the summer.
The Praia de Carcavelos is an outstanding beach, and for visitors based in Lisbon, this is the recommend beach to visit. The residents of Lisbon also know that it is their best beach, and during the summer it can feel as if most of Lisbon are on the sands of Carcavelos.
Carcavelos is connected to Cascais by the regional railway, and the direct train takes 30 minutes. From the station, it is a 700m walk to the beach.
Our opinion: If you are seeking a big lively beach then you will adore the Praia de Carcavelos.
Related articles: Praia de Carcavelos
The Praia de São Pedro do Estoril should be considered as a smaller version of the Praia de Carcavelos. The beach is slightly sheltered by the headland, and this means the beach is calm and not suited for surfing. São Pedro beach is only a 20minute train ride from central Cascais.
Our opinion: A beautiful but underrated beach of the Costa da Estoril
The beaches of the Serra de Sintra are famed for their wonderous scenery and powerful surfing waves. There tends to be very poor public transport north from Cascais, with the Praia do Guincho being the only one served by any sensible bus services.