The best independent guide to Cascais
The best independent guide to Cascais
Cascais is the finest resort town of the Lisbon coastline, and is a highly recommended day trip from Lisbon. Within Cascais are grand mansions, fascinating museums and attractive parks, while the surrounding coastline offers beautiful beaches.
Historically, Cascais was a minor fishing port, but this all changed in 1870, when King Luís I decreed that the town would be the summer residence of the Portuguese nobility. This influx of the nobility’s entourage and the elite of Europe transformed Cascais into a sophisticated and refined destination, filled with grand villas and lavish venues.
Today, Cascais is a charming town, which elegantly blends the fishing heritage, the 19th-century grandeur, and the expectations of modern tourism.
Cascais is a popular holiday destination, but is equally suited for a day trip, with sufficient sights and activities to easily fill a day of sightseeing. This article will provide a guide to day trip to Cascais, including a suggested tour, travel information and an interactive map.
Related articles: Cascais introduction – Cascais beaches – Day trips from Cascais
There are many organised tours which combine the two towns, and these are good if you are limited by time, but if you are visiting independently, our recommendation is to plan one day for Cascais and one (or even two) days for Sintra.
Related articles: Sintra guide – A day trip to Sintra
An organised tour is the best way to see both Sintra and Cascais, if you only have a short amount of time within the Lisbon region. We have worked with GetyourGuide.com for the previous 6 years, and some of their best tours of Cascais and Sintra include:
The following section is a suggest 1-day itinerary for a day trip to Cascais, and the route can be seen on the interactive map below:
The tour continues by wandering past the fishing harbour to the Fortress Nossa Senhora da Luz de Cascais (7). This heavily fortified fort has been transformed into an upmarket artisan centre.
Walking the perimeter of the fort's walls passes the colourful Centro Cultural de Cascais (8 - €5 admission) and ends at the exclusive Cascais marina complex (9).
The Museu Condes de Castro Guimarães (10 - €4 admission) is the most elegant building in Cascais, and behind the 19th-century villa is the Parque Marechal Carmona (11), with its duck lakes and gardens. The Casa de Santa Maria (12) is another grand villa, which sits next to the blue and white Santa Marta lighthouse (13) and both sights can be visited using the same ticket (€5)
The next section follows the coastal road for 800m to the Boca do Inferno (14), a sea arch and collapsed cave onto which powerful Atlantic waves crash.
For the later part of the day it is suggested to walk the scenic coastal promenade from Cascais to Estoril. This is around 2km, and ends close to Estoril train station where the train can be caught back to Lisbon or Cascais
The promenade first passes the two busiest beaches of the Cascais region, the Praia da Conceição (19) and Praia da Duquesa (20), and in the summer these will be crowded with tourists. Standing on the headland is mock-gothic Palácio dos Duques de Palmela (21). Beyond the headland is the Piscina Oceânica Alberto Romano (22), a seawater swimming pool.
The promenade ends at the Forte da Cruz and the Praia do Tamariz beach (23) in Estoril. Estoril has a high-class reputation and is famed for the Estoril Casino (24), the largest of the Iberian Peninsula.
The tour concludes at Estoril train station (25).
There is no need for a rental car for a day trip to Cascais but with one the following sights could be added:
• The stalls and markets of the Casa da Guia (GPS: 38.69541, -9.44319)
• Forte de São Jorge de Oitavos (GPS: 38.69952, -9.46817)
• The stunning scenery of Guincho beach (GPS: 38.7313, -9.47215)
• Cabo da Roca, the western most point of main land Europe (GPS: 38.77913, -9.50031)
• Santuário da Peninha, from this little ruined chapel are amazing panoramic views (GPS 38.76826, -9.46032)
Note: There is very limited car parking in Cascais, especially in the summer; we never recommend driving to Cascais for a day trip.
Cycle to Guincho - One of the best activities of Cascais is to cycle along the to the Grande do Guincho. This routes of around 10km (each way) follows a purpose-built cycle path and skirts the craggy cliffs of the coastline. This is a very scenic cycle path and passes the Casa da Guia, a great place for a refreshment break. Bikes can be hired for €15 per day.