The best independent guide to Cascais
The best independent guide to Cascais
Cascais is a fantastic location for a 1 week holiday, and combines the best of a bustling resort town with the close proximity of a major city. Cascais is a traditional Portuguese town, and has a delightful historic centre, filled with grand 19th-century architecture, pretty parks and interesting museums.
Within the region surround Cascais are many enjoyable day trips, including Lisbon, Sintra and the beautiful natural scenery of the Serra de Sintra. Cascais is the perfect destination for tourists wanting a varied holiday, and this guide will provide a suggested 1-week itinerary.
• Day 1 – Explore the historic centre of Cascais, visit Boca do Inferno, and Estoril
• Day 2 – Relaxing beach day at Praia da Duquesa or Praia de Carcavelos.
• Day 3 – Take a day trip to Lisbon, exploring the Alfama and Baixa districts.
• Day 4 – Sintra day trip to visit Palácio da Pena and Castelo dos Mouros.
• Day 5 – Discover the Serra da Sintra, visit Praia do Guincho, Cabo da Roca cliffs, the stunning Praia da Ursa, and the pretty towns of Praia das Maçãs and Azenhas do Mar (a car is needed for this day).
• Day 6 – Visit the Belém district of Lisbon.
• Day 7 – A second day in Sintra, visiting Quinta da Regaleira, Palácio de Monserrate, and Palácio Biester
Cascais elegantly blends 19th-century architecture with traditional Portuguese charm, to create an interesting days sightseeing. Within the historic centre is a fort, a fishing harbour, the grand Guimarães mansion and the Casa Santa Maria. Along the coastline is the Boca do Inferno cliff formation and this leads back to the Paula Rego art gallery, the Sea museum and the Parque Marechal Carmona.
For the afternoon there is a delightful beachfront promenade between Cascais and Estoril. This pleasant 2km walk passes a series of pretty little beaches and luxurious villas, before ending in the stylish resort town of Estoril, which is famed for its casino.
Related articles: 1 day in Cascais.
Cascais is situated on a beautiful coastline of glorious and varied beaches. The beaches to the east are characterised by golden sands, calm sea waters and excellent tourist facilities, making them ideal for families. The beaches to the north of Cascais are wild and rugged, and face the might of the Atlantic Ocean with massive waves and windswept beaches.
For the first day on the beach, it is suggested to visit the eastern coastline (as they are closer to Cascais and suitable for all). Praia da Duquesa is the main beach of Cascais, Praia do Tamariz is an excellent beach in Estoril, and the Praia do Carcavelos is the most popular beach of the Lisbon coastline. Both Praia Duquesa and Tamariz can be walked to, while Carcavelos is connected by the train.
Note: The weather is warm enough for spending time on the beach from May until the end of September but sea temperatures are always chilly.
Related articles: Cascais beach guide.
Lisbon is the vibrant capital of Portugal, and no holiday to Cascais is complete without visiting this exciting city. The suggested areas to begin exploring Lisbon are in Alfama and Baixa, and these two districts can fill an entire days sightseeing. Baixa is the grand centre of Lisbon, with majestic plazas and wide avenues, and attractions include the Elevador Santa Justa, the Rua da Augusta, and the magnificent Praca do Comercio.
Alfama is a complete opposite to regal Baixa, and is a maze of narrow streets and alleys that climb up the steep hill from the Tejo Estuary to the castle. Contained in Alfama are many of Lisbon’s oldest monuments, including the castle and cathedral, and the entire district is crossed by the quaint yellow tram. Cascais is connected to Lisbon by a direct railway and the journey is less than 40 minutes.
Related articles: Guide to Lisbon - Cascais to Lisbon - Alfama district - Baixa guide
For the final day it is suggested to have a second day in Sintra, which visits the Quinta da Regaleira, Palácio de Monserrate and Palácio de Seteais.
An alternative day trip could be to the pretty beach resort of Praia das Maçãs. Praia das Maçãs is a traditional Portuguese town that has a sheltered beach that is surrounded by a town of whitewashed houses. Maçãs is a good day trip for a relaxing day on the beach and there is a direct bus service from Cascais.