The erstwhile fishing town of Cascais is a popular seaside resort today – inviting people in with its sun-soaked sands, cobbled streets and vibrant nightlife.
Situated about 30 kilometres from Lisbon, Cascais makes for a popular day trip destination, but it’s worth your time to spend a few days in this charming coastal town. Among its 17 beaches, the golden sands of Carcavelos beach, Praia da Rainha and Praia da Duquesa are great spots for sunbathing and swimming in the peaceful waters of the bay. Alternatively, for crashing waves and surfing opportunities, you can head to the windswept Guincho Beach, located within the Sintra-Cascais Natural Park. As the Portuguese Riviera shoreline starts to get rocky, you’ll find the Boca do Inferno – dramatic seaside cliffs offering sunset views over the Atlantic Ocean.
The old town area of Cascais is ideal to explore on foot, with palm-lined promenades and mosaic-patterned plazas. Traditional Portuguese pavements known as ‘calçada’ characterise the city centre, looping around the many museums forming the Museum Quarter. Meaning ‘house of stories’, Casa das Histórias Paula Rego showcases works by one of Portugal’s greatest artists in a contemporary building designed by a prize-winning architect. Another museum with an enviable exterior is the Museu Condes de Castro Guimarães, housed in a castle-like mansion overlooking the sea. Additionally, chronicling the town’s maritime heritage are the Museu do Mar (Museum of the Sea) and the Santa Marta Lighthouse Museum.