Located on the sun-drenched Portuguese Riviera, Cascais is a beachside town west of Lisbon. It became the summer residence of the Portuguese royal family in the 1870s and was previously home to the exiled Cuban President, Fulgencio Batista. Modern-day Cascais is known for its golden beaches, elegant parks and upmarket boutiques.
Things to do in Cascais
Stroll through the pedestrian-friendly historic centre of Cascais to explore its boutiques and eateries while taking note of the patterned mosaics that decorate the pavements and squares. Dominating the waterfront is the Fortaleza da Nossa Senhora da Luz, a 16th-century fortress that serves as a summer residence for the President of the Portuguese Republic.
Occupying a Revivalist-style palace overlooking the water is the Museu Condes de Castro Guimarães, which boasts an impressive collection of Portuguese paintings, period furniture and oriental porcelain. A highlight is the library stocked with around 25,000 volumes that include an illuminated manuscript from the early 16th century. The palace backs onto the grassy lawns of Parque Marechal Carmona, which encompasses walking trails and a children’s playground.
For a day on the sand, head to Praia da Rainha, a sandy cove framed by limestone rocks and is within walking distance of the town centre. Around the headland lies Praia da Ribeira de Cascais, which is a popular spot for standup paddleboarding and is backed by an Italian alfresco eatery. Further east is Praia do Tamariz, a family-friendly beach in the town of Estoril.
Getting around Cascais
Cascais is a 30-minute drive from central Lisbon and Humberto Delgado Airport, which has flights to destinations across the globe. Regular trains connect from Lisbon to the Cascais railway station and buses travel throughout the town. The centre of Cascais can easily be explored on foot.