Don’t know Cascais yet? This blogpost will help you!
If you’re planning a trip to Portugal, make sure to add Cascais to your list of destinations. This charming coastal town is situated just 30 minutes away from Lisbon, making it the perfect day trip or a weekend getaway. Cascais offers a combination of stunning beaches, picturesque streets, and delicious cuisine that will leave you wanting to stay for longer. Whether you’re a history buff, a beach lover, or simply looking to unwind, Cascais has something for everyone. In this blogpost, we will provide you with a comprehensive guide to all the must-visit attractions and activities in Cascais, from exploring the historic center to indulging in seafood delicacies. So, let’s dive in and discover what makes Cascais a hidden gem of Portugal!
Cascais is a charming coastal town located in the Lisbon region of Portugal. Situated just 30 minutes west of Lisbon, Cascais is a popular destination for tourists looking for a relaxing getaway from the hustle and bustle of the city. The town is known for its beautiful beaches, stunning architecture, and delicious cuisine.
Cascais has a rich history dating back to the Roman era when it was a fishing village. In the 19th century, the town became a popular destination for Portuguese nobility and aristocracy, who built grand villas and palaces along the coast.
Today, Cascais is a vibrant town with plenty of things to see and do. The historic center is home to beautiful buildings, narrow streets, and charming squares. The town also boasts several museums, including the Museu Condes de Castro Guimarães and the Casa das Histórias Paula Rego, which showcases the works of the Portuguese artist Paula Rego.
One of the main draws of Cascais is its stunning coastline. The town is surrounded by beautiful beaches, including Praia do Guincho, which is popular with surfers, and Praia da Ribeira, which is perfect for swimming and sunbathing. Visitors can also take a scenic walk along the Cascais Bay Promenade, which offers stunning views of the Atlantic Ocean.
When it comes to cuisine, Cascais is known for its seafood, which is caught fresh daily from the Atlantic Ocean. Visitors can sample a variety of seafood dishes at the town’s many restaurants and cafes.
Tips for When Visiting Cascais
- Explore the historic center: Cascais’ historic center is full of charming buildings, narrow streets, and picturesque squares. Be sure to take some time to wander around and soak up the atmosphere.
- Visit the beaches: Cascais is surrounded by beautiful beaches, each with its own unique character. Whether you’re looking for a place to surf, swim, or just relax in the sun, there’s a beach for everyone.
- Try the seafood: Cascais is known for its delicious seafood, which is caught fresh daily from the Atlantic Ocean. Be sure to try some of the local specialties, such as grilled sardines, octopus salad, and seafood rice.
- Take a walk along the Cascais Bay Promenade: The promenade offers stunning views of the Atlantic Ocean and the coastline. It’s a great place to take a leisurely stroll or go for a jog.
- Visit the museums: Cascais has several museums that are worth a visit, including the Museu Condes de Castro Guimarães and the Casa das Histórias Paula Rego.
- Take a day trip to Sintra: Cascais is located just a short drive away from Sintra, a town famous for its palaces, castles, and gardens. It’s a great place to spend a day exploring the historic sites and soaking up the atmosphere.
1. Explore the historic center of Cascais
Exploring the historic center of Cascais is a must-do activity when visiting the town. The center is full of charming buildings, narrow streets, and picturesque squares, offering visitors a glimpse into the town’s rich history and culture.
One of the main attractions in the historic center is the Cascais Citadel, which dates back to the 15th century. The citadel was built to protect the town from pirate attacks and was used as a military fortification until the 20th century. Today, the citadel houses the Museum of the Sea, which showcases the town’s maritime history.
Another popular attraction in the historic center is the Casa de Santa Maria, a beautiful villa that was once owned by a Portuguese nobleman. The villa is now open to the public and offers visitors a glimpse into the luxurious lifestyle of the Portuguese aristocracy.
Visitors can also explore the town’s many churches and chapels, including the Igreja de Nossa Senhora da Assunção and the Capela de Nossa Senhora da Piedade. These buildings offer a glimpse into the town’s religious history and feature beautiful artwork and architecture.
In addition to the historic attractions, the center is also home to a variety of shops, cafes, and restaurants. Visitors can browse the local handicrafts, sample traditional Portuguese cuisine, and relax with a cup of coffee in one of the many charming cafes.
2. Visit the beaches that surround Cascais
The beaches that surround Cascais are some of the most beautiful in Portugal, with crystal-clear waters and golden sands. There are several beaches to choose from, each with its own unique character and appeal.
One of the most popular beaches in Cascais is Praia do Guincho, which is located just a short drive away from the town center. This long, wide beach is perfect for surfing, windsurfing, and kiteboarding, and is considered one of the best surfing spots in Portugal. The beach is also popular with sunbathers and families, who come to enjoy the sun, sand, and sea.
Another popular beach in Cascais is Praia da Ribeira, which is located in the heart of the town. This small, sheltered beach is perfect for swimming and sunbathing, and is a great place to relax and unwind.
Other beaches in the area include Praia de Carcavelos, which is one of the largest and most popular beaches in the Lisbon region, and Praia da Cresmina, which is located in the Sintra-Cascais Natural Park and is popular with hikers and nature lovers.
No matter which beach you choose to visit, you’ll find plenty of facilities and amenities, including showers, toilets, and beach bars. Many of the beaches are also patrolled by lifeguards during the summer months, making them safe for swimming and other water activities.
3. Try the seafood
Cascais is a coastal town in Portugal known for its delicious and fresh seafood. The town’s proximity to the Atlantic Ocean means that the seafood served in Cascais is caught fresh daily and is of exceptional quality. Some of the most popular seafood dishes in Cascais include grilled sardines, octopus salad, clams in garlic sauce, and seafood rice.
Grilled sardines are a traditional Portuguese dish and are a must-try when visiting Cascais. The sardines are usually grilled over charcoal and served with boiled potatoes and a salad. Octopus salad is another popular dish that can be found in most seafood restaurants in the town. The octopus is cooked until it’s tender and then served cold with olive oil, onions, and fresh herbs.
Clams in garlic sauce are a delicious and simple dish that is popular in Cascais. The clams are cooked in a garlic and white wine sauce and served with bread for dipping. Seafood rice is another dish that is commonly found in the town. The dish consists of rice cooked with a variety of seafood, including shrimp, clams, and squid.
When visiting Cascais, be sure to try the seafood at one of the many local restaurants. Most of the seafood is prepared simply to highlight the freshness and quality of the ingredients. With its delicious seafood, Cascais is a must-visit destination for any food lover.
4. Take a walk along the Cascais Bay Promenade
The Cascais Bay Promenade is a beautiful pathway that stretches along the coastline from Cascais to Estoril. The promenade offers stunning views of the Atlantic Ocean and the surrounding coastline, making it a popular destination for visitors to the area. The path is well-maintained and easy to walk, with plenty of benches along the way to sit and take in the view.
The promenade passes by several beaches, including Praia da Conceição, Praia da Duquesa, and Praia da Rainha. These beaches are popular with locals and visitors alike, offering a range of activities from swimming and sunbathing to surfing and paddleboarding.
In addition to the beaches, the promenade also passes by several parks and gardens, including the Parque Palmela and the Jardim Visconde da Luz. These green spaces offer a peaceful respite from the busy beachfront, and are a great place to relax and enjoy the natural beauty of the area.
Along the way, visitors can also stop at several cafes and restaurants that offer stunning views of the ocean. These establishments are a great place to grab a drink or a meal while taking in the scenery.
5. Visit the museums
Cascais has several museums that offer a glimpse into the town’s rich history and culture. Here are some of the museums that are worth a visit:
- Museu Condes de Castro Guimarães: This museum is housed in a beautiful palace that was built in the early 20th century. The museum showcases a collection of art and artifacts that span several centuries, including paintings, sculptures, furniture, and decorative arts.
- Casa das Histórias Paula Rego: This museum is dedicated to the work of the Portuguese artist Paula Rego. The museum is housed in a striking building that was designed by the architect Eduardo Souto de Moura. The collection includes paintings, drawings, prints, and sculptures, all of which offer insight into Rego’s unique vision and style.
- Casa Sommer: This museum is located in a historic building that dates back to the 19th century. The museum showcases a collection of contemporary art, with a focus on Portuguese artists.
- Museu do Mar Rei D. Carlos: This museum is dedicated to the history of Cascais’ fishing industry. The museum showcases a collection of boats, fishing equipment, and other artifacts, as well as exhibits that explore the town’s maritime heritage.
Visiting these museums is a great way to learn more about the history and culture of Cascais. Whether you’re an art lover, a history buff, or just looking for something to do on a rainy day, these museums offer something for everyone.
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