People have been inhabiting Cascais since Roman times. Scholars unearthed recently a villa dating from the second century AD in the dunes of Guincho. The town first came into prominence during the 12th century supplying produce to the increasingly important town of Sintra nearby. The town's wealth grew from trading wine, olive oil, fish, cereals, fruit, and seafood during the 13th century. In the 15th century, Cascais became strategic in the defence of Lisbon. Dom João II ordered the construction of the first fortifications in around 1488. Additions and expansions occurred during the Napoleonic wars. In the late 19th Century, Dom Luís II converted the citadel into his summer residence, precipitating Cascais's role as a popular holiday destination. Albeit Cascais becoming a cosmopolitan resort, much of the town's fishing heritage has endured. Daily caught fish is sold at the square near the harbour, colourful boats still bob up and down at the jetties, and fishermen repair their nets on the quayside.
Facing Praia dos Pescadores (Fishermen's Beach), this attractive old square is home to the beautiful 18th-century town hall (Camera Municipal) that survived the devastating earthquake of 1755. Azulejos tiles adorn the walls, and national and provincial flags fly proudly above the main portal. A statue of King Dom Pedro IV stands in the square. The square is paved by a stunning example of Portuguese mosaic paving (Calçada Portuguesa). The optical illusion of undulating waves might be a little disconcerting if you've spent time in the O'Neils Irish Pub.
The Largo Luís de Camões Square is a hub of activity at lunchtime and evenings with a concentration of restaurants and bars. The small square is never overtly rowdy, but there's usually a cheerful atmosphere at night times under the canopies outside. A statue of Luís de Camões, Portugal's greatest poet and often compared to Shakespeare, stands in the centre of the square. Many establishments here have joint entrances to the Alameda dos Combatentes da Grande Guerra Street on the opposite side.
Leading off from the Combatentes da Grande Guerra street is the Rua Frederico Arouca, better known by its old name, the 'Rua Direita' is the commercial hub of Cascais. It is a pedestrianised street full of boutiques, friendly street vendors, shops and restaurants. If you arrive by train, this street is often the route taken into the centre of town.
Some of the town's most appealing features are its series of beaches so conveniently located close to the centre. In front of the Praça 5 de Outubro is the Praia do Pescador, also known as the Praia do Ribeira. Historical buildings skirt Praia do Pescador. Its popularity with local fishermen can make swimming here a bit precarious. However, the beach is ideal for sunbathers wishing to take in the scenery and leisurely people-watch. East along the seafront lies the Praia da Rainha so-called because of its popularity with Portugal's royalty in times past. Accessed via steps it maintains the feeling of a private beach. Mansions still overlook the beach perched on the cliffs above..
Further east still are the twin beaches of Praia da Conceição and Praia da Duquesa conjoined at low tide. Both have great facilities such as bars, shops and restaurants along a walkway which connects the two beaches. The restaurants here, many serving freshly caught fish, make an idyllic spot for lunch or a sunset dinner. The excellent water conditions at both beaches make them popular places for sailing, fishing and windsurfing. The crystal waters of Praia da Duquesa, named after the Palace of Palmela's Dukes overlooking its shores, are particularly favoured by divers and the beach is host to a diving school.
Known locally as the Ponta de Santa Maria Farol, this iconic landmark started operations in 1868. It now houses a small museum that explains the lighthouse's history, the men who ran it and traditional life in the area. With rotating exhibits and guest art presentations, return visits are always a unique experience. The 25-metre climb to the top rewards you with spectacular views. The lighthouse is free to enter and is ideally close to the Boca de Inferno.
High Season: Tuesday-Sunday: 10h00 – 19h00
Low Season Tuesday-Sunday: 10h00 – 18h00, Monday: CLOSED
Rua do Farol de Santa Marta - 2750-341 Cascais, Portugal. | 38° 41' 24" N | 09° 25' 18" W
+351 214 815 382 | email@example.com
Marechal Carmona Park, also known as Gandarinha Park, is one of the region's most extensive and beautiful gardens and is ideally situated close to the historic centre of Cascais. The park opened to the public in 1940, incorporating the two former gardens of the Palace Condes de Castro Guimarães and the Viscount da Gandarinha's property. The park contains many tall exotic trees, luscious lawns, terrapin-filled ponds, play areas, flower beds, shrubberies and various sculptural public art pieces. Its mini-zoo is a delight for the little ones, shaded areas and picnic spots make an ideal respite from the midday sun.
High Season: Daily: 08h30 – 19h45 | Low Season Daily: 08h30 – 17h45
Praceta Domingos D'Avillez, 2750-475, Cascais, Portugal.
38° 41' 34.9" N | 09° 25' 22.1" W
Dating from the early 19th century the building was the initiative of the aristocrat Jorge O'Neil. The building is a mishmash of architectural styles, complete with castle turrets and an Arabic cloister. The building was sold to the Condes de Castro Guimarães in 1910, who furnished the building with art of various styles, including an impressive neo-gothic organ. The Count's enjoyment of this extraordinary palace was sadly short-lived, he died in 1927. Yet he had the foresight to donate the building to the Municipality of Cascais. The grounds and library were officially open to the public in 1931. | Tuesday - Friday: 10h00 – 18h00, Weekends: 10h00 - 13h00/14h00 - 18h00, Monday: CLOSED
Adult: €5.00, Concessionary: €3.50
Avenida Rei Humberto II de Itália, Parque Marechal Camona 2750-319 Cascais, Portugal.
38° 41' 31.3"N | 09° 25' 18.2"W | +351 214 815 308 | firstname.lastname@example.org | Website
The Cidela was constructed in the 16th century as part of a whole string of fortresses built along the Tagus estuary defending the Bay of Cascais and Lisbon. The complex consists of a central park and four buildings: Santa Catarina or Royal Palace, São Pedro, Santo António and the São Luís Hospital. King Dom Luís converted the site into his private summer residence in the 19th century. The Palace of the Citadel of Cascais was assigned to the presidency in 1910 and continues to be the President's summer residence. The Palace first opened to the public in November 2011 after a series of refurbishments, including the Chapel and outdoor spaces.| Wednesday - Friday: 11h00 – 17h00, Saturday: 10h00 – 18h00, Sunday: 14h00 – 18h00
Adult: €5.00, Concessionary: €3.50
Palácio da Cidadela de Cascais, Passeio D. Maria Pia 2750-429 Cascais, Portugal.
38° 41' 37.5"N | 09° 25' 10.4"W | email@example.com
A leisurely thirty-minute trek or a brief cycle ride west along the coast out of the centre of Cascais leads you to the ominously named Boca do Inferno (Hell's Mouth). An impressive geological feature carved out of the 15-20m/50-65ft high cliffs by Atlantic forces, huge waves slam into caves creating plumes of ocean spray and a haunting sound, which might be the origin of the site's name. It was here where the infamous English occultist Aleister Crowley chose to fake his own death in 1930 with the help of local poet Fernando Pessoa. The false suicide note is inscribed on a plaque mounted on a rock "Não Posso Viver Sem Ti. A outra 'Boca De Infierno' apanhar-me-á não será tão quente como a tua," which translates roughly to "Can't live without you. The other mouth of hell that will catch me won't be as hot as yours".
Pathways weave their way down the cliff face allowing views from both sides. Along the way, there's a small market selling nicknacks and local crafts. Close by, there is a restaurant and the Café do Inferno offering refreshments and meals. | 38º 41' 29.8" N | 09º 25' 49." W
Situated in a picturesque area with a breathtaking view over the Atlantic, five minutes walk out of Cascais town, close to Cascais Fortress and Gandarinha Municipal Park. Hotel Farol offers thirty-three luxury stylish air-conditioned rooms overlooking the sea and an amazing garden, with a private balcony or terrace. All rooms are equipped with minibars, Cable TV, safes, wireless Internet access; private bathrooms feature a shower and jetted tub, bathrobes and slippers.
Farol Hotel, Av. Rei Humberto II de Italia 7, Cascais, 2750 800, Portugal.
38º 41' 25.2" N | 09º 25' 20" W
Ideally located in the heart of Cascais on the scenic seafront, opposite Praia dos Pescadores (Fisherman's Beach). Hotel Baia offers 113 beautifully renovated rooms, equipped with bathrooms, air-conditioning, 22" flat-screen TV, hairdryer, telephone, HiFi and safe deposit box. Also on offer is a covered swimming pool ideal for all weathers. The Hotel Baia Grill Restaurant and two bars are at your complete disposal, offering local and international cuisines.
Casa da Pergola, Avenida Valbom, 13, Cascais, 2750 508, Portugal.
38º 41' 58.8" N | 09º 25' 10" W
Located in the heart of Cascais and surrounded by magnificent gardens, Casa da Pergola has opened its doors as a family guest house in 1985. Manuel Gonçalves and his daughter, Patricia, invite you to plunge into an atmosphere of beauty and hospitality. The house is filled with historical old family pictures and antique furniture. Each room features central heating and air-conditioning, en-suite, hairdryer, free wifi, and telephone. The owners offer various services such as transfer to/from Lisbon airport, private tours, free bikes etc.
Casa da Pergola, Avenida Valbom, 13, Cascais, 2750 508, Portugal.
38º 41' 58.8" N | 09º 25' 10" W
Formerly a traditional fisherman's tavern, situated right in the heart of the Old Town between the sea and the fishmarket, O Pescador Restaurant is as famous for its wine cellar as it is for the delicious fresh seafood it serves. A talented chef prepares light, modern dishes with a delicate touch and a real understanding of flavour. Aided by the fact that, thanks to its marina location, Cascais offers some of the best fish and seafood available, freshly caught in the Atlantic waters offshore, there is a real emphasis on fresh ingredients and good quality which is guaranteed not to leave guests disappointed.
Try the Algarve oysters, full of the flavours of the sea, for a quality start to your meal. Other favourites include carpaccio of tuna and swordfish and octopus. Lobster, freshly handpicked from the lobster tank is a favourite for the main course. Try the red prawns tossed with coriander and thin slices of garlic or, for meat lovers, tenderloin steak in Dijon mustard sauce.
Monday - Saturday: 12h00 - 15h00/19h00 - 23h00, Sunday: CLOSED
10-B Rua das Flores, Cascais, 2750-348, Portugal. | 38º 41' 54" N | 09º 25' 9.1" W
+351 214 832 054 | firstname.lastname@example.org | Website | Facebook
Perched right at the edge of the dunes of the Guincho beach is the Porto de Santa Maria Restaurant. This restaurant is often described as the "place where the sea and the land meet". The Porto de Santa Maria Restaurant perfectly manages to reflect its geographical location on its delicious menu that combines the very best of freshly caught Atlantic fish and seafood, with meat and poultry dishes inspired by centuries of Portuguese culinary tradition.
Fish is hand-selected daily from the local fish market to ensure the freshest possible ingredients are used. House favourites include the lobster carpaccio starter, a delicately flavoured delight, mussels served either natural or Spanish style, crab and clams served four different ways and grilled tiger prawns. Fish and seafood are priced by the kilo for main courses, giving diners the flexibility to order as much or as little as they like to suit the size of their appetite.
Daily: 12h30 - 15h30/19h30 - 23h30
Estrada do Guincho, 2750-640, Cascais, Portugal. | 38º 43' 28.1" N | 09º 28' 31" W
+351 214 879 450 | email@example.com | Website | Facebook
Considered by many to be amongst the best Japanese restaurants in Portugal with a capacity for up to 100 diners, the restaurant has a cosy and relaxed atmosphere with modern, neutral décor and comfortable seating, located on the ground floor of the Hotel Cascais Miragem. The perfect spot to enjoy a light sushi lunch or dinner that combines the delicious fresh fish of the Atlantic waters off the shores of Cascais with all the flavours of the Orient.
Tuesday - Sunday: 12h30 - 15h30/19h30 - 24h00
Hotel Cascais Miragem Ground Floor, Av. Marginal 8554, 2754-536 Cascais, Portugal. | 38º 42' 8.4" N | 09º 24' 37.5" W
+351 214 820 776 | firstname.lastname@example.org | Website
Only 21.6 miles (34.7km) west of Lisbon Portela Airport Website
GET A GREAT DEAL ON FLIGHTS:
From Lisbon join the A5 west.
GET A GREAT DEAL ON CAR HIRE:
• Carris Metropolitana buses #1623 & 1624 leave Sintra train station to Cascais: Carris Metropolitana Website