Portugal

Cascais

cascaismapa

About

Cascais is a little coastal town, just 30 km from Lisbon’s city centre. It’s a very popular holiday destination due to its wonderful beaches, its rich history and architecture and its beauty.

Where to stay?

Cascais can be a bit expensive. There are loads of hotels and hostels, but there’s also a LOT of demand, particularly in the summer months. The city centre is gorgeous though, and you should totally try and book somehwere there.

SONY DSC

However, if you’re looking for slightly cheaper accommodation, look a bit further away (up) from the historic centre. Our flat was located 20min from the city centre, up in the hill in Pampilheira da Serra and it was great.

I’d say up till Pampilheira you’ll be alright, but further higher up than that might be a bit of a stretch. I guess it depends on how much you feel like working out those calves, hey?

If you’re staying in Lisbon, simply take the train to Cascais. It’s quick, cheap, and it’s a beautiful ride. If you are staying in Lisbon for a few days, make sure you don’t miss Cascais. It is really that gorgeous.

What to do?

  • Walk around old town/ city centre. Get lost in the little streets and notice the gorgeous buildings all around
  • Visit the lighthouse, ‘Farol de santa Marta’. It’s really pretty. Also the view is breathtaking.
  • Museu Condes de Castro Guimarães. To be honest we never got to go in (I thinks it’s only 3€ though) but the building itself is totally worth seeing.
  • Parque Marechal Carmona – it’s free, and there’s an entrance from the museum (two birds, one stone). It is a lovely park and there’s baby ducks and chicks. If you’re lucky.
  • You can also rent a bike and ride from the lighthouse to Guincho (beach). Stunning views! Just make sure not to do it on a windy day.
  • The beach, obvs. It’s everywhere, it is a coastal town after all. Usually we tend to pick whichever one is closest, BUT, these are totally worth checking out:
    • Praia da Poça, in Sao João do Estoril. It’s a 40min walk from Cascais, but if you take the train it’s only two stops and a 7min walk. It has a beautiful view over the cascais bay (and usually it is less crowded).
    • Praia de São Pedro do Estoril. This is one of my favourite spots ever, so I might be biased. On a windy day this is the perfect spot, as it is surrounded by cliffs. I love it on a sunny winter day.
    • If you don’t fancy going that far, in Cascais you have the beaches Praia da Conceição and Praia da Duquesa, which are both lovely (although both can get quite crowded).

FOOD

Where to eat?

Cascais is heaving with little restaurants right now. Here are a few suggestions:

  • Dom Diniz – a ‘portuguese tapas’ (AKA petiscos) place. I could never get a place here but it’s meant to be amazing! Address: Rua Alexandre Herculano
  • Waka Cevicheria – a ceviche place. The Ceviche Waka and the Salmon Passion are really good. Address: Rua Alexandre Herculano
  • Moules & Gin – which pretty much does what it says on the name. Address: Rua Nova da Alfarrobeira
  • Polvo Vadio – pretty much every dish has octopus and is delicious (very reliable sources as I also didn’t manage to get a table – sad face). Address: Rua Afonso Sanches
  • Taberna Clandestina – another ‘petiscos’ place, which sounds amazing. Address: Rua Afonso Sanches

For all of the above it’s best to book ahead, especially in the summer.

At your own risk (but you should go)

There was another restaurant that we really liked, but it’s not for the faint-hearted. The food is really good, it’s not expensive, but the service is…mmm how to put it? It’s not rude, but it’s not really friendly either. I mean, I loved it, but here you don’t get big smiles because you’re a tourist or even a word in any language other than Portuguese, see what I mean? You won’t see many tourists here. Also, google reviews don’t seem very positive.
But the food is great (I mean, we went three times!). I guess if you know not to expect too much kindness (kind of like Paris?), the you’re OK to go. But it’s at your own risk, really. (Go). It’s called Caravela de Cascais on Rua Afonso Sanches, 19.

Where to buy food?

If you’re there for a long stay, or have rented an apartment and plan to cook/ eat at home, I absolutely LOVED the town’s market and could not recommend it more. If you’re thinking it will be super cheap because it’s the market, think again. Some of the fruit and veg can be more expensive than in big stores, and the fish will definitely be more expensive here. BUT it tastes a thousand times better, and it could not get more organic than this.

The food market is on Wednesdays and Saturdays, but there’s also little shops and restaurants, and they even have concerts and other events. You can check it out on their facebook page here.

No pictures, I ate it all.

Warning: thoroughly wash your veggies and fruit, as a few bugs are to be expected. I told you it couldn’t get more organic!

Drinks with a view

We didn’t go out much, but a place I did go to – and really loved the view – was the Cafe Galeria House of Wonders. It’s a veggie place, but don’t let that put you off if you’re not a vegan/ veggie person, as this is also an awesome place to get a drink. Just head to the rooftop and take a sip of the delicious sangria, a fruit juice, wine, beer, whatever makes it for ya. It’s very beautiful up there, promise.

Ice cream, finally

When in Cascais you should totally get a Santini Ice Cream. I mean, they have it in Lisbon now too, but kind of feel like it’s part of the ‘Cascais pack’.  The fruit flavours are what they do best, and sometimes they got really weird ones too. Try it.

Did someone say cake?

On the main avenue in the city centre you’ll also find an amazing patisserie/ bakery with an assortment of cakes and bread that will leave you drooling. At Sacolinha they’re not just about the Pasteis de Nata, everything they make/ bake is amazing and you should definitely try one of each. How? Just order loads of different miniatures (yes they make/bake them small-size!!!!) and enjoy.
I totally recommend the sugary croissant.

IMG-2870Need help planning your trip?

If you’d like more tips/ recommendations, get in touch in the comments below. I’d be more than happy to help!

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