15 things to do in Cascais in Portugal

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It is no secret that Cascais in Portugal is one of the best day trips from Lisbon. This charming town, located only about a 30-minute drive away from the capital, has a lot to offer. Cascais began its life as a sleepy fishing village. However, its perfect scenery attracted the attention of Portuguese royalty and artists. Today Cascais is a seaside perfection. It is a top holiday destination on the Lisbon coastline. It may be a small seaside town, but there are many epic things to do in Cascais in Portugal.

day trip from Lisbon to Cascais

If Cascais is still not on your radar, it should be.

 

What is Cascais in Portugal famous for?

Cascais is a coastal town famous for its golden bays, which attract holidaymakers who want to enjoy idyllic beaches, surfing and fresh seafood. This pretty resort is known for the best beaches in the area, luxurious hotels, upscale restaurants, museums and parks. The tranquil atmosphere, coastal trails and promenade make Cascais one of the best seaside destinations in Portugal.

what to do in Cascais

Charming Cascais is the ideal base for exploring the region’s gems.

 

Epic things to do in Cascais in Portugal

Cascais in Portugal: Cascais in Portugal is one of the best day trips from Lisbon because this coastal city is famous for its golden bays. This pretty resort is known for the best beaches in the area, luxurious hotels, upscale restaurants, museums and parks. The tranquil atmosphere, coastal trails and promenade make Cascais one of the best seaside destinations in Portugal.

To make your trip memorable, here are the best things to do in Cascais in Portugal you need to know about.

 

1. Cascais old town

The Old Town has beautiful cobbled streets, small squares, and sidewalks paved with mosaics in various patterns. But that is not all – the old town is also very cosy, has many little cafes, shops and restaurants. It is also pedestrian friendly.

One of the first activities on your list of things to do in Cascais in Portugal needs to be exploring the old town. As you already know, this small town has been a summer retreat for royalty for many years. Because of that, it is steep in history, and the architecture in Cascais old town reflect its grand history.

Cascais old town has managed to retain its character. Yes, that is right, the Old Town has beautiful cobbled streets, small squares, and sidewalks paved with mosaics in various patterns. But that is not all – the old town is also very cosy, has many little cafes, shops and restaurants. It is also pedestrian friendly.

things to do in Cascais: One of the first activities on your list of things to do in Cascais in Portugal needs to be exploring Cascais old town. As you already know, this small town has been a summer retreat for royalty for many years. Because of that, it is steep in history, and the architecture in Cascais old town reflect its grand history.

If possible, wake up early and wander through pastel-painted streets early in the morning before holidaymakers come. See beautiful townhouses covered with the country’s famous tiles and bougainvillaea trees. The famous Praca 5 de Outubro has many charming bars and restaurants. However, more authentic bars are in the more residential parts of the town.

 

2. Boca do Inferno

Boca do Inferno: Many years ago, the Boca do Inferno was a sea cave - it collapsed and created a sea arch. Today, the Boca do Inferno is one of the top attractions in the town. It is also a popular place to watch the sunset.

Visiting the Boca do Inferno also deserves to be on a list of the best things to do in Cascais in Portugal. The Boca do Inferno, or the Hell’s Mouth in English, is one of the most famous landmarks in the area. Many years ago, the Boca do Inferno was a sea cave – it collapsed and created a sea arch.

During the winter storms, the powerful Atlantic continuously crashes into the arch. The water explodes upwards, similar to erupting volcanoes. Hence, the name the Boca do Inferno (Hell’s mouths).

things to do in Cascais: Visiting the Boca do Inferno also deserves to be on a list of the best things to do in Cascais in Portugal. It is because the power of the waves shaped this unusual rock formation and created the sea arch. Today the Boca do Inferno is one of the most famous landmarks in Cascais in Portugal.

The power of the waves shaped this unusual rock formation and created the sea arch.

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The Boca do Inferno is a popular place to watch the sunset. The viewing platform provides the best views of the area. You can find it along the promenade, about a 20-minute walk from the marina. The route follows the coastal trail, and you can find a few souvenir stalls and a café nearby.

 

3. Praia da Rainha in Cascais, Portugal

Praia da Rainha: Praia da Rainha is the most popular beach in Cascais in Portugal. Even though Praia da Rainha is the smallest beach in the town, but it's also the most picturesque beach. It has a secluded location, dramatic rock formations and soft yellow sands. It has calm shallow waters, which are perfect for children.

Whatever you do, do not leave Cascais in Portugal without visiting its beaches. There are a few city beaches to choose from, but Praia da Rainha is the most famous one.

In the past, Praia da Rainha was a private beach for Queen Amelia. She used to swim in the calm waters here. Hence, the name Queen’s Beach.

But that is not the only reason why Praia da Rainha is the most popular beach in the town. Praia da Rainha is the smallest beach in Cascais, but it is also the most picturesque beach. It has a secluded location, dramatic rock formations and soft yellow sands. It has calm shallow waters, which are perfect for children.

things to do in Cascais: Relaxing on Praia da Rainha is one of the best things to do in Cascais in Portugal during the summer. Even though this little cove is small, it is one of the best beaches in the town. The Praia da Rainha has a secluded location, dramatic rock formations and soft yellow sands. It also has calm shallow waters, which are perfect for children.

Relaxing on Praia da Rainha is one of the best things to do in Cascais in Portugal during the summer. Even though this little cove is only about 50 metres (164 feet) long, it is one of the best beaches in the town.

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You can find the Praia da Rainha just a short walk from to town centre and a train station. Praia da Rainha has toilets and a bar, you can rent sun-loungers here. The beachside bar offers a good selection of salads, sandwiches and refreshing drinks.

 

4. Santa Marta Lighthouse in Cascais, Portugal

things to do in Cascais: Exploring the Santa Maria Lighthouse is one of the top things to do in Cascais in Portugal. It is because this attractive lighthouse is a part of the leisure and cultural centre. The lighthouse is also one of the most popular photo spots in Cascais in Portugal.

You cannot visit Cascais in Portugal without seeing the Santa Marta Lighthouse. More than 150 years old white and blue striped lighthouse is one of the most popular photo spots in the town. This impressive lighthouse has been guiding ships and providing light for Cascais Bay for centuries.

Cascais in Portugal: You can't visit Cascais in Portugal without seeing the Santa Marta Lighthouse. The white and blue lighthouse is one of the most popular photo spots in the town. It has been guiding ships and providing light for Cascais Bay for centuries. The Santa Marta Lighthouse also houses a museum. Even though it is small, it tells the story of lighthouses in Portugal and the keepers’ lives.

The Santa Marta lighthouse is not only a part of the coastal signalling systems, but it is also a museum.

Architects completely restored this pretty lighthouse some time ago. Nowadays visiting the Santa Maria Lighthouse is one of the best things to do in Cascais. It is because this attractive lighthouse is a part of the leisure and cultural centre. Yes, that is right, this working lighthouse also houses a museum. Even though the museum is small, it tells the story of lighthouses in Portugal and the keepers’ lives. Plus, you can see lighthouse lenses and other related artefacts. After watching a short documentary about the lighthouses, don’t forget to go to the top. From there, you can enjoy uninterrupted views of the nearby area.

GOOD TO KNOW:

The entrance fee to the Santa Maria Lighthouse is 5 euros. It includes admission to the nearby Casa de Santa Maria. Bear in mind though it is not open on Mondays and Tuesdays.

 

5. Praia da Ribeira de Cascais

Praia da Ribeira: The Praia da Ribeira is a popular beach for those who are making a pitstop in the town. This small beach, located close to the square and old town, is one of the most photographed beaches in Cascais in Portugal. It is because it has views of fishing boats and the Seixas Palace, which is also one of the landmarks in the town.

Want to spend a day on the beach while exploring Cascais only for a few hours? Then the centrally located Praia da Ribeira might be a good option for you. This small beach, located close to the square and old town, is one of the most photographed beaches in Cascais. It is because it has views of fishing boats and the Seixas Palace, which is also one of the landmarks in the town. The locals refer to this beach also the ‘’Fishermen’s Beach’’ due to the presence of fishing boats.

things to do in Cascais in Portugal: Spending a day on Praia da Ribeira is one of the top things to do in Cascais in Portugal. It is because this small beach is one of the best beaches in the town. Moreover, Praia da Ribeira is located close to the square and old town and it has pretty views of fishing boats and the Seixas Palace.

The Praia da Ribeira is a popular beach for those who are making a pitstop in Cascais.

Wave-patterned cobblestone pavement leads to the Praia da Ribeira, which is popular with tourists who stay at hotels nearby. The Praia da Ribeira is a pleasant place to soak up the sunshine and watch the world go by. The water here is calm, which also makes it popular with families. The volleyball nets are also an attraction here.

 

6.Parque Marechal Carmona

things to do in Cascais: Strolling through the Parque Marechal Carmona is one of the best things to do in Cascais in Portugal because this park offers a shady retreat from the seaside crowds. Moreover, you can find the Condes de Castro Guimarães Museum inside the park. Also, the eye-catching Paula Rego Museum is nearby.

If you are interested in exploring parks, it is worth visiting the Parque Marechal Carmona. Strolling through the Parque Marechal Carmona is one of the best things to do in Cascais in Portugal because this park offers a shady retreat from the seaside crowds. This leafy park near the old town centre has large lawns, beautiful ornamental gardens and different vegetation types. It also has pretty water features such as fountains and a duck pond. You can also spot turtles in the water and hens and peacocks roaming freely.

The Parque Marechal Carmona is one of the top attractions in the town because it offers an escape from the crowds on the beach. Not far from here, you can also find Paula Rego Museum and the Condes de Castro Guimarães Museum.

Moreover, you can find the Condes de Castro Guimarães Museum inside the park. Also, the eye-catching Paula Rego Museum is just across the road from the park.

 

7. Citadel of Cascais

things to do in Cascais: It's easy to see why visiting the Citadel of Cascais is one of the best things to do in Cascais. This beautiful fortification defended the town from foreign invasions. The fortress was later the summer residence of the royal family. Today the Citadel of Cascais is a popular attraction because it houses a museum, a luxury hotel and an Arts Centre.

It is easy to see why visiting the Citadel is one of the best things to do in Cascais. This beautiful fortification has played a crucial role in the history of Portugal. Yes, that is right, the Citadel of Cascais used to defend the town from foreign invasions.

This fort, situated on a hill overlooking the town, was a part of a fortification system to protect Lisbon. It defended the Cascais coastline and also River Tagus. The fortress was later transformed into the summer residence of the royal family.

Citadel of Cascais used to defend the town from foreign invasions. Today, the Citadel is one of the top attractions in Cascais in Portugal because it houses a luxury hotel and an Arts Centre. The Pestana Cidadela Cascais is one of the first hotels in Europe with an Art District on site. There is also a museum in the citadel, where you can learn more about Portuguese history and the royal family.

The earthquake and tsunami in 1755 devastated not only Lisbon, but  also caused significant damage to the citadel. Afterwards, the rebuilt fort and tower played an important defensive role during the Napoleonic Wars.

After extensive renovations, the Citadel of Cascais houses a museum, a luxury hotel and an Arts Centre. The luxurious Pestana Cidadela Cascais is one of the first hotels in Europe with an Art District on site. This historic hotel built in a 17th-century fort has a prime location in the town. You can also find a museum in the citadel, where you can learn more about Portuguese history and the royal family.

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8. Cascais Marina

things to do in Cascais: Exploring the Marina is one of the best things to do in Cascais because the Cascais Marina is the largest dock on the Portuguese Riviera. The third largest marina in the country regularly hosts luxury and high-profile sailing events.

Did you know that the Cascais Marina is the largest dock on the Portuguese Riviera and the third largest marina in the country? Yes, that is right, the harbour beneath the citadel’s walls is a popular stop for leisure vessels which pass the Portuguese Coast.

The Cascais Marina has an excellent location – you can find it only a short walk away from the touristy town centre. This large marina is more than just a protected stretch of seawater. The marina regularly hosts luxury and high-profile sailing events. Plus, its scenery is also beautiful.

Walk around the harbour and see numerous vessels moored here. Afterwards, visit boutique shops and enjoy drinks in one of the bars or restaurants.

 

9. Museum Condes de Castro Guimarães in Cascais

things to do in Cascais: If you are interested in visiting museums when in Cascais in Portugal, you should pop into the Museum Condes de Castro Guimarães. Exploring the Museum Condes de Castro Guimarães is one of the best things to do in Cascais in Portugal because this building with an impression of a medieval castle is one of the most beautiful buildings in the town.

If you are interested in visiting museums, you should pop into the Museum Condes de Castro Guimarães. Many years ago, this 19th-century mansion, with castle turrets and an Arabic cloister, was home to the 1st Count of Castro Guimarães. After his death, he donated this house to the state as a museum. Today this museum is a famous landmark in the city. It is because this building with an impression of a medieval castle is one of the most beautiful buildings in the town.

The museum has a lavishly decorated interior and paintings of national and international significance. The St Sebastian’s Tower, as some call it, also houses Indo-Portuguese cabinets, oriental silk tapestries, jewellery and 350-years old azulejos tiles. It also has a library and a small chapel on the grounds.

 

10. Casa das Histórias Paula Rego

things to do in Cascais: Visiting the Casa das Historias Paula Rego is one of the best things to do in Cascais because this art museum hosts an exhibition of the Portuguese-British artist Paula Rego. The eye-catching Casa das Historias Paula Rego is, therefore, one of the top attractions in Cascais in Portugal.

Just a stone’s throw away from here you will find the Casa das Historias Paula Rego. This eye-catching building is also one of the top attractions in the town. The Casa das Historias Paula Rego is an art museum dedicated to the Portuguese-British artist Paula Rego. Yes, that is right, two red pyramid-like towers house exhibitions of some of her works. The collection consists of paintings and drawings covering 50 years of her career. And do not worry – there is a clear explanatory text both in Portuguese and English.

Visiting the Casa das Historias Paula Rego is one of the best things to do in Cascais in Portugal because it hosts an exhibition of Rego’s paintings and graphic art. Hence, do not miss it if you are an art lover.

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You will also find here a shop and a café.

 

11. A day trip from Cascais to Sintra

things to do in Cascais: A day trip to Sintra is one of the best things to do in Cascais because it is a fascinating place to explore. Yes, that is right, Sintra is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and is world-famous for its beautiful palaces. There are several fairy-tale palaces and castles you can explore, and you will easily spend a whole day here.

Those who are staying in the town for longer should consider visiting Sintra. A day trip to Sintra is one of the best things to do in Cascais because it is a fascinating place to explore. Yes, that is right, Sintra is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and is world-famous for its beautiful palaces. There are several fairy-tale palaces and castles you can explore. The most famous is undoubtedly the colourful Pena Palace – which is one of the symbols of Sintra. But, Sintra draws the crowds and becomes overwhelming later during the day. Hence, plan your visit accordingly.

GOOD TO KNOW:

The journey from Cascais to Sintra takes about 30 minutes by car. Alternatively, two bus services connect Sintra and Cascais ( a number 403 and 417). They both start at Cascais bus station and Sintra trains station. The number 417 is the faster bus (30 minutes), while the 403 is a more scenic drive (1 hour).

READ MORE:

SINTRA IN PORTUGAL – THE BEST THINGS TO DO

best things to do in Sintra in Portugal

 

12. Praia do Guincho

The Praia do Guincho is by all means one of the most famous beaches located just around the corner from Cascais in Portugal. This large stretch of white sand with green hills in the background is a famous beach for the locals. But the contrast of sand dunes and the mountain range is not the only reason to visit this beach.

The Praia do Guincho is a part of the Serra de Sintra National Park. This unspoilt beach is a perfect place for a walk or if you want to top up your vitamin D. However, bear in mind that it can get quite windy here.

Yes, that is right, the Praia do Guincho faces directly into the Atlantic Ocean, making it a popular place for water sports experts. This beach has powerful currentsideal for kite-surfing and windsurfing during the summer. During the winter, the wind blows from the east, which makes it a favourite place for surfers.

Spending a day on a Praia do Guincho is one of the best things to do in Cascais in Portugal if you are a water enthusiast. It is an ideal place for watching a sunset or a picnic. The Praia do Guincho has powerful waves and sea currents. Therefore, the beach is not a good option for families with children.

 

13. Cabo da Roca

things to do in Cascais in Portugal: Even though you won’t find beaches here, visiting Cabo da Roca is one of the best things to do in Cascais in Portugal. It is because Cabo da Roca is the westernmost point of mainland Europe. Tourists flock here to see dramatic cliffs, the impressive Atlantic Ocean and a lighthouse. There are also several hiking trails along the sea coast, which offer breathtaking views of the rocky shore.

Drive about 25 minutes north of Cascais, and you will get to Cabo da Roca. Cabo da Roca is one of those places which attracts thousands of tourists. Even though you won’t find beaches here, visiting Cabo da Roca is one of the best things to do in Cascais in Portugal. It is because Cabo da Roca is the westernmost point of mainland Europe. Tourists flock here to see dramatic cliffs, the impressive Atlantic Ocean and a lighthouse. There are several hiking trails along the sea coast, which offer breathtaking views of the rocky shore.

GOOD TO KNOW:

The bus from Cascais to Cabo da Roca leaves from the Cascais Villa shopping centre at least twice per hour between 10 am – 6 pm. Expect to pay around 35 euros if travelling by taxi.

 

14. Mercado da Vila de Cascais

Mercado Da Vila: If you fancy shopping for some fresh produce, stop at Mercado da Vila. Mercado da Vila is a local market, which you can find just a short walk from the town centre. The market sells everything from fruits, vegetables, and meat, to cheese – it is a feast for the eyes and your stomach. You can also find here restaurants and try authentic Portuguese meals.

If you fancy shopping for some fresh produce, stop at Mercado da Vila. Mercado da Vila is a local market, which you can find just a short walk from the town centre. The market sells everything from fruits, vegetables, and meat, to cheese – it is a feast for the eyes and your stomach. You can also find here restaurants and try authentic Portuguese meals. The market runs every day, but the best time to visit is on Wednesdays and Saturdays.

15. Walk along the promenade from Cascais to Estoril

If walking is your thing, then do not miss the Cascais-Estoril Promenade. This wide seafront promenade connects Cascais with nearby Estoril. The wide boulevard with plenty of bars and restaurants stretches for 3 kilometres (almost two miles). The boardwalk hugs the coastline above the sands and passes some of the best local beaches in the area. The Cascais-Estoril promenade is ideal for walking, jogging, and also cycling.

Strolling along the Cascais-Estoril promenade is one of the best things to do in Cascais. It’s because the boardwalk is perfect for a pleasant walk with many bars along the way. The promenade goes all the way to the beautiful Praia do Tamariz. It is a lovely beach with light waves and views of the castle. Not far from there is the Casino Estoril – one of the biggest casinos in Europe.

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On the way back, you can retrace your steps to Cascais or hop on the train instead.

 

How to get to Cascais from Lisbon

how to get to Cascais from Lisbon

Getting to Cascais from Lisbon is easy. All you need to do is to catch a direct train from Cais do Sodre train station, which has regular departures to Cascais. You can buy tickets from ticket offices or vending machines (with English instructions). Trains leave the station about four times per hour during the day (usually from platform two). The journey from Cais do Sodre train station to Cascais takes approximately 40 minutes.

Now you know what are the best things to do in Cascais in Portugal!

Have you been to Cascais in Portugal? Did we miss anything? Please let us know in the comments below. If you like our post, please save it to Pinterest.

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