A Sunny Day Trip from Lisbon to Cascais

Portugal is like an old treasure box. This box contains a lot of everything: from artifacts to modern art.

To appreciate this country you cannot do it in just one day, and certainly not one trip. If you have been here at least once, be sure to come back here again. Portugal is like a drug, each time you want even more emotions and new sensations.

You are welcomed by an infinite number of museums with magnificent collections. Palaces with elegant and modest interiors. Authentic locks. Many churches. Magnificent parks, with fancy trees, secret passages, lurking sculptures. Cobbled streets, with fancy patterns. Modern art objects.

Portugal, turning away from the entire mainland, took a tidbit of hundreds of kilometers of beaches. Here everyone will find a corner for themselves, whether you are a lover of water sports or just want to bask in the sun, take a break from the city rush and people.

In the very capital of Portugal, built on the banks of the Tagus, there is nowhere to swim. The beaches of Lisbon begin a few kilometers from the city, with the Lisbon Riviera (Carcavelos, Estoril, Cascais) – the holiday destination chosen by the rich Portuguese a hundred years ago. There are excellent promenades along the coast.  A little further away is the “Mecca of Surfers” – the shallow water Praia do Guincho, (the corresponding championships are held here).

Surfing, image sourced from Pixabay

The beaches of the town of Costa da Caparica (on the other side of the Tagus estuary) are suitable for a standard holiday, here a strip of sand stretches for twenty kilometers, there are landscaped areas, nudist and deserted places.

Several beaches can be found to the west of Sintra – although swimming is comfortable only in September, there is an outdoor pool (ocean water) and secluded coves. Well, of course – Troy. The peninsula with excellent views of Arrabida National Park and white sand beaches.

Cascais Beaches

20-30 minutes by train from Lisbon

Map of Cascais beaches

Pros

Easy accessibility (by train from Cais do Sodré station), has everything you need (cafes and restaurants, lifeguards, entertainment).

Cons

The average quality of water isn’t the best during peak touist season as there are a lot of people and beaches are small, almost touching the mouth of the river.

Praia da Azarujinha

This is a picturesque beach, its shape is similar to the theater stage, which is surrounded by cliffs.

The beach is hidden behind the cliffs, but its territory has everything you need for a comfortable stay – bars, restaurants, an ambulance station, lifeguards, umbrellas and lounge chairs to rent. There are also showers, toilets, and disability access to the beach.  In addition, on the beach you can go fishing.

Praia da Bafureira

Cliffside at Praia da Bafureira, imaged sourced from Lisbonne-Idée

This is a small beach that surrounds a high cliff, a favorite place for surfers to relax. You can reach the beach by going down the long and high stairs. The beach has everything for recreation and surfing.

Praia da Conceição

It is the beach between the Albtroz and Charlet hotels, which is located near the train station. In turn, the presence of a transport hub makes the beach very popular among tourists and locals.

The beach is under the supervision of lifeguards and medical staff, and there is everything you need to relax – toilets, changing rooms, showers, bars and cafes. In addition, on the beach you can windsurf, fish or swim, and hire kayaks and yachts.

Praia da Duquesa

This is a beach side by side with the aforementioned Praia da Conceição. The beach is great for diving (there is a diving school), and the water here is very clean and clea with great visibility. On the beach you can rent a yacht or windsurf.

Praia da Grota

Here we have a miniature sandy beach of Cascais, located between the rocks. Its length does not exceed 50 meters. This is one that nudists love!

Praia da Parede

As one of the best beaches of Cascais, people flock here to dine at cafes and restaurants overlooking the sea. Here, over a glass of wine you can meet the sunset and admire the beautiful scenery of nature. On the beach there are lifeguards.

Praia da Rainha

This is a sandy beach, access to which is only by stairs. The beach is located near the central area of Cascais and the railway station. Praia da Rainha is one of the favorite beaches of the kings of Portugal.

Praia de Rainha, image by Ruth Salvadinho sourced from Pixabay

Praia da Poça

Another sandy beach with good open-air cafes and restaurants that overlook Velho and the fort “Forte da Cavadeira”. The beach is bordered by the local landmarks of Cascais, and there are casinos and bars nearby. Traditionally, the beach has toilets, showers, changing rooms, bars, umbrellas and deck chairs.

Praia das Avencas

Also a sandy beach that can only be reached on foot. Car parking is located at a distance. On the beach there is a cafe with the same name. The beach is suitable for diving and in this area you can spot a huge number of marine animals.

Praia das Moitas

Again, another sandy beach, but swimming is hampered by the presence of sharp stones and protrusions in the water. Here you should be careful not to injure your legs. There is a medical center on the beach, lifeguards, chairs and umbrellas are rented, there are restaurants and cafes. Perhaps this is a better place to sunbathe with a cocktail than actually swim?

Praia de Cacavelos

Here is one of the largest and most popular beaches in Cascais for surfing and windsurfing. The waves on the beach reach an excellent height, so that international competitions are held here. Here are all the traditional facilities of services. On the beach they also play football and volleyball.

Praia de Santa Marta

Voilà voilà the sandiest beach of Cascais, which used to be the private beach of rich Count Guimaraes. To get to the beach you can go through the old palace (now a museum). The beach is used only for sightseeing, and tourists do not tend to stay here, but near the beach there are several bars and nightclubs so you won’t get bored.

Praia de Santa Marta, image by José Caeiros (2016) sourced from Pinterest

Praia de São Pedro do Estoril

This is a sandy beach surrounded by a huge cliff, which is used by skilled fishermen for sport fishing. The beach is also suitable for surfers as the waves here are high. In addition, it is easy to park a car. Arriving by public transport is also easy as there is a  railway station nearby.

You can find two large cafes with beautiful terraces, a windsurfing school, changing rooms, showers, toilets, a camping park, and a medical aid station.

Praia do Abano

Praia do Abano in 2009, image by Rosino sourced from Wikimedia Commons

This is a sandy beach with noisy sea and strong winds. The beach has everything you need to relax, but parking is not available. Praia do Abano is suitable for surfing and fishing.

Adjacent to the Praia do Abano beach, it is located in the dune zone, with a strong north wind blowing. Warning: this beach is dangerous for those who swim poorly!

If you don’t feel very comfortable in the water, you can always sunbathe and then relax in the luxurious restaurants and bars located near the 5-star Guncho Hotel.

Praia do Tamariz

Restaurante Praia do Tamariz, image sourced from TripAdvisor

Yes, another sandy beach. It is adjacent to the Cascais train station and bus terminal, but there is no parking. Nearby are several restaurants and nightclubs, where there are discos and various events. From the beach there is a tunnel to the gardens of Estoril Casino, there are many tourist shops and a free saltwater pool.

Tourist Activities of Cascais

Acquaintance with Cascais should start with a walk along the coast. The map of Cascais will present the streets where historical monuments are concentrated.

In addition, here you can find areas with many shops and boutiques of world famous brands, as well as entertainment complexes and night clubs. In turn, the map of Cascais with hotels will tell travelers the best options for their stay.

Just 3 kilometers from Cascais are the Gates of Hell – an exciting natural phenomenon with a cave in the rock, into which the Atlantic during the tide drives the bubbling foamy water.

Hell’s Gates or Boca de Inferno, image sourced from Cascais-Portugal tourism website

Further, following along the coast of Praia do Guincho beach, you will pass beautiful beaches with very hard and dangerous waves, attracting many surfers to the area of red warning flags.

There are also restaurants serving first-class seafood, where they cook clams and small lobsters, known as “bruxas” (witches). Nearby is the famous Quinta da Marinha complex, where you can play golf or ride a horse.

Areas in the center of Cascais are located near the main beach and the city’s port. In turn, right next to the Marina of Cascais is the Marechal Carmona Park, the Museum de Santa Marta and the lighthouse. Also, near the port is the fortress and the fortress walls of Fortaleza de Nossa Senhora de Luz.

Visit Cascais with Kids

Photo by Vidar Nordli-Mathisen sourced from Unsplash

Family vacations with children in Cascais are popular among many European tourists, since the cost of accommodation and meals here are cheaper compared to the resorts of Spain and Italy. It is also a very calm and generally safe part of the Portuguese coast, where they can roam free and explore nature, under a watchful eye of course!

Most of the beaches of Cascais are ideal for families with children, the beaches are clean and safe for swimming. Note that in the summer, many families living in the capital, come to stay on the beaches of Cascais.

Entertainment in Cascais

Kids will have fun in the pools near hotels, in local cafes and entertainment centers. It should be noted that the Portuguese are very fond of children, so they will always be welcome everywhere.

Entertainment in nearby Lisbon

Active parents can travel with children to Lisbon, where they will find:

Big Zoo

The cost of tickets to the zoo of Lisbon is 14 EUR for children 3–11 years old and 19.50 EUR for children over 12 years old and adults.

Oceanarium

The cost of a ticket to the aquarium is 9–11 EUR for a child aged 4–12 years, 14–17 EUR for over 13 years and adults.

Park of the Nations

In Expo Park you can visit with children in the Knowledge Pavilion, where there is an interactive museum of science and technology.

Cacais Nightlife

Cascais nightlife is concentrated in clubs located in the central areas of the resort. In addition, most of them hold noisy bright discos. The area of lively nightlife in the resort is located near the beaches of the Cascais train and bus station.

In the evening, guests in resorts can plunge into the atmosphere of folk festivals under Portuguese tradition or dance on the dance floor to crazy disco music. Cascais nightclubs are almost always located near the sea.

A 15-minute walk from the noisy discos and the center of Cascais in the west side is the marina, where there are also many bars, cafes and restaurants. It should not be forgotten that the largest in Europe casino Estoril operates in Cascais, in which its life flows. It hosts concerts, various evening events and shows. Also, near the port there is a large disco club “Coco” with 2 dance floors and a karaoke bar.

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