Cascais is a great place to spend a day (or more) if you are visiting Lisbon. There is loads to see and do there, it is easy to get to from Lisbon city and you will get to experience a more laid back atmosphere there then you will in the bustling Lisbon city centre. For information on getting to Cascais from Lisbon click here.
Things To Do in Cascais:
1. Explore the Town on Foot!
The town of Cascais is really lovely and easy to navigate on foot. From narrow cobbled streets to beautifully tiled buildings and of course lots of shops (you will find a mix of big brand shops, local art and craft shops, jewellery and souvenir shops and lots more), bars and restaurants, there is something for everyone. Be sure to look out for some cool street art too! Here are some photos showing a little of what you can expect to see in Cascais.
That is the Câmara Municipal de Cascais (city/town hall) pictured below complete with religious azulejo depictions. The Cascais Visitors Centre is located to the right of the town hall, click here for GPS location.
The detail on the house below!
I love the azulejos on this house too! Read more about Portugal’s tiles here.
The very cute Taberna Clandestina that we hope to visit next time, it has great reviews for its tapas!
Not far from Taberna Clandestina is some cool street art/murals!
On one trip to Cascais we passed the most gorgeous idyllic looking B&B called Pergola House and judging by the excellent reviews online it is probably a great place to stay if you want to overnight in Cascais.
This is only a small glimpse of Cascais town, there is lots more to see and explore.
2. Relax at the Beach!
There are a few beaches in the Cascais area but the one located in the town is called Praia da Rainha. As you can see below, it is small but very nice! At the top of the steps down to the beach there is a small square where you can sit and enjoy the view, grab an ice cold drink or haggle with the local street vendors and get yourself a good deal on a beach towel, sunglasses or maybe a sarong!
There is another larger beach just on the edge of the town, on the Lisbon side, Praia da Conceição. It is located at the start of the promenade which continues all the way to Estoril and beyond.
BONUS TIP: Walking, running or cycling along the aforementioned promenade is a very popular activity and something that you could incorporate into your visit, depending on how much time you have and of course the weather. One option would be to walk some of the way (towards Lisbon) when you are finished exploring Cascais. You could go as far as Estoril and get the train back to Lisbon from there instead. There are restaurants and bars dotted along the route (some of these premises close for Winter/shoulder season) - an especially nice option on sunny day.
3. Visit the Cidadela de Cascais.
Cidadela de Cascais (Fortress of Cascais) is on the edge of the town and well worth walking around. It can be the first stop on your walk to the Boca do Inferno which is No 5 on this list! If you follow the main footpath out of Cascais (to the West) adjacent to the marina, you will see the fortress in front of you.
Within the grounds of the Fortress is the Capela de Nossa Senhora da Vitória, an art district, shops, a cafe, a seafood restaurant and an art inspired hotel with its own restaurant. These are just some of things that you will find within the walls of the Fortress.
Outside the walls of the Fortress, you will see the sculpture of a Seat Arona, pictured below. This artwork was made by Portuguese artist Alexandre Farto using 15 tonnes of cement, steel, silicone and fibreglass. The detail is insane, read more about it here.
4. Visit the Museu Condes de Castro Guimarães.
This museum is about a 5 minute walk from the fortress, continuing West out of Cascais (and also on the way to the Boca do Inferno).
The Museu Condes de Castro Guimarães is the former house of aristocrat Jorge O’Neill and was built in 1897. Later the estate, including the house, the small on-site church and its large garden was donated to the people of Cascais. It was opened to the public as a museum on July 12th, 1931. If you don’t want to visit the interior of the house, you can walk around the grounds and exterior of the house for free.
5. Walk to the Boca do Inferno.
A really nice, easy flat coastal walk is from Cascais marina all the way to Boca do Inferno (Hell’s mouth). The Boca do Inferno is a sea-arch and cliff formation.
On the way to the Boca do Inferno (having passed the aforementioned Museu Condes de Castro Guimarães), on your left you will see the Farol of Santa Maria. There is a museum inside the lighthouse and you can climb to the top its tower.
Leaving the Farol of Santa Maria behind, the walk to the Boca do Inferno takes you along the coastline and you simply follow the footpath/bike-path all the way there.
At the Boca do Inferno there is a seafood restaurant Mar do Inferno, a bar Quiosque Rocha do Inferno as well as a cafe, a souvenir shop and toilets. It was busy the day we visited, a lot of tour buses stop here.
BONUS TIP: There is a bike path from Cascais all the way to Praia do Guincho which is a really gorgeous beach. This bike path is approximately 8kms each way (16kms return from Cascais) and is really popular. The path is in great condition for the most part. If you had more time or wanted to get some exercise you could cycle, run or walk this route (or part of it). Along the way you could stop at the Cabo Raso Lighthouse and check out Praia da Arriba too. A few photos of Guincho beach below to get you interested!
Where To Eat in Cascais?
All the walking around will definitely build your appetite and you are spoiled for choice when it comes to dining options in Cascais. Below we have listed our favourite places to eat in Cascais. Of course there are lots more then the few mentioned here and there is even a Burger King and a McDonald’s.
Our Top Two Vegetarian & Vegan Restaurants:
If you are vegan or vegetarian the following two places are absolutely fantastic in Cascais.
Dona Flor Cafe & Bistro
We had a great time in the Dona Flor Cafe & Bistro. The staff were really friendly and helpful. The menu had lots of great options and the interior is really cute.
The food was really good, fresh, wholesome and home cooked. We both went for the daily special as the aroma of it cooking hit us the minute we walked in the door and we were sold. Click here for GPS location.
Our starter to share:
The main course, their dish of the day:
Cafe Galeria House of Wonders
We have been to Cafe Galeria House of Wonders four times and it has been consistently great.
According to their website and translated courtesy of Google - Cafe Galeria House of Wonders is a:
“Vegetarian restaurant with numerous vegan options whose main concept is the Mezze! Legumes, vegetables and fresh fruits respecting the seasonality of each food. “Farm to table” from the farm to the table is our aim, we privilege the products of the Portuguese land, but we accept the best of each country! Our food is an explosion of flavours constantly changing, with a great emphasis on spices! Respect for the land, animals and multiculturalism are our pillars alongside the fight against food waste.”
It has a large outdoor street level terrace area (not pictured here) as well as a rooftop terrace which is really gorgeous on a sunny day, you can even see the sea. You have the option of sitting indoors downstairs too. Below are a few photos of the downstairs indoor seating area and food ordering area:
I love the decor of Cafe Galeria House of Wonders, there is some cool art on display and as you can see the interior and outdoor spaces are really colourful and nicely maintained. As seems to be the norm here in Portugal the staff are lovely too.
One photo of the rooftop terrace below, it was too busy to take more photos, that table wasn’t vacant for long!
Some of the delicious food we have had there:
Click here for GPS location.
Our Top Not Strictly Vegan/Vegetarian Favourites!
Both of these places would also suit someone who is vegetarian as they do offer meat free dishes.
The Tasting Room
First up is this great (always busy) wine and tapas place called The Tasting Room. I have absolutely no photos of here as we were having such a great night catching up with friends there was no time for photos! Inside is small but comfortable. There is an insanely large wine menu (+250) and the staff are great - plenty of banter to be had with them! We really enjoyed the tapas we choose and the wine was so good, we will definitely be going back.
We had a really delicious lunch and some lovely rosé in the Pistachio Bar (which is actually a restaurant/bistro). They have a great selection of cakes also and their coffee is good. There is outdoor seating on a cobbled pedestrian street that really catches the sun, a perfect place to sit and people watch. Nice menu selection and the food was good.
BONUS TIP: While we haven’t been there yet, the Indian restaurant Masala is meant to be well worth a visit, you can read all the 5 star reviews online! Of course you will find vegetarian and vegan options there too.
I’m going to leave this here (for now anyway), I hope you found this guide useful and enjoy your own trip to Cascais!