Cascais is a coast town in Portugal with a long history dating back to the Roman Empire.
It played an important role in Portugal's Age of Discovery, became a tourist town for European aristocrats, and was a center of espionage during World War II. Today, it is a popular tourist destination known for its beaches and historical attractions.
Some of the most iconic attractions in Cascais
Boca do Inferno
: Boca do Inferno is a cliff area located on the Guia Coast, west of the town of Cascais. The natural rock formation features a large arch and a small cave that is known for the thundering sound of the waves crashing against the rocks.
: A local gastronomic center with more than 12 small restaurants, where different gastronomic options and entertainment are not lacking.
Cascais Old Town
: The historic center of Cascais is a charming area with narrow streets, colorful houses, and a variety of stores, restaurants, and cafes. Visitors can explore the many museums and galleries in the old town.
Casa da Guia
: located on a cliff overlooking the sea, a fully restored 19th century Palace has become a popular attraction in Cascais, with several restaurants, cafes and stores.
: Cascais Marina is a busy space, with sailboats and yachts coming and going throughout the day. Visitors can take a leisurely stroll along the waterfront, dine at one of the many restaurants, or take a boat ride to explore the surrounding coastline.
: Guincho Beach is a popular spot for surfers and windsurfers, due to its strong winds and waves. The beach is also known for its stunning views of the Atlantic Ocean and the Sintra Mountains.
: The stunning “Paredão” is the perfect place for a nice walk. With 2,750 meters it connects Cascais to Estoril, always next to the beaches.
: The Museum Quarter is located in the center of Cascais and is an area dedicated to culture in the village, where you can find several museums. Link: https://bairrodosmuseus.cascais.pt/
“Casa das Histórias Paula Rego”
: In this house are exposed several works of the famous Portuguese artist. Link: https://casadashistoriaspaularego.com/
: The Cascais Citadel is a historical fortress that dates back to the 16th century. Visitors can explore and learn about the fortress' history, including its use as a royal residence and military barracks.
Tips from a local resident in Cascais
An important piece of advice
If you get the chance, you can't miss out on trying Santini ice cream!
Santini is a famous ice cream shop in Portugal that was founded in 1949, and has become a beloved in Cascais and beyond.
The Royal Family of Spain and King Juan Carlos, have been long-time fans of Santini ice cream.
Santini is known for its high quality handmade ice cream, which is made with natural ingredients and no artificial preservatives.
In 2022, "Financial Time" placed Santini's in the top 25 of "The World's greatest The-cream stores".
: Alameda dos Combatentes da Grande Guerra 100, 2750-326 Cascais.
4 curious facts about the history of Cascais
- Cascais was once a small fishing village, but became popular with the Portuguese royal family in the late 19th century.
King Luís I turned Cascais into a summer retreat for the royal family and built a palace there. Many of the large buildings that can be seen in Cascais today were built during this time.
- During World War II, Cascais played a significant role as a spy center for the Allies. The neutral status of the town and its proximity to Lisbon made it an ideal location for espionage activities. Many Allied agents lived and worked in Cascais during the war, and the town became known as a "nest of spies".
- In the early 20th century, Cascais was a popular destination for wealthy visitors from all over the world, including European aristocrats, American tycoons, and Hollywood stars. The town's glamorous reputation attracted famous names such as Edward VIII (the Duke of Windsor), Coco Chanel, and Aristotle Onassis.
- During the 1970s, Cascais became a center of counterculture and political activism in Portugal. The town's bohemian community was known for its alternative lifestyle and political dissidence, and attracted artists, writers, and intellectuals from around the world. Today, Cascais is a popular destination for visitors who want to explore the town's fascinating history and enjoy its many attractions.
Typical Gastronomy of Cascais
Cascais is a coast town in Portugal, and its cuisine is strongly influenced by the sea.
The town has a rich gastronomic tradition, with many restaurants offering fresh seafood dishes and other regional specialties.
Get to know some typical dishes of Cascais:
- Seafood: Fresh fish and seafood are the highlights of Cascais cuisine. Grilled sardines, octopus salad, clams and shrimp are just some of the many delicious seafood dishes that can be found in local restaurants. Codfish is also a popular dish in Portugal, and is often served in Cascais with potatoes and onions.
If you want seafood while enjoying a fantastic view of the Atlantic Ocean, try our own Restaurant, Monte Mar Cascais (free transfer from the Hotel, 3 min. away).
- Seafood Rice: Seafood Rice is a traditional seafood rice dish that is popular in many coastal towns in Portugal. It is made with rice, fish broth, and a variety of seafood such as clams, shrimp, and squid.
- "Amêijoas à Bulhão Pato": This is a classic Portuguese dish made with clams, garlic, olive oil, and cilantro. The clams are cooked in a broth made with white wine, garlic and olive oil, and then garnished with fresh coriander. It is a simple but delicious dish that is a must in Cascais.
- "Bifana": "Bifana" is a popular sandwich made with thin slices of pork marinated in garlic and spices and then cooked on a grill. The meat is served on a bun with mustard and hot sauce.
3 best beaches in Cascais
- Guincho Beach: This is one of the most popular and beautiful beaches in Cascais, located a few kilometers from the town. It is famous for its large extension of sand, big waves and windy conditions, which make it ideal for surfing and windsurfing.
- Cresmina Beach: This is a stunning beach that is located at the bottom of the Sintra Mountains. It is a long beach, surrounded by dunes and pine forests, making it a perfect place for a stroll or a picnic. The beach is also popular with surfers, especially during the winter months.
- Conceição Beach: This is a small and charming beach located in the center of Cascais, right next to the Cascais Marina. The beach is surrounded by rocks and cliffs, which gives it a unique character.