We want to tell you about our favourite places. Our favourite food. What we enjoy doing most. A small introduction to this wonderful city we have fallen in love with.
We want you to explore, to discover the wild stretches of sand at Guincho beach, to travel to centuries past amidst the medieval charms of Sintra, to wander through the cramped little streets of old Lisbon in Alfama and get lost in the colorful facades of Príncipe Real.
We want you to fall in love as we did.
The laid-back feel of this picturesque town is perfect for those seeking a chic, leisurely destination to unwind by the sea. Horse-riding by the beach, world-class surfing locations, some of Europe’s best golf courses and luxury yachts blend in perfectly with the wild stretches of sand at Guincho beach and the decades-old boats at the fishermen's bay.
Amidst sprawling green mountains, dewy forests and glittering fairytale palaces rests the medieval town of Sintra. With a true feeling of traveling back in time, its UNESCO World Heritage sites provide for some extraordinary scenery; pastel-hued manors and baroque palaces fold into lush green hills that roll down to the blue backdrop of the Atlantic Ocean.
The city's postcard-perfect landscape of terracotta roofs, winding cobblestone alleways, ancient ruins and azulejo-filled facades is as captivating as it is exciting - a recipe that has been crafted over almost a millenia of existence.
Home to 4 Michelin-starred restaurants, Lisbon and Cascais are established gourmet destinations. Local gastronomy blends with a new wave of Chefs and tendencies to give a modern twist on traditional food. The proximity to the coast means guaranteed fresh fish and seafood.
Discover the wild stretches of sand at Guincho beach, travel to centuries past amidst the medieval charms of Sintra or wander through the cramped little streets of old Lisbon in Alfama - whatever you’re looking for, there is something for you.
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Visas and documentation
For EU and Switzerland citizens, you will need a valid identity card or passport. For the other countries, you may need a valid passport and/or a visa, depending on the country you live in. Check out www.sef.pt for all the information.
Best time to go
The peak summer season (June to August) serves up hot weather and is the best time for open-air festivals, beach days and al fresco dining. However, the perfect season for exploring (and our favourite) is probably spring (March to May) – it has milder but often sunny days, making walking around and discovering a much more pleasurable experience. It never gets too cold or too hot in Cascais - temperatures are mild to warm, be it summer or winter. Most events happen during summer and spring as well, but as Cascais has a big local resident population, it's always a lively city that provides year-round animation.
Money and costs
Currency in Portugal is the Euro. Multibanco ATMs are widespread throughout the city; look for the MB logo. These work with any and all international credit cards. However, international credit cards – referred to as Visa, even when they are MasterCard and others – can be problematic to use in smaller, family-run shops and restaurants. Almost all major restaurants, shopping malls or hotels will accept any international credit cards.
As a general rule of thumb for meal costs, you can expect: 6-8€ for a budget restaurant or fast-food place; 15-25€ for a midrange restaurant; 50€ for a top end restaurant; 90-120€ for a Michelin star restaurant. A great meal can be had, usually, for less than 20€.
Tipping is rarely, if ever, expected; few Portuguese leave a tip, usually just rounding up to the nearest Euro, and only with cash transactions. Otherwise, 10% is very fine in restaurants; bars and snack bars only if table service is provided. Taxis, round up to the nearest Euro.
The transport network is excellent in Lisbon; the subway will get you to most places in Lisbon, and to the train station that will take you to Cascais. Travel times for anywhere in Lisbon and Cascais are never more than 30 minutes; expect 10-15min to move inside Lisbon (wherever you're going), 25min for the Lisbon-Cascais train, and a 30min drive from the Airport to Cascais. Inside Cascais, there are a few buses, but the tranportation network is much less comprehensive than in Lisbon - a car rental is not necessary, but does make moving around more comfortable. Paid parking is rare in Cascais, and only in very touristic areas. In Lisbon, parking is paid only Mon-Fri.
Airport: Cascais is served by the modern Lisbon International Airport, that operates direct flights to major international hubs including London, New York, Paris and Frankfurt. Several low-cost carriers (EasyJet, Ryanair, Transavia, Norwegian etc) leave from the less-efficient terminal 2 – you'll need to factor in extra time for the shuttle ride if arriving at the airport on the metro. Once on the ground, you can take the AeroBus to the center of Lisbon, the subway, or a Taxi (expect 15€ for the 15min taxi ride to Lisbon, or 40-60€ to Cascais). Avoid taxi lines by flagging a taxi in the departures area, rather than the arrivals, and make sure the taxi meter is on and you pay the listed fare. Sheraton Cascais Resort provides a private transfer service for 60€.
Power sockets: In Portugal the power sockets are of type F. The standard voltage is 230 V and the standard frequency is 50 Hz. Any adapter for European plugs should work in Portugal.
Language: The official language is Portuguese. However, most locals speak semi-fluent English and Spanish, as well as a little French.
World-renowned pop-stars, outdoor music festivals, surfing legends or top-ten tennis players; Cascais has no shortage of events to keep the city buzzing year-round. Whatever your taste, from sports, music, gastronomy or arts, there is sure to be something for you.
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