Cascais

What was once a sleepy fishing village has become the buzzing summertime playground for those in the know. Wave-frolicking ‘Lisboetas” flock here ever since King Luís I made it the official royal summer residence in 1870

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 quaint picnics perched atop the cliffs of Cabo da Roca – Europe’s westernmost point – with sweeping views of the Atlantic Ocean, accompanied by a great bottle of Portuguese wine.

With an understated beauty, both in its mediterranean architecture as in its wild beaches, Cascais is one of the most exciting destinations in Portugal; Guincho beach is home to some of the most legendary waves in all of Europe, hosting international surfing competitions, the marina hosts an ever-growing fleet of luxury yachts, and Cascais’ restaurants are gaining more and more international recognition.

But this is not why you should come – the wild stretches of sand at Guincho beach (inhabited only by a handful of local surfers and not much else for the other days of the year where the competition is off), the mountainous backdrop of Sintra, and the sheer authenticity of a town and a people that has been largely unaffected by the times, make it one of the few destinations that feel, as of yet, undiscovered. Stroll the cobblestone roads leading down narrow, winding paths to the beach, watch local fishermen doing what they’ve done for centuries, and sample the freshest fish you’ll find anywhere in Europe, straight from the ocean that unfolds before you. This is the true pleasure of Cascais; the pristine little details that make it so authentic.

Highlights & Recommendations

World-renowned Guincho Beach is one of the biggest highlights in Cascais. Its legendary waves attract surfers from all over the world, and its wild stretch of sand is of unparalelled beauty. Perfect in the early morning for its unique calm and serenity, or at the end of the day for a glass of ‘vinho verde’ watching the sunset.

The bay of Cascais is one of the town’s most iconic sights; its curved arm embraces the picturesque beaches, and its fishing boat-filled waterfront.

These scenic oceanfront cliffs feature a natural archway & open cave created by pounding waves. Known as ‘hell’s mouth’, this is one of the most striking places in Cascais – definitely worth a visit. Cycle from Cascais city center, or take the 20-minute walk by the sea to get there. As a bonus for those who venture, during summer months, there is a yellow van serving the best hot dogs in the world.

The best ice-creams in Portugal since 1949 – ask any local what the best ice cream is and you’ll get the same reply 99 times out of 100. Located in the city centre, they’re a must-stop in any trip to Cascais.

Its outside terrace is absolutely fantastic at any time of day or night. Expect the freshest fish and seafood, served up next to the breaking waves of the Atlantic ocean, just below the wooden deck outside. On winter days, as you sit inside, waves will be embracing the large panoramic windows of the restaurant.

Dining

Cascais is world-famous for its fresh fish and seafood – its proximity to the coast has long been taken advantage of, and some of the country’s best fish restaurants sit on the legendary Guincho road.

Furnas do Guincho, Monte Mar and Porto de Santa Maria make up the most famous trio, but the Michelin-starred Fortaleza do Guincho also has a very strong word to say.

For the ultimate sunset in Cascais, soak up the last sun rays of the day on Furnas do Guincho’s outside terrace, overlooking the wild Atlantic ocean waves just steps away from your table, while sipping on an ice-cold bottle of green wine – we guarantee there’s few better things than this.

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