We spent some days in Cascais a relatively small city that is a vacation spot for “well-off” Portuguese and foreigners. It’s approx. 30min from Lisbon by car. We stayed at the Grande Real Villa Italia.
The town is very cosy with its narrow streets between old buildings. There is a beach (Praia da Rainha) in the city center with possibilities for water activities. Along the shoreline there are very picturesque cliff formations, and a popular one, is the cave ‘Boca do Inferno’. It is quite beautiful and worth experiencing.
First impression of Cascais is that it’s clean, I don’t remember seeing litter on the streets, at least not where we roamed. The town itself is not exciting, there was not much we thought was interesting to do. However we did find activities to fill the days. We visited the surrounding areas, Sintra and Guincho. You can also visit Estoril, although in our opinion there is not much happening there, apart from a Casino. Rent a car or take a taxi to get around.
A restaurant we loved was Hemmingway.The food, the atmosphere and service was superb. The bar has incredible cocktails. The clientele is young and older, well dressed people. The prices are relatively high, but not off the charts. It’s located at the Cascais Marina, where you will also find other restaurants, bars and clubs.
Another restaurant we really enjoyed was The Mix, a chic restaurant at the Farol Design Hotel. Prices were slightly high and the portions small. But it was delicious and worth every penny.
Make sure you book a table ahead. It’s the custom. Remember when making bookings, that the Portuguese don’t actually go out for dinner until around 21.30 -22.00.
Cascais is not fast paced so it’s an ideal relaxation place, if you don’t want the hassle and noise of the big city. It is also nice to be around vacationing Portuguese and not overwhelmed by foreign tourists.
The easiest way to get to Cascais from the airport or Lisbon is by taxi. The taxi drivers are sneaky, they take longer routes. From Airport to Cascais shouldn’t be more than approx. 30 Euro, but there is another route which is longer and costs approx. 50 Euro. So orientate yourself on the map.