OVERVIEW: Cascais is a beautiful beach town located about a 40-minute drive from Lisbon. We actually flew into Lisbon and just took a taxi there so we didn’t have to worry about car rentals and parking. The town’s main focus are…of course…the beaches. There are streets lined with restaurants and shops but if you follow the crowd most likely they will be headed towards the water. The people in town are pleasant and want to share their town with you, so take some time to people watch, eat some local fish, and enjoy some smiles with the locals.
Praia da Rainha: (Very fitting…the name means Beach of the Queen) As you sit back on this beach you will be surrounded by high stone cliffs on 3 sides. You will feel transported into another time period. This is one of the smaller beaches in Cascais but it is quaint, safe, and beautiful. We were lucky to have our house overlook it so we spent every day here. There is a beach bar, which is perfect for an afternoon beer (for the grownups) or Sumol (a lemon lime soda) for the kids. Above the beach are several small cafes that serve everything from pastries and expresso in the morning to fish dishes starting at lunch.
Museu Condes de Castro: This beautiful museum is located at the edge of the Parque Marechal Carmona, which is within walking distance from the center of town. It is a small, but lovely, museum that only takes about an hour yet should not be missed. The gorgeous rooms are filled with historic furniture, Portuguese tiles, and enough swords and muskets to entertain my little ones. It is located on the water so there are amazing views from the rooms.
- Open: From Tuesday-Sunday from 10:00-1:00 and again from 2:00-5:00
- Cost: Adults cost 3 €, Children under the age of 11 and seniors are free!
- Plan to visit this museum on the way to the park or before a trip to the closest beach (about a 10-minute walk).
Parque Marechal Carmona: This charming park is a great place to go when you need some relief from the summer heat. There is a nice playground and it was neat seeing my girls playing with local children even though they don’t speak a word of Portuguese. There are cafes and ice cream shops and it is the perfect place for a picnic. My girls especially loved that there were peacocks, ducks, hens, and roosters roaming the park. You can hear the call of the peacocks throughout your walk. The park is well-maintained and there are plenty of clean restrooms.
Market: Every Wednesday and Saturday the town holds a market. As you walk around, you hear local people haggling to get the best prices and the freshest food. The market sells everything you could imagine including cheese, bread, pastries, fish, fruit, vegetables, meat, and flowers. My favorite area was the fish stalls. There were local fish that I’d never seen and I wanted to bring most of them home to grill up. It is a neat experience for the girls to see the people that are actually producing the items and how proud they are of what they are selling.
The Town: The best thing to do in this town is just wander around and experience the culture. Take your time and sit in a café in late afternoon or stroll through the stone streets and do a little shopping. Try watching a sunset on a beach one evening.