Cascais, 30km (18.64 mile) west of Lisbon, is considered the Portuguese Riviera’s most scenic coastal town. With sandy, golden beaches overlooking the Atlantic ocean, bustling marinas, and fresh ocean air, it should be on everyone’s list. During summer, the population swells as people descend upon historic villas, an imposing fort, the prominent lighthouse, and museums along the Serra de Sintra coastline. Read our guide to Cascais, one of the best day trips from Lisbon.
Travel Essentials for the best day trip from Lisbon
Getting there from Lisbon
Mode of transport: Train from Cais do Sobré station to Cascais.
Cost: €4.50 (Adult return) 4 zone ticket required.
Journey time Cascais: 40 minutes. Cascais is the final stop.
Need to know
Visa: From 1st January 2021, UK residents can visit Portugal for 90 days maximum in any 180 day period.
Travel: See the FCDO website.
Currency: Euro (£1 = €1.11 approximately).
Tips: 5-10% although not obligatory.
Travel Adapter: Type C and F.
Language: Portuguese and Spanish. English is spoken and understood.
Best time to visit: February to September.
Exploring Cascais – one the best day trips from Lisbon
- Rainha beach (Praia da Rainha) – Free.
- Cascais old town – Free.
- Santa Marta Beach (Praia de Santa Marta) – Free.
- Casa Santa Maria and Lighthouse- €5 (Adult) – includes both.
- Boca do Inferno (Hells Mouth) – Free.
- Cascais promenade – Free.
Rainha beach (Praia da Rainha)
The smallest beach in Cascais was a favourite of Dona Maria Amélia, the wife of Carlos I of Portugal, giving rise to the beach’s name, Praia Da Rainha, translated as ‘beach of the queen’. Surrounded by jagged rocks with a cove, it is located 200 metres from the train station, ideal as a first stop in Cascais.
Cascais Old Town
Shops selling arts, crafts and souvenirs sums up the old town. With plenty of choices for food, stop here for breakfast or lunch. According to Tripadvisor, exploring the old town is amongst the top things to do in Cascais.
Santa Marta Beach
This cove is easy to miss from the road heading out of Cascais. On the left is Santa Maria house, Santa Marta lighthouse, with the Atlantic Ocean as the backdrop. This is perhaps the best view in Cascais.
Casa Santa Maria and Lighthouse
Santa Maria house and the lighthouse are next to each other, so a €5 combined ticket allows entry to both. The house, designed in 1902, has welcomed many distinguished and renowned international guests.
The 20m (65.62ft) high lighthouse affords good views over the Cascais marina and Santa Marta beach. At the base are two rooms displaying used lights. The light is a concentrated beam, focussed by special lenses. Due to the highly increased intensity, light travels long distances. A small auditorium plays historical footage of how Portuguese lighthouses operate.
Boca do Inferno
Boca do Inferno or ‘Hells Mouth‘ is a 20-minute walk from the harbour. The constant pounding of seawater has created holes in the rocks. There is a viewing platform, seafood restaurants and a selection of handicraft stalls. Extreme conditions can sweep people from the cliffs into the choppy water below.
The walk from Boca do Inferno back to Cascais along the promenade passes the 5-star Farol Hotel. The hotel offers an excellent, albeit pricey, dining experience. Near the main promenage is the equally impressive Cascais Marina, the largest on the Riviera, and the third largest in the country.
It is easy to become drawn to Cascais. The riviera’s laid back vibe, the fantastic food, and favourable climate make it a perfect location. Cascais and Sintra are the best day trips from Lisbon and should be part of any itinerary. Undoubtedly, Portugal, with its ideal climate, is a perfect place to visit and welcoming, warm people and fantastic food.
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