Cascais beaches Travel Guide
About Cascais beaches
It's hard to believe that this vibrant resort was once a humble fishing village. A trio of sandy beaches, energetic nightlife and close proximity to some of Portugal's most prestigious golf courses, as well as its easy access to the country's capital, ensure the resort's popularity. Cascais also impresses holidaymakers with its marina, 16th-century fortress and an attractive old town. First-rate seafood restaurants that rival those in Lisbon, exclusive hotels, the Castro Guimaraes Museum (housed in a spectacular 19th-century mansion) and the exhibitions at the Cascais Cultural Centre mean that the resort has something to offer everyone whatever the season.
Cascais's energetic street life spills over onto its town beaches (Praia da Ribeira, Praia da Rainha and Praia da Conceicao), so arrive early to squeeze in your towel. For better facilities head to Estoril's Praia do Tamariz with its salt-water swimming pool. The surfers' paradise, Praia do Guincho, 9km (6 miles) northwest, is great for spectators, but strong currents means that swimming here can be dangerous.
Beyond the beach:
Cascais's old town boasts a clutch of historic buildings and ornate churches that fan out from the Town Hall Square. See Cascais's fishing industry at work at the harbour and daily fish market. Satisfy your cultural cravings at the opulent former home of the Counts of Castro Guimares: the Castro Guimaraes Museum located in the Municipal Park, or the Cascais Cultural Centre. Only 2km (1 mile) west the Boca do Inferno (Mouth of Hell) is impressive on a stormy day.
Cascais's beaches, tourist-orientated shops and the Museu do Mar (www.cm-cascais.pt/museumar), which retells Cascais fishing history, help keep children occupied. Cascais is also a good base for exploring Estoril, Belem and Lisbon to the east (kids will enjoy the train ride to these destinations) and the fairytale palaces of Sintra to the north.
Sintra is quite simply one of Portugal's most alluring places. The Portuguese nobles who took refuge in the cool mountain air over 500 years ago have left a legacy of colourful surrealist palaces than deserve their place on the UNESCO World Heritage List.