A hidden gem: Cascais, Portugal 

Tucked in the west of Lisbon, out on the Atlantic coastline, is a quaint and charming seaside town called Cascais. With small yet scenic beaches, posh seaside villas, cozy inner streets, tiny bakeries and cafés, Cascais is nothing less than an extremely relaxing retreat, away from the busy Portuguese capital, Lisbon.

Since I had been put off by incessant December rains in Lisbon (view my Lisbon travelogue), I desperately searched on google for a place with a tad bit of sunshine. Cascais held my tiny beacon of hope which was luckily, not let down!

Getting to Cascais 

I hopped on the Linha de Cascais, the intercity train line from Cais do Sodré station. The train travels along the Atlantic coastline for a scenic 40 minute trip to Cascais. One gets a glimpse of the famous 25 de Abril bridge and the Belém tower on route to the town.

Price info: The train to Cascais is really cheap! I paid €2.15 for a single trip and €4.30 for a round trip.

Scenic train ride along the Atlantic coast © Asmita Kunwar

The plan 

Actually, I had no plan for this impromptu trip. My strong affinity to water made me stick to the coastal paths as much as possible.

Right next to the train station, nestled between the rocky formations, is a small beach called Praia da Rainha. This clean and pretty paradise is easily accessible. Amidst the gorgeous views, I spotted quite a few dead jellyfish on the beach. 🙁

Praia da Rainha © Asmita Kunwar
Praia da Rainha © Asmita Kunwar

The street that gives an easy access to Praia da Rainha is R. Frederico Arouca. The pretty cobblestone street, lined with palm trees, opens up with a couple of plush villas and continues on to house restaurants, shops, and cafés in the later part.

Fancy villas on R. Frederico Arouca © Asmita Kunwar
Fancy villas on R. Frederico Arouca © Asmita Kunwar

It ends up at one of the main streets in Cascais, Alameda Combatentes da Grande Guerra. This street is full of touristic restaurants serving mouthwatering seafood. I actually had a delicious grilled salmon at one of these restaurants.

Alameda Combatentes da Grande Guerra © Asmita Kunwar
Alameda Combatentes da Grande Guerra © Asmita Kunwar
Grilled Salmon © Asmita Kunwar
Grilled Salmon © Asmita Kunwar

To the south end of the Alameda Combatentes da Grande Guerra is another beautiful beach, Praia da Ribeira de Cascais. I got some picture perfect shots here. Oh, and I spotted two kickass sand artists sculpting dragons!

Praia da Ribeira de Cascais © Asmita Kunwar
Praia da Ribeira de Cascais © Asmita Kunwar
Sand dragon © Asmita Kunwar
Sand dragon © Asmita Kunwar

As I walked along the coastal banks, I reached Fortaleza da Nossa Senhora da Luz. This citadel dates back to 1580 and houses a luxury hotel, great restaurants, and an art district. I didn’t wander in for a look and continued on my 20-minute walk to Boca de Inferno.

Statue near the citadel © Asmita Kunwar
Statue near the citadel © Asmita Kunwar

I walked past the marina, hotels, a pretty museum building (Museu Condes de Castro Guimarães) with peacocks freely roaming in the gardens (yes peacocks!) and a tiny single glass room vintage car gallery, taking in the incredible charm of the town.

Leaving the clustered formations behind, I was now on a scenic coastal road dotted with colorful plush villas. This 1.5 km stretch is an ideal spot for cyclists and joggers. On every couple hundred meters are tiny paths leading to the raw grassy, unexplored beaches that eventually convert into dramatic rock formations as one wanders ahead.

Paths leading to the beach © Asmita Kunwar
Paths leading to the beach © Asmita Kunwar
Coastal road © Asmita Kunwar
Coastal road © Asmita Kunwar
Rocky formations © Asmita Kunwar
Rocky formations © Asmita Kunwar

The most iconic rock formation is Boca de Inferno. As the waves hit the naturally sculptured Boca de Inferno, it offers a postcard-perfect viewpoint to the tourists to admire. This was my favorite part of the trip.

Boca de Inferno © Asmita Kunwar
Boca de Inferno © Asmita Kunwar

On my way back, I chose to explore the inner streets of this pretty town. The streets are narrow. They are lined with bright houses will floral balconies; it’s a sight to behold.

Pretty lane signs © Asmita Kunwar
Pretty lane signs © Asmita Kunwar

Amidst the endless lanes I discovered a tiny bakery run by a really polite lady, selling mouthwatering mint muffins.

Mint muffin © Asmita Kunwar
Mint muffin © Asmita Kunwar

In the evening, I took the train back to Lisbon. Cascais had been such a present surprise.

My thoughts about Cascais:

Two words come to my mind when I think of Cascais: charming and dreamy. With a mesmerizing shoreline and picture perfect streets, it seems too good to be true. If you are looking for a riviera feel with less crowds, Cascais is for you.

24 comments Add yours
  1. Ooh, I recently went to Lisbon and totally missed out on visiting Cascais. It really does look beautiful – what a great place to pick for an impromptu trip.

    1. Thank you! Indeed it is. Too bad, the traditional Europe trips don’t cover this place. Thank you for reading 🙂

  2. This town looks amazing! Portugal is on my bucket list and most likely we’ll head to Lisbon if we go, but I’ll definitely make a day trip here! Your pictures are really great and make me want to go now lol. And that sand dragon is so cool!

    1. It is indeed beautiful! There were 2 guys making it. No contest or anything. They seemed like hobbyists to me. Thanks for reading 🙂

  3. Love it when you take off to somewhere new and discover little pleasures. Mint muffins…interesting. Cascais looks gorgeous and it sounds like it was the perfect get-away. I look forward to exploring it when we eventually visit Portugal.

  4. We went to Portugal 2 years ago but for some reason I can’t remember now we didn’t go to Cascais 😢
    Judging by your post we’ll just have to go again then I guess 🙂

  5. Wow! This place is beautiful. Portugal was never on my list of top places to visit, but I’ve been seeing more and more about it and starting to change my mind. This town looks like a beautiful place to relax!

    1. Yes indeed 🙂 I was there in december. It makes a nice vacation spot for the winter. Thanks for reading. 🙂

  6. I spotted your post about Cascais and followed the link to your blog. It particularly interested me as I am flying to Porto with my family in July and plan on spending a week in the city, then taking the train down the coast to stay for a few days in Cascais/Estoril and flying back to Dublin after a weekend in Lisbon. All we have are our flights out so far as it’s proving difficult to get accommodation in Cascais – it seems quite a bit more expensive compared to our apartments in Lagos and Alvor two years ago. I know you went to Cascais in December, but I imagine it will be heaving with people in July. Did you visit Estoril? I’m wondering how easy it is to walk between the two locations as lots of rentals mention doing this.

    1. Hey Marion 🙂

      Thank you for reading my post. I think staying in Estoril would make sense too. I haven’t visited Estoril but the Estoril station is just 2 stations before Cascais. I ain’t sure of the walk but you can take Linha de Cascais train from Estoril to Cascais. Its roughly 10 – 15 mins. There is a train in every 20 mins on a normal day. So its similar to a local transit. Just grab an onspot ticket and hop on. I’m estimating the ticket won’t more than €2. Indeed, I do imagine Cascais to be crowded in summer as the beaches are pretty small. But I found walking along the coastline pretty cool! I hope this helps a bit. Feel free to ask more questions and I’m sure you’lk have a fabulous trip. 🙂

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