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