Praia-da-Duquesa

What to Do in Cascais for a Day: A Local’s 2024 Guide

Disclaimer: Some links in this post may be affiliate links. We may earn a commission if you make a purchase through them, at no extra cost to you.

Cascais from the sky - what to do in cascais for a day
Cascais from the sky

Ever wandered the charming streets of Lisbon and thought, “What’s next?” Just a stone’s throw away is the picturesque town of Cascais. Rich in history, and brimming with scenic beauty, Cascais is a treasure one of the best day trips in the Lisbon district. In this guide, we dive into a day’s adventure, discovering what to do in Cascais for a day. 

To start, I’ll offer you a snapshot of the myriad of intriguing activities and landmarks that await your discovery, followed by a customized itinerary to make the most of your day in this enchanting town. If you prefer to jump directly to the itinerary, please feel free to do so using the Table of Contents below. Let’s delve in!

How to Travel From Lisbon to Cascais

Train (Recommended)

By far the best way to travel and depart every 10-20 minutes from Cais do Sodré station, located just across from the Time Out Market, trains make the journey in roughly 35-40 minutes. As you travel, be sure to snag a seat on the left for picturesque water views.

With tickets priced at €2.30 one-way, available at the Sodre station (you can top up your Viva Viagem card) or included with a Lisbon Card, it’s both convenient and the cheapest way to travel. Arriving at a station nestled in the heart of Cascais, you’re perfectly positioned to dive straight into exploring all the charming town has to offer.

Taxi or Car

Opting for a taxi or Uber to journey to or from Cascais is a handy alternative, and particularly cost-effective for groups. You can typically travel from central Lisbon to central Cascais for a fare ranging between €13-20. The journey time is approximately 30 minutes.

I personally vouch for using the Bolt app – in my experience, it’s consistently offered the best rates. However, it’s always a good strategy to compare fares across different platforms like Uber and Free Now to ensure you snag the best deal.

Driving from the center of Lisbon to Cascais is quite straightforward. Here are the general directions:

  • Start in Central Lisbon: Begin your journey in the heart of Lisbon. Ensure your vehicle’s GPS is set, or follow road signs directing towards Cascais.
  • Head to A5 Highway: From central Lisbon, navigate your way towards the A5 highway, which is the main route connecting Lisbon to Cascais.
  • Merge onto A5: Merge onto the A5 highway in the direction of Cascais. Stay on this road, and follow the signs.
  • Exit at Cascais: Continue on the A5 for approximately 25-30 kilometers. You will then take the exit toward Cascais.
  • Enter Cascais: Follow the local roads into the town center of Cascais. Pay attention to the road signs and your GPS to navigate through the town to your specific destination.

Landmarks in Cascais

Boca do Inferno

Boca do Inferno
Boca do Inferno

Boca do Inferno, translating to “Mouth of Hell” in English, is a striking sea arch nestled just a few minutes from the center of Cascais. Hell’s Mouth, known for the dramatic acoustics produced by the waves crashing into the cavern, offers some of the town’s most splendid sea views. To fully appreciate the arch’s grandeur, make a right turn as you leave the area dotted with souvenir shops, steering away from the more popular viewpoint which doesn’t showcase the arch as prominently. 

Cascais Citadel Palace

The Citadel of Cascais
The Citadel of Cascais

The Cidadela de Cascais, originally erected in the 15th century, has been beautifully preserved and rebuilt several times, much like much of the Lisbon area. This historic palace has had a multifaceted history in the charming seaside town of Cascais, initially serving as a defensive fort before transitioning into a royal residence. Today, it wears multiple hats, functioning partly as a small museum and partly as a luxurious hotel.

Museu Condes de Castro

Museu Condes de Castro
Museu Condes de Castro

Nestled in a quaint cove where the sea caresses its foundations at high tide, the Museu Condes de Castro is as captivating in location as it is in content. This splendid edifice exemplifies revivalist architectural style and houses a diverse array of exhibits, including a notable art collection, rare Indo-Portuguese furniture, prehistoric archaeological artifacts, and a library distinguished by an illuminated manuscript from 1505 and opulent 17th-century volumes.

Cabo Raso Lighthouse

Cabo Raso Lighthouse
Cabo Raso Lighthouse

Positioned atop a cliff in Cascais, Portugal, the historic Farol de Cabo Raso is renowned for the breathtaking sea and coastline views it offers, despite being accessed by a steep hike. With over 200 years of guiding vessels, it stands as a crucial navigational landmark. Although not open for interior public exploration, the external beauty and the natural splendor of the vicinity render it a valuable spot for enthusiasts of both history and picturesque landscapes.

Cascais Marina

Cascais Marina, with its array of restaurants, shops, and yachts, serves as a perfect spot for relaxation, people-watching, and savoring the sea breeze. If time is on your side, you have the great option to stroll along the promenade, extending your leisurely walk all the way to Estoril.

Eat at Mar do Inferno

Cray fish at Mar do Inferno
Cray fish at Mar do Inferno

Restaurante Mar do Inferno, nestled in Boca do Inferno in Cascais, has been a cherished family-run establishment for approximately 48 years, managed by Maria de Lourdes Tirano and her two children, along with a dedicated team of around 50 employees.

Perched by the sea, it boasts a stunning terrace in a prime location, offering a menu rich with fresh fish and an assortment of seafood specialties, primarily grilled.

This exceptional seafood restaurant truly surpasses expectations, emerging as a “hidden” gem cherished by both tourists and locals – though it seems the secret has been out for some time. The menu’s highlight features their shared platters – a delightful amalgamation of various seafood treasures, such as local lobster, tiger prawns, and mussels.

Given its popularity, making a reservation in advance is highly recommended – a testament to its well-deserved acclaim.

Open Thursday to Tuesday 12:30 – 10 p.m. Closed Wednesday. 

Parque Natural de Sintra-Cascais

Praia da Ursa
Praia da Ursa

This extensive natural park, showcasing a variety of landscapes, flora, and fauna, along with hiking trails and panoramic views, is so rich in activities and sights that it warrants an article of its own. If time permits, you may want to consider exploring this vast area, as it promises an array of experiences and discoveries. I would highly recommend visiting Praia da Ursa.

Quinta da Regaleira (in nearby Sintra)

Quinta da Regaleira
Quinta da Regaleira

Quinta da Regaleira, situated near the historic city center of Sintra, Portugal, is a must-visit historical estate celebrated for its captivating gardens, mysterious tunnels, and architectural marvels. Though not located in Cascais, its allure is too significant to overlook. Upon visiting, the estate’s charm and UNESCO World Heritage Site classification within the “Cultural Landscape of Sintra” become immediately evident, making it a worthwhile detour if your schedule allows.

Cascais Beaches

Praia da Conceição and Praia da Duquesa

Praia da Duquesa
Praia da Duquesa

Close to Cascais train station are Praia da Conceição and Praia da Duquesa, two adjacent beaches offering easy access to bars and restaurants. Both feature golden sands, clear waters, and a variety of sea-based activities, marking them as two of the most popular beaches along the Lisbon coastline.

Praia da Rainha

Praia da Rainha
Praia da Rainha

Hidden away is one of many beautiful sandy beaches, Praia da Rainha, or Queen’s Beach, once the private haven of Queen Dona Amélia. Nowadays, it’s open to everyone and offers a delightful experience, particularly if you get there early to secure an umbrella and loungers near the water. Expect to spend around 30 euros for two loungers and an umbrella. Note: This is one of the city center’s best beaches therefore space can be limited during peak season.

Activities in Cascais

SUP Paddleboarding

If you’re in the mood for something active, I’d suggest giving SUPing a go. It’s a mix between kayaking and surfboarding, but much easier than surfing – essentially, it’s accessible to everyone. I’d recommend checking out this company: Cascais Paddle Surf. They are also a rental shop that offers hire of their boards at €20ph and (group) lessons at only €30ph. 

Dining at Seafront Restaurants

The balcony view at Hifen
The balcony view at Hifen

While not directly on the coastline, there’s a spot I just had to include – the restaurant Hifen. I can’t recommend this place enough! If possible, book in advance to secure one of the balcony tables, but even if that’s not an option, the interior of the restaurant is equally beautiful. Top tip: I would highly recommend trying the prawns – they come in the most incredible sauce!

Enjoying Local Entertainment and Nightlife

Situated in Cascais Old Town, the Cascais Jazz Club offers a refined nightlife option. Operated as a non-profit by enthusiasts, this charming venue provides an intimate setting where visitors can enjoy performances by wonderful musicians.

Hiking in Parque Natural de Sintra-Cascais

Discover the region’s natural beauty by traversing through the varied landscapes of the park. Consider taking on the 3.7-km out-and-back trail from Cabo da Roca to Praia da Ursa, situated near Colares, Lisbon – a drive away from Cascais. This trail, known for its moderate challenge, is a popular choice among hiking enthusiasts, so be prepared to meet other nature lovers on your journey. Accessible year-round, the trail’s captivating scenery makes it a rewarding destination at any time of the year.

Photography

Cascais offers numerous locations to capture its scenic beauty, historic landmarks, and vibrant lifestyle through your camera. While there are myriad picturesque spots, a few that particularly stand out are Farol de Santa Marta, Praia de Santa Marta, Museu Condes de Castro Guimarães, and the charming old town.

Praia de Santa Marta
Praia de Santa Marta

Guided Tours

To delve deeper into the landmarks, history, and legends of Cascais, consider opting for a full-day tour guide. One highly rated and excellent option I recommend is the Lisbon: Pena Palace, Sintra, Cabo da Roca, & Cascais trip. This tour offers great value and holds the title of the most popular tour in all of Cascais.

Check Lisbon: Pena Palace, Sintra, Cabo da Roca, & Cascais Daytrip Availability

Shopping

Shopping in Cascais is a delightful experience for those looking to explore local boutiques and international brands. Head to the charming streets of the historic city centre, where you’ll find a variety of shops offering traditional Portuguese crafts, ceramics, and textiles. For a more upscale shopping experience, visit the CascaiShopping (10m car ride from Cascais center), home to a range of high-end stores, eateries, and entertainment options.

Festivals and Events in Cascais

Cascais Jazz Festival

This premier festival harmoniously combines music, nature, and heritage, offering a unique and enchanting atmosphere throughout the entire month of July. The event is celebrated for its eclectic musical selection and the distinctive “cool” vibe it radiates. Hosted at the Hipódromo Manuel Possolo in Cascais, EDPCOOLJAZZ Festival provides a memorable experience for all who attend, regardless of the year.

Cascais Jazz Festival
Cascais Jazz Festival

Festas do Mar

Festas do Mar in Cascais is a vibrant annual celebration that pays tribute to the sea and the town’s fishing traditions. This festival fills the streets with a lively atmosphere, featuring musical performances, processions, and a grand fireworks display. Locals and visitors alike gather to enjoy the festivities and honor Cascais’ rich maritime heritage.

Relaxation in Cascais

Thai Way Spa- Cascais

If you’re specifically seeking an excellent massage experience, a visit to Thai Way Spa in Cascais is highly recommended. Here, I had the best deep tissue massage of my life, which felt like a culmination of relaxation, especially as it happened on the last day of my trip. Every bit of soreness seemed to disappear, thanks to the highly professional and wonderful folks at the spa my thanks go to “Ga’ whose hands work wonders! €60 for 60 minutes – highly recommended!

Ashtanga Cascais Yoga Studio

AshtangaCascais Yoga Studio stands as a traditional space dedicated to the practice of Ashtanga Yoga – a dynamic and fluid form of yoga that aims to align and detoxify the body, focus the mind, and foster a connection to the heart. They offer both online classes and face-to-face sessions, allowing for flexibility in how you engage with their teachings. For information on upcoming events and classes, you can visit their website: AshtangaCascais Events.

What to do in Cascais for a day: 1 Day Itinerary

Morning: Arrival and Exploration (8:00 am – 10:30 am)

  • Arrival in Cascais: Start your day with a scenic train ride from Lisbon, enjoying coastal views, or opt for a car journey, making detours along the picturesque route.
  • Breakfast in Cascais: Upon arriving in town, make your way to a quaint local cafe, such as Pastelaria Sacolinha, to indulge in a traditional Portuguese breakfast, featuring delights like pastel de nata and bolo de arroz. Alternatively, if you’re in the mood for Avocado on toast, Seventh Brunch Cascais is a great spot to consider.
  • Visit Boca do Inferno: Next, explore the historical and photogenic Boca do Inferno, opt for a guided tour to delve deeper into its significance and legends.

Mid-Day: Beaches, Food, and Culture (11:00 am – 2:00 pm)

  • Beach Activities at Praia da Rainha and Praia da Conceição: Enjoy the sun, try water sports like surfing and paddleboarding, and immerse yourself in the vibrant beach atmosphere.
  • Lunch at a Seafront Restaurant: Savor seafood specialties at a popular local spot like Mar do Inferno or Hifen, complemented by stunning sea views.
  • Cultural Exploration: Post-lunch, visit Museu Condes de Castro and Cascais Citadel Palace for a dose of local history and culture.

Afternoon: Adventure and Sweets (2:30 pm – 6:00 pm)

  • Hiking at Parque Natural de Sintra-Cascais: Explore the park’s trails, encounter diverse wildlife and flora, and enjoy panoramic views of the surroundings.
  • Optional Detour to Quinta da Regaleira: If time allows, venture to Sintra to explore the historical and mystical Quinta da Regaleira.
  • Afternoon Snack: Back in Cascais, visit a local bakery to indulge in sweet treats like travesseiro and additional Portuguese pastries.

Evening: Marina Vibes and Sunset (6:30 pm – 9:00 pm)

  • Cascais Marina Experience: As evening sets in, relax at Cascais Marina, enjoying yacht views and choosing from various dining options.
  • Local Entertainment and Nightlife: Explore the town’s live music venues, bars, and clubs to experience the local nightlife.
  • Sunset at Cabo Raso Lighthouse: Cap off your day with a serene sunset at Cabo Raso Lighthouse, capturing memorable photographs with scenic views as your backdrop.

What to do in Cascais for a day – Map Itinerary 

I trust this guide has been of value to you. Did you discover any hidden gems not highlighted here? If so, please share your findings and insights in the comments below! I’m eager to hear about your experiences!

Recommended reading:

7 Must-Visit Surf Spots in Lisbon: The Ultimate Guide

Lisbon to Óbidos Day Trip: An Insider’s Guide

Cheap and Free Parking in Lisbon: The Ultimate Guide

Post navigation

Leave a Comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Lisbon to Obidos Day Trip: An Insider’s Guide

5 Best Day Trips from Lisbon

The Ultimate Guide to Your Best Sintra Day Trip