Cascais holidays

Cascais holidays

Deals from £563 per person

There is no Lisbon without Cascais. This picturesque town is located just 30 minutes from Portugal’s capital and is a must-visit location. Often compared to the French Riviera, Cascais retains a lot of its old fishing village charm which is complemented by the town’s noble, almost aristocratic feel.

Its desirability as a holiday resort dates back to 1870 when King Luis I and the Portuguese royal family chose it as their residence every September. The town has attracted various members of the Portuguese nobility, which has made it one of the wealthiest municipalities in the whole peninsula.

With its cobbled streets nestled among lavish villas, the impressive variety of Michelin-starred restaurants and plenty of thrilling water activities, Cascais is so much more than just a one-day stop. It’s a coastal paradise.

Best Beaches in Cascais

If you’re looking to unwind on some of Portugal’s glorious beaches, Cascais is the ideal place. This location is home to stunning stretches of rugged and sandy coastline, complemented by outstanding facilities which cater to all ages.

Praia da Rainha

Thanks to its proximity to Cascais Old Centre, this beach is particularly famous among locals and tourists. The “Queen’s Beach” owes its name to Queen Amélia, who used to visit often. Sheltered by small cliffs and the town above, this pretty space offers a peaceful atmosphere.

Praia da Conceição

This beautiful beach is enclosed by Cascais Bay and, along with Duquesa Beach, is one of the largest beaches in Portugal. Thanks to its calm waters and low current levels, it’s ideal for families with children. If you want your holiday to Portugal to be all about sunbathing and relaxing, Praia da Conceição is the place for you.

Praia do Guincho

Located on the western edge of the Sierra de Sintra National Park, this beach is part of a nature reserve, making it a great base for exploring the local wildlife. Boasting 800 metres of shoreline and some of the biggest waves from the Atlantic Ocean, Praia do Guincho is also great for water sports, namely surfing, windsurfing and kitesurfing. Plus, the beach was also a filming location for one of the James Bond films.

Praia da Rata

Edged by a coastal promenade, midway between Cascais and Estoril, this sandy beach is known for its great waves and fun jetty. There is also the Piscina Oceânica Alberto Romano, a public saltwater swimming pool ideal for the younger ones.

Museums and Architecture

Cascais is not only a top destination for beaches and nightlife, but it’s also home to a unique historical and artistic heritage. Its artsy vibe creates a mix of modern and traditional, with fascinating contemporary museums and old churches dominating the landscape.

Museu Condes de Castro Guimarães

Visit the Museum Condes de Castro for an unforgettable Renaissance experience. Once known as ‘Torre de S. Sebastião’, it was founded by Jorge O’Neil in the 1900s and converted into a museum in 1931. Home to unique designs, jewellery, monumental sculptures and paintings, a trip to this museum is a must.

Santa Marta Museum & Lighthouse

If you’re looking for picture-perfect spots, a visit to Santa Marta Lighthouse should be top of your list. Built in 1867 to guide ships away from Cascais’ dangerous rocky shores, the lighthouse still runs automatically to this day. And if you want to learn more about the history of the lighthouse, you can look around its museum.

Casa de Santa Maria

This is one of Cascais’ most romantic places and your go-to spot for breathtaking pictures. It was designed by Raul Lino in the early 1900s and was a private home for almost 100 years until it was acquired by Cascais City Hall and opened to the public. The villa is an architectural delight, with National Baroque-style tile panels, stunning works of art and two balconies to admire the wonderful view.

The Art District

If you’re an art fanatic, you’ll love Cascais’ Cidadela Art District. As the hub of cultural creation and a source of inspiration for whoever visits, you can find everything here, from art galleries to small house museums, art studios to project rooms.

Fortress Nossa Senhora da Luz de Cascais

Built between the 15th and 17th centuries to protect Cascais from invaders, the fortress has recently been restored to give it a fresh lease of life. Walk along the walls, visit the marina and admire the beautiful works of art by local artists.

Pestana Cascais Hotel

The renewal of the district was spearheaded by the Pestana Collection Hotels. This five-star hotel offers luxurious accommodation near the Art District and is a real celebration of art, contemporary and traditional.

Map of Cascais

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2.5 hours

Fly to Lisbon Airport (LIS) is the nearest airport, located around 33km from Cascais

Cascais is best for…

Sun worshippers: Cascais is home to beautiful beaches, making it the perfect backdrop for a relaxing day in the sun. Head to the golden beaches of the Estoril coast for calm waters and golden sand. Praia da Conceição and Praia da Duquesa are popular beaches among tourists.  

Architecture lovers: This charming fishing town is packed with ornate buildings typical of traditional Portuguese design. Walk along the historic town centre’s cobbled streets to explore lavish villas and 19th-century mansions.

History fans: Cascais’ Museum Quarter is home to fantastic museums, all within walking distance of one another. Casa das Historias Paula Rego is a striking museum dedicated to the Portuguese-born artist. Museu da Vila covers the town’s history, whilst Museu do Mar focuses on its fishing community.  

Fast facts for Cascais

Language: Portuguese is the official language of Cascais.

Currency: The official currency used in Cascais is the Euro (EUR). 

Local time: The local time in Cascais is the same as GMT/UK time.  

Fly to: Lisbon Airport (LIS) is the nearest airport, located around 33km from Cascais.   

Flight time from UK: 2.5 hours.  

Tourist information: Further tourist information can be found at the official website for tourism in Cascais.

Visa / health: Before you travel, check the latest advice from The Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office.

Getting around Cascais

By foot: The town centre is very compact, which means most of it can be explored on foot. In fact, we’d recommend walking rather than hiring a car if you’re staying in the town, as parking is scarce.  

By bicycle: If you’re keen to do some exploring, make sure to utilise the town’s bike hire scheme, biCas. You’ll find bike stations dotted across Cascais, and you can use them from 07.00 to 20.00 every day. The town has plenty of cycle routes, making it easy to travel safely. 

By train: There are plenty of must-visit destinations that are only a short journey from Cascais. So, if you fancy a day trip, we’d recommend travelling by train. Both Lisbon and Sintra are only a 40-minute train journey away.  

Events in Cascais

Festival of the Seas: Dating back to the 15th century, this event takes place every August and is closely linked to the town’s fishing heritage. Festival of the Seas thanks the Holy Mary for protecting local fishermen and hopes for prosperous catches in the upcoming year. Attend the festival to enjoy music, arts and crafts, fireworks and much more.

Carnival: A tradition in most Iberian and Latin countries, Carnival is a week-long event, taking place each year around February and March. During Carnival, Cascais is transformed into one big street party, with parades and celebrations leading up to the grand finale, Mardi Gras.

EDP Cool Jazz: This music festival brings together the best artists in jazz. Usually taking place in July, EDP celebrates eclectic sounds and features both regional and international names. Previous headliners include John Legend and Herbie Hancock.

Cascais safety and security 

For up-to-date advice on travelling to Cascais, please visit the FCDO website.

Cascais weather

Temperature: Cascais’ Mediterranean climate means the town experiences hot, dry summers and wet winters. August is the hottest month, with an average temperature of 23˚C, whilst January is the coldest, with the average falling to 12˚C.  

Best time to visit: If you visit Cascais between May and October, you’ll experience lovely warm weather. However, if you want the sunshine without the tourist crowds, plan a trip in spring or early summer.