Looking for things to do in Cascais? There is only one condition: enjoy life and make the most of it. From stunning beaches to radical activities, parks for walking in and trails for hiking, there is so much to choose from.
One of the strongest suits along the Cascais coast is obviously its proximity to the Ocean and the amount of beaches that dot the stretch from Lisbon to Cascais and beyond. So, if you’re looking for things to do in Cascais then one of the easiest answers is to get to know some of its most striking beaches.
These include the Praia da Torre, which is on the border between Cascais and Oeiras and is framed by the walls of the São Julião da Barra Fortress and the Oeiras recreational dock, leaving it quite sheltered. Further along you’ll find Praia da Poça, which is a favourite for families and surfers.
You’ll be surprised by the tranquillity of the atmosphere and the view. Following on in the same direction, right next to the Monte Estoril train station, you’ll see the Praia das Moitas. This is a small beach, though it is located right next to the Alberto Romano Oceanic Pool.
The Praia da Conceição is located right in the middle of the historical centre of Cascais and gets its name from the chapel in honour of Our Lady of the Conception that was built next to the beach. Overlooking it, on either side, is the Chalet Faial (previously the Cascais courthouse), which is a in interesting public landmark, and the famously idyllic Albatroz Hotel.
Then, of course, there is the famous Guincho beach. With around 1km of sand, it is considered one of the best beaches in Portugal. There are two accesses to the beach: on the north there is a paid parking lot, the Bar do Guincho and places where you can rent surfing equipment or arrange for lessons.
The other access is on the south, next to the Muchaxo Hotel. Every year the beach hosts international competitions for a number of sports, such as surfing or kitesurfing, so there is no getting bored here, and always plenty of activity to keep you entertained.
Just north of the Guincho you’ll find Praia do Abano, just keep heading right when you get to the entrance of the Guincho parking lot. The Abano is more sheltered from the wind but the sea can be just as rough, so we recommend you don’t venture out too far. Nonetheless, it is worth a visit to take in the deep blue of the ocean and the sheer force of the nature that surrounds you.
There are several tourist attractions, but the first thing to do when you visit Cascais is to take a walk in the historical centre and take in its bustling and exciting atmosphere. Make sure to see the bay and visit the Camões Square, that thrives every night. The famous Yellow Street, that has been painted the colour of Cascais, is where the locals gather at the end of the afternoon for a drink or just to have a meal outside.
The Town Marketplace is also worth visiting. Every week it holds a horticultural market where you can taste the traditions of the local trade, dating back to 1952. It has since been renovated and modernised and includes other services, such as elaborate restaurants and other trades, but it also holds a weekly market where you can purchase a wide range of items.
You will also want to head down to the Marina, where you can enjoy some great food – from simple snacks to fancier meals – and an even better sunset. Make sure to go to the Cidadela, the Cascais Citadel, which often hosts shows or some of the many parties organised by the Bauhaus nightclub.
In terms of nightlife, the highlight in the Summer is the beachside Tamariz bar, but in the Winter you’d be better off heading uphill to the Estoril Casino and its Jezebel nightclub. The Casino puts on a number of great shows, but you can also try your luck at the tables if you wish.
The younger visitors and skateboarding fans will enjoy the Cascais Skatepark, in São João do Estoril for a fun-filled afternoon. If you prefer the Ocean, though, you can always try going Stand Up Paddling in the Conceição or Duquesa beaches.
If you just want to work out then head to the coast and go for a jog along the boardwalk near the Casa da Guia, that is equipped with eight workout stations. There is also a bike path from Estoril to Cascais that you can pick up again further ahead, after the Marina, and follow all the way to the Guincho.
There are a number of great walks that you can take in the area. One of the best things to do in Cascais is to walk along the boardwalk, by the sea. Starting in São João do Estoril and ending near the Cascais train station, taking in the beautiful scenery along the way.
Don’t forget to visit the Boca do Inferno and, if you’re really feeling energetic you can head all the way to Cabo da Roca, which is also a must. The Boca do Inferno, or Hell Mouth, is thus named because of the rocks that form an arch that the sea crashes into furiously, making an impressive sound and evoking images of the gates of hell.
For a completely different experience, you can hike along the walkway over the dunes by the Cresmina and Guincho beaches.
But there is plenty more to do in Cascais, such as visit the marvellous parks. The Sintra Cascais Natural Park is a prime example and is excellent for ecotourism, allowing for a great glimpse into the region’s natural wonders.
Here you will also find several trails and paths to follow on foot. There is also the Marechal Carmona park, created in the 40s between the gardens of the Castro Guimarães Counts Palace and that of the Viscount of Gandarinha.
It boasts long fields of grass, flowerbeds, herbs and shrubs, a wood full of large trees and plenty of romantic paths. You can also see a stretch of the Ribeira dos Mochos Stream, have a bite to eat at the picnic area or try your hand at traditional games. The weekly Biological Food Market is held there as well.
The Visconde da Luz Garden is another reference in Cascais, it is over 100 years old and right in the centre of town, where the locals used to go for walks, chat or hold public parties. Further afield, in Estoril, you can enjoy a walk in the gardens of the Casino, the heart of Estoril and a great place for relaxing out in the open air.
One of the things to do in Cascais is to visit the Museum Neighbourhood which contains several sites dedicated to the town’s cultural life. For 13 euros you can get a day-pass (19 euros for three days) that will get you into all of them.
We strongly suggest the Cascais Cultural Centre, the Conde Castro Guimarães Museum, the Casa de Santa Maria, Casa Sommer and the Paula Rego Story House.
When in Cascais your best option is to try a bit of everything. You can start by going to the Fortaleza do Guincho, that serves great dishes by Chef Gil Fernandes, known for their quality, flavour, tradition aesthetic and seasonality.
Another restaurant that is often recommended is Furnas do Guincho, because of its shellfish and variety of seafood, as well as the ocean view. For a different style you can visit the Páteo do Guincho, with its salted salmon and tuna served “pica-pau” style or with wasabi puré.
Having mentioned wasabi you’re probably getting a craving for Japanese, so head to the Confraria, a renovated spot on the Yellow Street with a new take-away and delivery service. If, however, you prefer vegetarian, the House of Wonders, right in the centre, has a charming terrace where you can enjoy vegetarian, vegan or cold dishes.