With plenty to see and do and a fun, laid-back vibe, Cascais is a popular place to head to from Lisbon for those looking for sunshine, sand and sea.
While Cascais offers everything you’d expect from a seaside town, it also offers more in the way of cultural and outdoor pursuits. Combined, there are lots and lots of great things to do in Cascais.
For those based in Lisbon, Cascais is easy and cheap to get to by train and onward travel is possible to beautiful Sintra.
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6 of the best things to do in Cascais, Portugal
There’s pleasure to be found by simply wandering around the centre of Cascais. In particular, there are a number of small squares, each decked out in traditional Portuguese black and white tiles arranged in wavy patterns. There are also plenty of ageing buildings fitted out with decorative tiles to seek out.
As you explore, you might like to pop by some of city’s attractions and establishments. The following is a list of things that we did on our day trip to Cascais that we recommend.
Find a spot on the beach and relax
Cascais is ultimately a seaside town, so spending some time on the beach, even if it’s to enjoy an ice cream or a quick paddle in the warm waters, seems appropriate. While Cascais doesn’t have mile upon mile of sandy beaches, what it does offer is a number of small beaches hidden amidst craggy rocks.
The first beach you’ll probably see upon arrival in Cascais is tiny Baía de Cascais (address above) which, depending on when you visit, might seem a little bit busy. If you’re want your time on the beach to be a little more peaceful, know that you can walk along the coastline in either direction and you’ll find many more beaches to choose from. The sandy beaches to the south west, set into the rocks near to the Lighthouse Museum of Santa Marta are particularly nice as the waters are very calm. If though you’re wanting a more traditional promenade beach, walk eastwards beyond Palácio Seixas.
Indulge in the artwork of Portuguese-born artist Paula Rego
Housed inside a looming red pyramid-shaped building, Casa das Histórias Paula Rego is home exclusively to the works of Lisbon-born artist Paula Rego. Particularly known for her paintings and prints based on children’s storybooks, the gallery is a treat for those who favour mostly representational art with a touch of abstract.
Adjacent to the gallery is a small green space called Jardim da Rua Júlio Pereira de Mello which is occasionally home to community-run events. On the same site as the gallery is a small marine life and archaeological museum called Museu do Mar Rei Dom Carlos.
Gorge on a fresh & healthy vegetarian/vegan meal at Cafe Galeria House of Wonders
Fair warning – your meal at Cafe Galeria House of Wonders might be the best culinary experience you’ll have, not just in Cascais but in the whole of Portugal. Inside this striking building, decorated beautifully throughout, you can choose from an ever changing menu of freshly prepared, locally-grown produce. Once you head upstairs, a member of the team will be happy to guide you through what’s on offer that day.
We chose a hot dish of Shakshouka and a cold plate of dressed veggies, pickles, flatbread and salad, washed down with freshly squeezed juices. The portions were enormous but everything was so good, we ate just about all of it.
The cafe is much larger than it appears, with seating inside, on the rooftop terrace (which is where we chose to eat) and outside on the square.
Enjoy the gardens, peacocks & atmosphere at Parque Marechal Carmona
We loved wandering around this municipal park. It’s not a large park, yet it’s packed full of lovely things that’ll appeal to everyone. There’s a pond, a playground, shady woodland, landscaped gardens, a rose garden, rockeries, lush greens, ornate tiled fountains, a chapel and the Museu Condes de Castro Guimarães, a Revivalist-style palace built in 1900, now home to a small museum. Look out for the resident bird population. There’s chickens, ducks, quail and even peacocks to spot.
Local families appear to love this park, making it the home for their family celebrations. We saw multiple birthday parties being celebrated with much merriment and gusto. It was great to share in their joy, even from afar.
Clamber over the rocks at Boca do Inferno (Hell’s Mouth)
One of the most popular attractions in Cascais is Boca do Inferno or ‘Hell’s Mouth’, a large chasm set into the cliffs. The cliffs are around a 20 minute walk from the city centre and once you’re there, you’re free to scramble about on the adjacent cliffs to get a good look at the mouth of the chasm and down inside the chasm itself. It’s not the most impressive geological feature, but it’s still cool to see the cliffs and how they’re shaped by the power of the waves.
Nearby, there are a couple of restaurants that are pretty well rated and there’s a kiosk where you can buy an ice cream.
Browse the outdoor art at Citadel Art District
Housed inside the Citadel of Cascais, a former 15th and 17th century fortress is a series of workshops and galleries that visitors are welcome to browse. While the primary function is the sale of the artwork, there’s no pressure if you just want to admire what’s on offer. Outside, there are a number of large sculptures dotted around the site of what is now an upmarket hotel.
Plan & Book your visit to Cascais
We hope you found this list of our favourite things to do in Cascais useful. In this section, we’ll go through how you can plan and book your visit to Cascais.
Trains to Cascais
The easiest and best value way to get to Cascais from Lisbon is by train. Tickets can be purchased from ticket offices or vending machines (with English instructions) up until your departure. Tickets cannot be purchased online in advance.
Depending on the service, the journey time can be anywhere between 30 and 60 minutes, with multiple departures each hour throughout much of the day.
Hotels in Cascais
To read reviews and to compare prices on the best hotels in Cascais, we recommend Tripadvisor*.
Home rentals in Cascais
We always encourage our readers to live like a local during their travels. Airbnb makes doing this super easy, providing access to thousands of fabulous homes and wealth of local knowledge.Find places to stay in Cascais*