Cascais, Portugal is a great day trip or weekend getaway from Lisbon filled with beaches, art, and great dining. Here’s my weekend guide to Cascais, with a 2 day itinerary, things to do, where to eat, stay, and more.
Cascais, Portugal is a beautiful little fishing-village-turned-resort town just outside of Lisbon (technically it’s within Lisbon limits, but it’s a bit outside of the city).
The beaches make it a hotspot during the summer season, both with Lisbon locals and international visitors. It’s often compared to the French Riviera and attracts a high-end clientele during the high season, with upscale resorts, beaches, and pools. It’s one of the wealthiest areas of Portugal, which you can see in the seaside houses.
Despite some of the more upscale elements, during quieter periods Cascais retains its small-town Portuguese charm. April is a great time to visit before the frenzy. While during the summer months (especially July & August), you should expect large crowds all over town and on the beaches.
The cobblestoned streets filled with cafes and shops are perfect for afternoon strolling, and there are plenty of great restaurants for foodies. You can easily walk through most of town and to the main attractions of Cascais.
Whether you’re spending your time lounging on the beach or enjoying the artistic flair of the town, there’s plenty to keep you busy here, while still leaving time to relax.
Many people head out to Cascais for a day trip from Lisbon to check out the beaches, but I recommend spending two days here if you have the time. It’s a great seaside holiday!
Keep reading to see my full Weekend Cascais Itinerary, with details about what to see and do there, where to eat, where to stay, and how to get there from Lisbon.
How to Get to Cascais from Lisbon
Getting from Lisbon to Cascais is really easy and affordable. You can take the train right from the city center, out to Cascais for just a couple of euros.
Viva Viagem Card
You’ll need a Viva viagem card to load your train fare, but this card is what you’ll use for public transport throughout the Lisbon region so it’s likely you’ll get one while visiting anyways. You can get a card at train stations or at the airport when you arrive in Lisbon. The card costs €.50, and you can reload it (called zapping) for other transport.
Take the Train
- The urban trains run throughout the Lisbon region, with the Cascais line running from Cais do Sodre station to Cascais.
- These act as regular commuter and local transport, so the trains are simple, quick, and usually packed full of people.
- There are no reservations, assigned seats, or advanced tickets. Just show up to the station when you’re ready to go, buy your Viva viagem card (if you don’t already have one) and load your train fare. There are ticket machines where you can easily purchase fare.
- The train runs every 20 minutes during the day, and the journey from Cais do Sodre to Cascais takes about 30-40 minutes.
- One-way fare from Lisbon to Cascais costs €2.25.
- You’ll arrive at the Cascais station, which is a short walk from the town center.
Weekend in Cascais Itinerary
Day 1 in Cascais
First things first: Arrive in Cascais from Lisbon and check in to your accommodation. Then get ready to start your vacation.
Lounge at the Beach
If you’re in Cascais during the summer, you’ll absolutely want to visit one of the gorgeous beaches. They’ll certainly be full, but an hour or two relaxing in the sand is a great way to get a feel for what draws so many visitors to this town.
Stroll Through Town
The cobblestone streets and colorful buildings of Cascais show Portugal at its finest. The narrow, winding streets take you through town, with gems hiding at every corner. There are plenty of little shops and galleries to pop into while taking in the charm of the town. And be sure to grab a pastel de nata for the afternoon from Nata Lisboa or Panisol Bakery.
→Nata Lisboa: Alameda Combatentes da Grande Guerra 122
→Panisol Bakery: R. Frederico Arouca 23
Enjoy a Slow Dinner
On any seaside holiday, evenings should be dedicated to a long dinner. Don’t rush through your meal; go sit, order lots of food and wine, and enjoy the evening. Where you go will certainly depend on your taste and budget. I recommend Capricciosa for Italian, and my Airbnb host recommended Somos um Regala for “the best chicken you’ll ever taste” (I cannot confirm this as a vegetarian, but I’ll take his word for it).
→Capricciosa: Alameda da Duquesa de Palmela, Praia da Duquesa
→Somos um Regala: Av. Vasco da Gama 36
After dinner, make sure you save room for gelato. Santini’s Gelato is famous in Portugal, and you’ll definitely want to try it while you’re here.
→Santini: Av. Valbom 28F
Day 2 in Cascais
Day 1 had an unintended focus on food (it’s a holiday!), but Day 2 has plenty of walking and sightseeing to balance it out.
You can start the day with breakfast at your accommodation, or head to Paul bakery for some delicious pastries and coffee before you head to the first stop.
Walk (or bike) to Boca do Inferno
Boca do Inferno (aka The Mouth of Hell), is a rocky cliff formation a short distance from Cascais’ town center. Waves rush through a rugged arch formation in the rocks, causing quite the sight. The way the water splashes in can be amazing when winds are strong, and almost hypnotizing when things are gentler. Regardless of the conditions, it’s a beautiful spot to view the water and the cliffsides further out.
To get there, you can walk or bike from town. There’s a wide sidewalk path that will take you all the way there, along with a bicycle/running path. It takes about 30 minutes to walk leisurely. There are plenty of signs from town, so it’s easy to find.
You can also drive there if you have a car with you, but on a nice day, I recommend walking. There’s plenty more to see along the way (more on that below). There’s a small cafe, restaurant, and market so you can have a bite to eat there as well.
As you walk towards Boca do Inferno, you’ll be walking right through the Museum Quarter. There are lots of small houses, galleries, and museums to check out. On your way back, be sure to stop at the other points of interest.
- Santa Marta Lighthouse & Beach – the rocky beach gives you a great view of the blue-and-white striped lighthouse, so this is a major photo spot. You can also go inside the historic villa.
- Castro Guimaraes Museum – This bright yellow building is the mini castle across from Santa Marta. The courtyard is free to enter and is just gorgeous. You can also visit the interior museum for a fee.
- Park – Outside of Castro Guimeres is a park where you’ll find chickens and peacocks roaming freely. Take a quick stroll through the grounds.
Cidadela Arts District & Fortress
Fortress Nossa Senhora da Luz de Cascais is an historic part of town, built between the 15th & 17th centuries. It’s been restored and here you’ll find the marina and Citadel Arts District. You can walk around the grand walls of the fortress, and inside is a beautiful plaza with art, sculptures, galleries, a restaurant, and hotel. It’s a great place to wander around for a bit, especially if you like art.
Read more about the Cidadela Arts District
Afternoon Drinks at Café Galeria
Café Galeria House of Wonders is a vegetarian restaurant and rooftop bar near the town center. After a full day walking and visiting sites, this is a great place to stop for a late afternoon drink or lunch. Drinks on the rooftop is a must! It’s a beautiful view of the town and the colorful vibe is so much fun.
→Address: 436, R. da Misericórdia 53
→Read my full blog post on Café Galeria
Enjoy the Evening
After a long day, the best way to end your weekend in Cascais is to spend the evening walking through town, taking in the views near the beach, and having one last delicious dinner.
Planning Your Trip to Cascais, Portugal
Where to Stay in Cascais
Whether you’re looking for a high-end resort, a cozy Airbnb, a low-key hostel, or just a simple hotel for your stay, there are plenty of options. However, things book up fast and can be pricey from May – August, so book ahead.
- I rented this Airbnb in Cascais during my stay.
- If you’re into surfing, check out Nice Way Hostel & Surf Camp.
- Pestana Cidadela Cascais is a 5-star hotel in the Arts District.
- Lucky’s Guesthouse is an affordable option with a boutique resort feel. It’s in Estoril rather than Cascais, but it’s just a quick hop on the train.
Where to Eat in Cascais
Breakfast, lunch, dinner, dessert, coffee, upscale dining, casual grab-and-go…whatever you’re looking for, there are TONS of restaurants and cafes in such a small area. You’ll be spoiled for choice!
- Café Galeria House of Wonders – Vegetarian – 436, R. da Misericórdia 53
- Why So Cereal – Cereal Bar – R. Afonso Sanches 21A
- Nata Lisboa – Pastel de Nata & Cafe – Alameda Combatentes da Grande Guerra 122
- Paul Bakery – Bakery – Praça 5 de Outubro 45
- Capriciossa – Italian – Alameda da Duquesa de Palmela, Praia da Duquesa
- Panisol Bakery – Bakery – R. Frederico Arouca 23
- Santini Gelato – Dessert – Av. Valbom 28F
- Dona Flor Café Bistro – Vegan – Rua do Poço Novo 180
- Crepes da Vila – Crepes – Tv. Afonso Sanches 12b
- Roots Café – Coffee Shop – Largo da Estação 4
Cascais, Portugal Map
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