48 Hours in Cascais, Portugal: A Complete Weekend Travel Itinerary

Image of a picturesque coastal town in Cascais, Portugal, perfect for a weekend getaway with detailed itinerary for 48 hours of sightseeing, dining, and exploring

I had a dream about this Portuguese haven when I stumbled upon this sunny postcard of Cascais with its sunlit marina and cobblestone streets.

The opportunity to wander its historic streets, sun on its golden beaches, and sample its fresh seafood was too great to pass up. It became a quest to experience Cascais at its most authentic in 48 hours.

I set out to map out an itinerary to capture the town’s charm and share it with other wanderlust souls, enveloped by the Atlantic breeze.

For my first seaside excursion, I discovered treasures in lanes and museums that make Cascais an eclectic blend of modernity and history. From the splendor of the Museu Condes de Castro Guimarães to the tranquil whispers of the Parque Marechal Carmona, each action was a thrill in itself.

While I had taken in the cliffside views and the melty pastéis de nata, I made mental notes for you, reader, as you packed your bags for this coastal paradise.

Watch my itinerary for a 48-hour tour of Cascais, packed with must-see places and insider tips.

Key Points You Need to Know.

1. I loved the old center of Cascais with its narrow cobblestone streets and little plazas with shops and cafes. It is crucial to set aside time to meander through this area, as every corner provides a picturesque scene ideal for photographs or a quiet time.

2. A visit to the Boca do Inferno cliffs is a must. You can audibly hear the Atlantic waves crash against the cliffs, and the best time to visit is at sunset.

3. I believe Cascais is a lot more than just the coast; it is an art city. For me, the most striking example was the Casa das Historias Paola Rego, with its red architecture and works by some of Portugal’s most important contemporary artists.

4. Fresh seafood in a Cascais restaurant was one of my culinary highlights in Cascais. I enjoyed Mar do Inferno, where the fish is caught daily and the flavors are Portuguese.

5. I enjoyed a bike ride on the promenade between Estoril and Cascais. Bike hire is available in case you want to get some good exercise and watch the coast. I recommend it.

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Arriving in Cascais’s Heart.

When I get off the train at Cascais Station, the coastal breeze hits me immediately. Finding my bearings is easy.

This particular seaside town is ready, friendly, and small enough to be explored by foot. I step out onto the streets and wish to see what the local scene is like, beginning with a wander through the old town.

cascais, portugal

Walking the Old Town.

In my amble through the narrow cobbled lanes, each corner reveals a quaint store or maybe a delightful cafe, ideal for a quick espresso.

It’s just like strolling through whitewashed homes with traditional Portuguese tiles—azulejos—that I’m seeing living history. I make a point to sketch their designs in my travel diary.

Experiencing the coastal charm.

At its shores, the Atlantic is a sight to behold. I listened here for a moment to the sound of the waves against the sandy beaches.

I take a walk along Cascais’s seashore promenade, enjoying the salty air and the heat of sunlight on my face.

Local Cuisine.

By lunchtime, my senses lead me to the local eateries and the catch of the day. In a local seafood restaurant, I get a plate of ‘arroz de marisco,’ a smoky seafood rice dish with flavors from the ocean.

The convivial atmosphere around me and the food are evidence of Cascais’ culinary excellence.

arroz de marisco in cascais, portugal

Immersion in culture and art.

My afternoon is spent exploring the cultural life of Cascais. The Casa das Hist’rias Paula Rego is definitely an unmissable center for art enthusiasts.

Its exhibits are housed in a striking building and are derived from the narrative style of Portuguese artist Paula Rego.

I lose track of time as I stroll through the different galleries, each telling a compelling story through art.

Locating the Hidden Gems.

Deeper into the cultural fabric, I go to the Santa Marta Lighthouse Museum. The views from the top are a photographer’s dream, and the seafaring history told through the exhibits helps me understand Portugal’s maritime history.

Exploring Nature’s Marvels.

I couldn’t leave Cascais without seeing the natural beauty, even within 48 hours. The dramatic cliffs of Boca do Inferno (Mouth of Hell) are just a short trip away.

I can hear the sea roaring against the rocks; it’s a wild scene—a wild portrait of nature.

Boca do Inferno
Boca do Inferno in cascais, portugal

An Adventure in Culinary Arts and Crafts.

On my second day, I had more culinary fun. I have ‘pastéis de nata,’ Portuguese custard tarts at breakfast in a local pastelaria.

Flaky crust and sweet custard are a taste sensation not to be missed if you’re in Portugal.

Relishing the Beaches of Cascais.

With my morning satisfied by sweet treats, I spent the remainder of the early morning basking in sunlight at Praia da Rainha, a picturesque beach tucked away among cliffs.

The cool, turquoise water is inviting me to swim. I see local families along with other travelers enjoying the sun and the peace this beach offers.

Praia da Rainha in cascais, portugal
Praia da Rainha in cascais, portugal

 

The Last Moments: Shopping and Sunset.

As my 48 hours draw to a close, I stop off at the local shops to pick up souvenirs—artisan crafts or even haute Portuguese fashion.

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I stop later on the promenade for probably the most beautiful sunsets. The sky is orange and pink as the sun sets below the Atlantic horizon.

What Are the Top 5 Things to Do in Cascais?

  1. Explore the old town with its architecture and street cafes.
  2. Taste the fresh seafood and traditional dishes like ‘arroz con marisco.
  3. Visit cultural hotspots like the Casa da Hist’rios Paula Rego or Santa Marta Lighthouse Museum.
  4. Watch the landscapes at Boca da Inferno.
  5. Relax on the beaches, particularly at Praia do Rainha, and watch the sunset over the Atlantic.
sunset cascais, portugal
sunset cascais, portugal

What exactly are the must-see attractions during a short stay in Cascais?

When time is of the essence, prioritize going to the charming Cascais Historic Center, the serene Santa Marta Lighthouse, and the remarkable Boca do Inferno cliffs. Take a stroll along the promenade that links Cascais to the beach of Praia de Guincho.

Could I fit a Sintra visit into 48 hours in Cascais?

Sintra is a gorgeous place; however, you have to spend at least half a day there. With just 48 hours in Cascais, focusing on local highlights ensures a far more relaxed and immersive experience without the rush.

Do you recommend renting an automobile to visit Cascais and its surroundings?

Renting a car gives you flexibility if you want to go outside the town limits. However, Cascais is nice for walking, and there is a train service if you fancy venturing out to Lisbon or maybe Estoril and not having parking in the city center.

Where can I dine in Cascais for real Portuguese food?

There are numerous restaurants in Cascais. Try several of the waterfront restaurants for some local seafood dishes. Traditional Portuguese flavors may be sampled at Cantinho Gourmet or Restaurante Mar do Infero.

Is Cascais an excellent place to visit solo?

Cascais is safe and friendly for solo travelers with its quaint shops and cafes, in addition to a lively cultural scene. It’s a place to comfortably go exploring by yourself while meeting fellow adventurers.

What should I bring to Cascais for a weekend?

Weather-appropriate clothing is crucial; look at the forecast prior to going. Comfortable shoes for walking, beachwear, and layers for cool evenings. Remember sunscreen and a camera for the views!

Are there local markets or stores to visit in Cascais?

Yes, the Cascais Market is a spot for fresh produce, crafts, and confections. Wander the pedestrian streets to local boutiques selling everything from handmade items to high-end clothes.

How can you party in Cascais?

For a true taste of Cascais at night, visit the bars and pubs along the cobbled streets for cocktails and live music. Or take a moonlit stroll along the beach for a far more laid-back evening.

How should I manage my budget in Cascais?

For a reduced price, stay inland instead of beachfront, eat at tascas rather than tourist restaurants, and also take advantage of the many free activities like visiting public beaches and parks.

Public transport in Cascais: what choices do you have?

It is an efficient and cheap way to travel to nearby Lisbon by train, through the Cascais train line. Busses and taxis are available within the town. Walking is still the best way to enjoy the area for free.

Last Thoughts on my 48 Hours itinerary in Cascais, Portugal.

Reflecting on my 48 hours spent in Cascais, I recognize the town has a coastal vibe and also a cultural one. If it can make a traveler fall in love with its streets and stories within days, it is a special destination.

The stunning surroundings, the friendly locals, and the delicious maritime food have really touched my heart.

I could see that Cascais was more than a stopover—it was a chapter in my travelogue——as I strolled along the wav–sand shores and caught glimpses of Portuguese sunsets.

Whether sampling the local tastes or taking in the historic beauty, this town demonstrated that even the most brief of encounters can be full of discovery and delight.

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