Whenever we find ourselves walking through a quaint old town near the ocean, eventually one of us wonders aloud, “would you want to retire here?” The other responds with a list of some of the pros or cons, and then usually muses allowed, “I could definitely see us retiring here.” Cascais had us wishing 30 was the new retirement age, and we loved that is was only a 40 minute train ride from Lisbon.
The easiest way to get from Lisbon to Cascais is the regional Comboios do Portugal (CP) train. You can purchase your reusable Viva Viagem card (€ 0,50 for the card) in the Cais do Sodré railway station in Lisbon (or almost any train or metro station) and load it with one of the following options:
- Two one-way 4 zone tickets: € 2,15 each way, so € 4,30 total
- 24 hours: € 10,00 valid for unlimited trips on Comboios do Portugal (CP) trains, Carris trams and buses and metro
- Zapping: € 1,80 each way, so € 3,60 total. We found this to be the cheapest and most convenient way to pay for transport around Lisbon. You can fill your card with as little as € 3,00, and you get a more favorable rate on trains, buses, trams and the metro than if you were to purchase a single ticket.
Beaches were our main draw to Cascais. There are two beaches directly in town, Praia da Rainha and Praia da Ribeira. During the summer months (especially July and August), these beaches get pretty packed.
Praia do Guincho is about 10 km out of town, and totally worth the bike ride. Cascais offers free bikes called Bicas, which you can pick up from one of three locations:
- Cascais train station: If you walk out of the train station, walk left towards the McDonald’s and there should be a trailer with the bikes. All the bikes from this location were gone by 9:30 am.
- Marechal Carmona Park: Just outside the park entrance in a small hut. When we got there around 9:45am in the summer, they had plenty of bikes left.
- Casa da Guia: This is a ways down the path to Guincho, about 3 km along the oceanfront bike path.
All you need is an ID to borrow the bikes. Note that the bikes don’t come with helmets or locks, and they’re not in the best condition. If you’re looking for a smooth ride, a rental costs about € 10 a day.
If you’re not up for the ride, the Scotturb 405 and 415 buses run from Cascais to Guincho beach. From the Cascais train station, exit and head right towards the bottom level of the shopping center. A bus ticket costs a bit over € 3 each way.
On the path to Guincho
On the path towards Guincho, there are a few fun stops. The Parque Marechal Carmona, where you can pick up a Bicas (free bike), is a great place to relax and enjoy the sunshine. The ride from here to Guincho is about 10 km on the oceanfront bike path. If you stick to this path, you’ll pass the following along the way.
Boca do Inferno is a rock formation that is supposed to feature fierce waters, but every time we stopped by, it was pretty serene. Nonetheless, it is still beautiful and a fun place to stop on the way to Guincho.
Casa da Guia is an old mansion converted into a small commercial space with shops and cafes. If you’re looking for a place to grab a bite to eat on the way, here’s where you’ll have a beautiful view!
The hotel Arriba by the Sea opens up its pool for public use from May til early October.
Our favorite place in Cascais is Cafe Galeria House of Wonders. It lives up to its name; they do wonders to make fresh, delicious vegan food. Even as meat-eaters, we couldn’t stop talking about the delicious flavors of each of the mezze, the sauces, the zucchini noodles, everything. You can elevate your dining experience by grabbing a table on their rooftop terrace, complete with sea breeze and ocean view. Cafe Galeria House of Wonders is the best way to end a beach day.
The popular Portuguese gelato chain Santini is in Cascais. This place makes the best fruit sorbets we’ve ever had, perfect for a warm day.
And just a few more pictures…
Even if we’re a ways away from retirement age (though I’m starting to feel that old), we could definitely see ourselves retiring in Cascais. But for now, we’ll just enjoy it while we’re young(ish).
P.S. Please excuse my super awesome aqua running shorts. After living in Cambridge, I seem to have forgotten that there were places that got above 22C and required shorts. Most of these pictures were from our first weekend in Lisbon and those shorts were my only pair. 🙂