Portugal

Quaint Cascais: A Perfect Day Trip from Lisbon

September 21, 2016

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.

Beach in Cascais, Portugal | The perfect day trip from Lisbon

Praia da Ribeira Beach in Cascais, Portugal | The perfect day trip from Lisbon

Beach in Cascais, Portugal | The perfect day trip from Lisbon

Getting there

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.

Plaza and wave sidewalk in Cascais, Portugal

Beaches

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 da Rainha Beach in Cascais, Portugal | The perfect day trip from Lisbon

Beach in Cascais, Portugal | The perfect day trip from Lisbon

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.

Sand dunes at Praia do Guincho near Cascais, Portugal | The perfect beach trip from Lisbon

Sand dunes at Praia do Guincho near Cascais, Portugal | The perfect beach trip from Lisbon

Sand dunes at Praia do Guincho near Cascais, Portugal | The perfect beach trip from Lisbon

Sand dunes at Praia do Guincho near Cascais, Portugal | The perfect beach trip from Lisbon

Praia do Guincho near Cascais, Portugal | The perfect beach trip from Lisbon

Little surfers at Praia do Guincho near Cascais, Portugal | Perfect beach trip from Lisbon

Kitesurfers at Praia do Guincho near Cascais, Portugal | The perfect beach trip from Lisbon

Praia do Guincho near Cascais, Portugal | The perfect beach trip from Lisbon

Praia do Guincho near Cascais, Portugal | The perfect beach trip from Lisbon

Praia do Guincho near Cascais, Portugal | Perfect beach trip from Lisbon

Praia do Guincho near Cascais, Portugal | The perfect beach trip from Lisbon

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.

There are two large, beautiful houses near the park, the Condes de Castro Guimarães house and Casa de Santa Maria, near the lighthouse. Both cost a few euros to enter.

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. 

Bicas, Free bikes in Cascais, Portugal

Lighthouse in Cascais, Portugal

Condes de Castro Guimarães house in Cascais, Portugal

Boca do Inferno in Cascais, Portugal

Bike Ride along the coast from Cascais to P

Bike Ride along the coast from Cascais to P

Food

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.

cafe galeria house of wonders in Cascais, Portugal

Santini Gelato in Cascais, Portugal

And just a few more pictures…

Beach in Cascais, Portugal | The perfect day trip from Lisbon

Streets in Cascais, Portugal | The perfect day trip from Lisbon

Plaza and wave sidewalk in Cascais, Portugal

Azulejos in Cascais, Portugal

Streets in Cascais, Portugal | The perfect day trip from Lisbon

Streets in Cascais, Portugal | The perfect day trip from Lisbon

Bike Ride along the coast from Cascais to P

Bike Ride along the coast from Cascais to P

Public pool near Praia do Guincho near Cascais, Portugal

Bike path along the coast from Cascais to P

Sand dunes at Praia do Guincho near Cascais, Portugal | The perfect beach trip from Lisbon

Kitesurfers at Praia do Guincho near Cascais, Portugal | The perfect beach trip from Lisbon

 


 

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. 🙂

 


 

Cascais | The perfect day trip from Lisbon

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5 Comments

  • Reply Lori September 21, 2016 at 5:06 pm

    Can’t wait to go. We’ll be there in November. It will be interesting to compare the seasons! Beautiful photography and great information. Thanks for the info!

    • Reply nomanbefore September 21, 2016 at 11:40 pm

      I’m sure the beaches will be much less busy, you may even have them all to yourself!

  • Reply Lisbon vs Porto December 29, 2016 at 1:52 am

    […] of Sintra are a must-do and if it’s summer, don’t miss out on the beaches around Cascais. Further north, you’ll find the walled-town of Obidos, complete with the azulejos covered […]

  • Reply Our Favorite Travel Experiences of 2016 January 2, 2017 at 6:59 pm

    […] coastline between Cascais and Guincho beach has rugged edges and sweeping sand dunes, but this experience was made all the more fun as we […]

  • Reply Portugal Travel | 19 Places You Can't Miss in Portugal | No Man Before January 26, 2017 at 5:57 am

    […] coase is Praia do Guincho, a large sand dune beach with great surfing. Read all about our tips for visiting Cascais here, including where to rent free […]

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