All sorts of experiences within a short distance range.
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Come and discover the most sophisticated and elegant area in the Lisbon region beside the sea. In what used to be the most popular place for the old European royalty to spend the bathing season, experience the contrast between the calm beaches along the Linha and the inspiring Atlantic coast. With its dunes, pinewoods and dream houses, Cascais awaits.
With an amazing atmosphere and ocean views as far as the eye can see, Cascais is somewhere that nobody visiting Lisbon should miss. Just 20 minutes from the capital, it has a warm welcome for everyone, cycle lanes and urban beaches with inviting loungers. While the atmosphere in Estoril is more bohemian and cosmopolitan, mostly due to the largest casino in Europe and the surrounding lively nightlife, Cascais is an old fishing town and a seaside resort for cultural recreation.
The nautical tradition is paramount here and the marina and cycle lane to Guincho, as well as the available bicycles, let you get close to nature without yielding an inch in terms of glamour and urbanity. With various top restaurants and teahouses with unforgettable views, nothing prepares you for the panorama as you arrive at Guincho. This very popular beach when the northern winds subside, with Cape Roca in the background and intrepid surfers in the sea, is the town’s landmark feature. Visit Guincho to run, walk, sunbathe or get wet in the rain and prepare yourself for the constant wind which makes it one of the best beaches for windsurfing and kitesurfing.
Returning to town, don’t forget to visit the Cidadela Art District in the Museum Neighbourhood and make the most of the fantastic local golf courses. Cascais is ideal for sport, with its perfect weather and amenities.
Paula Rego, who lives in London, is widely acknowledged to be one of Portugal’s leading artists. In 2006, she decided to build “her” House of Stories in Cascais. The building was designed by the architect Eduardo Souto de Moura. The collection includes a significant number of her painted and drawn works and some of those of her artist and art critic husband, Victor Willing, who died in 1988. The Paula Rego House of Stories provides a first-class cultural service, through the rotating exhibition of its collection, its dynamically active education service and its wide-ranging complementary offer of cultural events.
The Santa Marta Lighthouse Museum, which is right next to Casa de Santa Maria, occupies the former fort and the lighthouse with the same name. The whole complex was converted into a leisure and cultural centre, although the lighthouse is still part of the coastal signalling system. The museum offers an overview of lighthouses in general, plus specific exhibits on such themes as lighthouses in Portugal and the work of the lighthouse keeper, amongst others. Visitors can also enjoy the documentary film: Lighthouses of Portugal. Five Centuries of History.
Portuguese doçaria conventual is one of the country’s greatest culinary traditions. Based on eggs and sugar, it was developed in convents from the 15th century onwards. There are many theories why and there is no doubt that the arrival of sugar from Brazil allowed the sweets served in the royal palaces to evolve. There are myriad theories, from the availability of egg yolks – since the whites were used to launder clothes – to the fact that the nobility was obliged to remain at court and entertained itself by inventing recipes to fill the time. In the Lisbon region, there are various delicious examples of this art form, of which Fradinhos de Mafra, Pasteis de Belém, Nozes de Cascais and Toucinho do Céu de Odivelas are just a few. Come and discover the flavours that history created.
The beaches between Lisbon and Cascais are closer than you think. Take the train from Cais do Sodré or the car and drive along the marginal, the road that follows the coast and has great views of Lisbon and the mouth of the Tagus. Beach-wise, Santo Amaro, Oeiras and Carcavelos are the biggest and most family oriented (Carcavelos is ideal for surfing and skimming novices). You’ll find various schools and hundreds of devotees. Linked to Cascais by the seafront walk, you’ll find other smaller but still good beaches, such as Avencas, São Pedro and Parede. In Cascais, the urban beaches and bay are full in summer and winter. But 6 km from the centre is Cresmina and the amazing Guincho, a hotspot for windsurfers and kitesurfers. With a view of Cape Roca, this is popular for its strong winds.