The country of Portugal is filled with stunning scenery and its capital city of Lisbon is no exception. With seemingly great views around every corner, picturesque architecture, and delicious food and wine, it’s a tough combination to beat. So be sure to take the time to relax, explore, and enjoy everything Lisbon has to offer, but don’t let it stop you from taking an adventure to see some of the smaller towns in Portugal. For example, the seaside town of Cascais is only 35 minutes from Lisbon by train and makes for an excellent day trip to add-on to any planned Portugal itineraries. Below are just some of the reasons we enjoyed our day trip to Cascais during a recent stay in Lisbon.
1. Getting there is Budget Friendly
Anyone staying in Lisbon can find themselves in Cascais for under 3 euro, and this includes purchasing a reloadable Viva Viagem card. The train leaves from the Cais do Sodre station on the very southern most stop of the green line. If staying farther away in Lisbon the cost would be slightly higher as you would need to ride the subway to Cais do Sodre station.
The return trip from Cascais to Lisbon can be purchased at either station but as long as you still have the reloadable Viva Viagem card it should only cost 2.15 euro.
2. Easy Transportation with a View
Unlike the subway system around Lisbon the train to Cascais is above ground and easy to find after arriving at Cais do Sodre station. Additionally, since Cascais is the final stop the train makes it is pretty much impossible to miss. This also makes it easy for when it is time to return to Lisbon since the train will be waiting at the station.
Above: Interior of the train that goes between Lisbon and Cascais. It makes multiple stops along the way and one leaves about every 20 minutes.
After arriving on the subway we barely missed a train as it was pulling out of the station. But after checking the departures board we were able to easily determine the next train headed to Cascais was waiting on platform 3. We ended up waiting on the train for about 15 minutes but as soon as it pulled out of the station the scenic views quickly filled the windows on the left hand side of the train as we sped away towards Cascais. The train ended up making multiple stops along the way for people to get off, with multiple beaches along the way, but the total time to reach Cascais was around 35 minutes.
3. Beautiful Beaches & Views
As soon as we arrived and left the train station we were happy we made the journey. The sun was shining, there was a light breeze in the air, and everyone seemed to be in a relaxed, cheery mood. We immediately walked towards the water and came across this lovely beach with views of sailboats floating out in the water. Even though we came to walk around and check out the town I quickly wished I had brought my swimsuit and towel.
The partially visible building in the above photo is The Albatroz Hotel and looked quite nice. I am certain it would make for a nice long weekend in Cascais if anyone is looking for a hotel to indulge themselves. The hotel also offers a Sintra tour package and Sunday brunch.
We continued walking through the charming streets and came across another beach that is essentially right in the middle of the town. It was smaller than the other but still a great place to simply relax for a bit. Really helps get away from the hustle and bustle of a bigger city.
4. Great Seafood
Given where we were it was a pretty simple decision to get seafood for lunch. The harder part was deciding where to go, but rather than looking up reviews and basing our opinion upon that we looked for a crowded restaurant (usually a good sign) and gave it a shot.
We weren’t disappointed. Not knowing what we had just gotten ourselves into we ordered the seafood sampler platter for two and a bottle of white wine. They ended up bringing over a massive tray of seafood and then a separate bowl of steamed mussels. Everything was delicious and we even got to try Gooseneck Barnacle, a particular type of seafood I had never had before. Overall I would have to say, for any seafood lovers out there, Portugal in general would be a great place to visit.
5. Laid Back Atmosphere for Drinks
Cascais is a great place to sit back, enjoy the atmosphere, and try some Portuguese wine. We ended up finding a place called the tasting room and stopped in to try one of the many wines lining their wall.
Everyone we ran into at the tasting room was extremely nice and the waitress gave us plenty of recommendations.
There really isn’t a better place to do a Port wine tasting flight than Portugal. Especially when you can sit at a glass bar top taking in the local street life. And if tasting wine with a sea view is more your taste then there are plenty of options to fit this bill as well. Just walk further down the street and you’ll be sure to find something.
6. Charming Town to Walk Around
Everywhere we walked seemingly turned up new areas to explore, the majority of which appeared to have some touch of mediterranean influence. The whole town simply gave us the relaxed vibe of being on the coast.
We came across a town square area that had an Irish Pub, complete with outdoor sitting area to enjoy the weather.
And another hotel in the area, called Hotel Bai’a, sits along a main road with views looking directly out over the ocean.
We came across streets lined with palms trees, shops, and cafes, all filled with people just enjoying the day.
After more walking we found Parque Marechal Cormona, which offered lots of green space and had chairs sitting out for people to relax in.
It’s easy to find more unique architecture, with a walk way to get down to water level.
Or walk around the outside of the Cidadela Cascais Fort, which was built in the 15th century.
And if you find yourself in the mood for games there is even a spot to play checkers.
Then take in the rose garden. Overall the area is just filled with charming spots to find, explore, and relax.
7. And Lastly, always the chance you find a Peacock
We also came across this peacock in the Parque Marechal Cormona but figured it needed its own bullet point. Cause its not every day a peacock walks right in front of you and pauses for a picture. He ended up just hanging out with us for a few minutes before continuing on his way.
Cascais is a great destination for day-trippers and longer vacation seekers alike. There is great seafood, amazing wine, awesome views, beaches, and plenty of character. Combine all this with how cheap and easy it is to get to and it should certainly land high on your list of possible adventures in Portugal. It would certainly be easy to head out in the morning after breakfast, explore some of the area, have lunch at one of the many cafe’s, and leave late afternoon for dinner back in Lisbon. If anyone has been to Cascais, or is planning a trip there themselves, we would love to hear your thoughts below.