Cascais was initially a fishing town, but today it is the outdoor terraces, the restaurants and the shops that bring the bay and the historic centre alive.
On your first stroll around town you will get a feel for its connection to the sea and the relaxed mood of the Cascais residents. The 19th and early 20th century mansions are currently cultural and leisure venues which provide more information on the history of this town. They include the Condes de Castro Guimarães Museum, the Casa de Santa Maria, the Santa Marta Lighthouse and the King Carlos – Sea Museum. Close to the latter, you’re bound to come across the Casa das Histórias de Paula Rego (Paula Rego House of Stories), a modern building with a very peculiar design, definitely worth a visit, which houses a number of the works of this Portuguese artist.
Right by the sea, at one of the highest points, you will see the Citadel Palace, former House of the Cascais governor, chosen by King Luís for his residence. Currently, it is under the authority of the Presidency of the Portuguese Republic. On the sea-facing side, you can see the Cascais Marina.
Naturally, the proximity to the Atlantic has always contributed to keeping the traditions of fishing and nautical sports, especially sailing, alive. The conditions of the Cascais Marina, the calm sea, the climate, the beaches and the heritage are more than enough reasons for it to be a place of choice for many seamen who spend their holidays here and for holding frequent regattas, whether for recreation or competition.
Although it is close to the sea, one of this area’s noticeable features, due to its microclimate, is the presence of vast tracts of woodland and green spaces, such as the Marechal Carmona Park. After all, this is part of the Sintra-Cascais Natural Park.
At the northern end of town, Boca do Inferno (Hell’s Mouth) is a very popular places to visit. It is a striking rock formation where you can observe the power of nature and the sea. Further along, you can see the São Jorge de Oitavos Fort and, some 10km away, is Guincho Beach, another seascape awaiting you for a good fresh fish or seafood meal. It is one of the main surfing and windsurfing spots on the Portuguese coast, featuring in world tournaments.
Cascais and Estoril are also known golf destinations. Their various courses are considered among the best in the world and included in the international tournament circuit. They afford quality sport, for several levels of skill and with demanding challenges, in an environment that is pleasant all year round.