Wanting to take a day trip from Lisbon to Cascais? I cover it all!
Nestled along the Atlantic coast of Portugal, Cascais is a charming seaside town that has become increasingly popular with tourists in recent years. The best part is – it’s an easy day trip from Lisbon to Cascais by train!
With its picturesque beaches, historic architecture, and vibrant local culture, it’s no wonder why so many visitors flock to this hidden gem. If you only have one day in Cascais, fear not – there is still plenty to see and do.
On a recent return trip to Lisbon, I took a lot of day trips and Cascias by far was one of my favourites! I spent one full day here making sure I saw it all and I didn’t want to leave. In fact, when I return to this area, I will likely stay here it is that charming!
In this article, I’ll guide you through the best sights and experiences that Cascais has to offer in just 24 hours. So grab your sun hat and let’s get started!
Table of Contents
Is Cascais Worth Visiting?
You bet it is and for so many reasons! Cascais is an enchanting coastal town, one of Portugal’s most beautiful, located a short train ride away from Lisbon. Boasting beautiful beaches, a charming historic center, and an alluring coastal vibe, Cascais is definitely worth visiting.
Stroll down the picturesque narrow streets, admire the colourful tiled facades, and soak up the relaxed and friendly atmosphere. With its lively cafes, restaurants, and boutique shops, there is always something to do in Cascais.
From soaking up the sun on the beach to exploring the cultural and historical sights, this town has something for everyone. So if you’re looking for a charming and authentic Portuguese experience, not to mention one of Portugual’s most Instagrammable places, be sure to add Cascais to your travel itinerary!
How to get to Cascais from Lisbon
The most efficient way to travel from Lisbon to Cascais is by train. Lisbon to Cascais by train is simple. Catch the Linha de Cascais – the Lisbon to Cascais train – from Cais do Sodre train station in Lisbon. This is how I enjoyed Cascais.
- Travel time: 33 or 40 minutes (depending on the train), trains depart every 20 minutes (this is how I did it)
- Cost: 2.30 single ticket one-way
- Tickets: tickets can’t be pre-booked as it’s considered an urban train service, use the kiosks at the station
- Tip: sit on the left side of the train for the best views of the beach and sea
Another popular way is to take a day trip from Lisbon to Cascais on a group tour. From Lisbon, join a small group tour and see the fairytale Pena Palace and the gardens of Sintra. The tour takes you along the coast to Cabo da Roca for panoramic views and ends with a day in Cascais with some free time.
15 Things to Do in Cascais
#1 Cascais Downtown Centre
As you stroll through the streets, you’ll come across a variety of shops, cafes, and restaurants that offer a taste of local life. Whether you’re in the mood for a traditional Portuguese pastry or a refreshing glass of wine, there’s always something to satisfy your cravings. One of the best streets to walk is Rua Frederico Arouca.
#2 Passeio Dom Luís I
Passeio D. Luís I is a lovely pedestrian boulevard located next to the sea with panoramic views over the marina and the bay of Cascais. When I visited here, this was also the place where the Cascais Christmas Market was held.
#3 Cascais Historic Centre
The historic centre of Cascais is a charming and picturesque area that’s just waiting to be explored. Here, you’ll find a vibrant mix of colourful buildings and cobbled streets.
My favourite part was simply getting lost in the web of narrow streets. Each one is prettier than the next! It took me all of three seconds to fall in love with Cascais as this is exactly the kind of small European charming town that makes you want to pack your bags and move.
#4 Cidadela de Cascais
The Cidadela de Cascais is a historic gem worth visiting. Upon arrival, you will immediately be struck by the stunning architecture of this 16th-century fortress. As you wander the narrow cobblestone streets and explore the quaint squares and courtyards, you’ll discover a treasure trove of history and culture.
The Cidadela was once home to royalty and nobility, and you can feel the grandeur of the past in every corner. Don’t miss the impressive Museum of the Sea, which tells the story of Cascais’ deep connection to the ocean.
#5 Citadel Arts District
The Citadel Arts District is a vibrant and creative hub that book and art lovers will adore. Behind the Citadel walls is a modern space lined with art galleries, studios, book shops and boutique artisan shops showcasing everything from contemporary art to traditional crafts.
#6 Palacio Seixas
The Palacio Seixas is a magnificent 19th-century palace constructed for the Seixas family, one of the wealthiest and most influential families in the region.
Today, the palace is open to visitors, offering a rare glimpse into the opulent and glamorous world of Portugal’s aristocracy. Explore the palace’s ornate halls and lavish rooms, you’ll be transported back in time to an era of grandeur and luxury. And don’t miss the opportunity to visit the palace’s beautiful gardens, which are equally beautiful. The guides that work here are extremely attentive and informative.
#7 Cascais Beaches
Just like the famous Algarve beaches you’re in for a treat because the Cascais beaches are some of the most beautiful and unique beaches in Portugal! From the lively and bustling Praia da Ribeira, where you can soak up the sun and watch the fishermen bring in their catch of the day, to the tranquil and serene Praia da Conceição, with its crystal clear waters and golden sand, there’s a beach for everyone in Cascais.
The best beach in Cascais for those seeking a more secluded and intimate experience, Praia da Duquesa is the perfect spot to relax and unwind. Surrounded by rocky cliffs and sheltered by the wind, this beach offers a peaceful and romantic setting. And last but not least, Paria da Rainha is a small and charming beach nestled in the heart of Cascais, where you can enjoy a refreshing swim and admire the beautiful views of the bay.
#8 Mercado da Vila
The City Market located in a revamped 1952 building houses a buzzing market with dozens of produce stalls, restaurants, and culinary shops. Make this a pitstop between your sightseeing of Cascais attractions and take part in this local’s hotspot.
#9 Condes de Castro Guimarães Museum
Condes de Castro Guimarães Museum is a treasure trove of history and culture. This stunning museum is housed in a beautiful Gothic-style castle, which was built in the late 19th century by the Portuguese nobleman Jorge O’Neill.
As you wander through the castle’s halls and rooms, you’ll be transported back in time to the elegant world of Portugal’s aristocracy. The museum’s extensive collection includes everything from historic artifacts to stunning works of art, and you’ll be amazed by the intricate details and craftsmanship on display. And, the castle’s lush gardens offer breathtaking views of the Atlantic Ocean.
#10 Parque Marechal Carmona
The enchanting Marechal Carmona Park is a green oasis nestled in the heart of Cascais. This stunning park is a paradise for nature lovers, with lush gardens, winding paths, and colourful flowers blooming in every direction.
As you stroll through the park, you’ll discover a wide range of attractions and activities, including playgrounds, picnic areas, and even a mini-zoo. But the true highlight of the park is its stunning arboretum, which boasts over 200 different species of trees from all over the world. And, Casa de Santa Maria, a beautiful villa, is also located within the park.
#11 Santa Marta Lighthouse
The picturesque Santa Marta Lighthouse is a historic landmark that has been guiding ships into the Cascais harbour for over a century. Explore the lighthouse and its surrounding grounds, you’ll be struck by the stunning views of the Atlantic Ocean and the rugged coastline.
If you want a glimpse of the daily life as a lighthouse keeper take a tour of the inside. You’ll have a chance to read about their experiences in a personal diary where it talks about what it was like to live and work in these isolated but essential structures. Explore this unique space and you’ll discover a treasure trove of objects related to Portuguese lighthouses, including rare Fresnel lenses that were specially designed for these beacons of light.
#12 Paredão de Cascais – to Estoril from
Take the Paredão de Cascais walk to Estoril, and you’ll be treated to breathtaking views of the rugged coastline and the Atlantic Ocean. This scenic walk takes you along the boardwalk, flanked by quaint cafes and stunning beaches that are perfect for a refreshing dip in the sea. I lucked out and saw a double rainbow!
Along the way, you’ll discover hidden coves and picturesque viewpoints making this one of the best Instagrammable places in Portugal. As you approach Estoril, you’ll be greeted by the charming town centre and might recognize the iconic Casino Estoril, known as the inspiration for Ian Fleming’s James Bond novels.
#13 Boca do Inferno
The Boca do Inferno, or “Mouth of Hell,” is a natural wonder that will leave you in awe. This sea cave is a must-see in Cascais. As you approach the Boca do Inferno, you’ll hear the thunderous sound of waves crashing against the rocky cliffs, creating a dramatic and unforgettable scene.
Once you arrive, you’ll be struck by the sheer power and beauty of the natural formations, with water surging through the cavern and creating mesmerizing patterns in the rocks. It’s also a great spot to watch the sunset, what a wonderful way to end a day in Cascais.
#14 Sailing Tour
Sailing trip off the coast of Cascais, sit back and relax as you cruise along the pristine coast of Cascais and sip on tasty drinks.
Sail to Cabo the Roca, the most western point of Europe, or relax along the beautiful white sandy beaches of Cascais, Estoril, Parede, Carcavelos, and Oeiras. Drop anchor, enjoy the sun and swim in the clear blue seas.
#15 Self-Guided Bike Tour of Cascais
Bicas is a free bike-share program where you can pick up (and drop off) bikes outside the train station. Ride the 12 km (6 miles) roundtrip up the coast to Guincho Beach with incredible views of the Atlantic. Just follow the cycle path that runs along the main coastal road (N247) and seeing this is a self-guided tour, make any stops along the way that you want.
One thing is for certain, there are a lot of restaurants to choose from in Cascais. Here are a few recommendations.
- Lambrettazzurra pizzeria – the best pizza joint in town where all the ingredients and recipes come straight from Italy
- House of Wonders – a Vegetarian’s delight and super cute cafe with terrace seating is the perfect spot for breakfast, lunch or afternoon tea (and also is a B&B in Cascais)
- Hífen – perfect for an après-beach meal as the vibe is casual, modern and the mixology drinks are delicious
- Páteo do Petisco – the best place to enjoy the Portuguese “petiscar” style, which is the ordering of small portions of various dishes and dividing everything around the table
- Restaurante Mar do Inferno – for killer views and vibe, this upscale restaurant known for its seafood is the perfect choice for couples or friends
- Cantinho do Avillez – is another addition to the famous José Avillez, a chef with two Michelin stars, and more than ten restaurants in Lisbon and Porto
- Fortaleza do Guincho – is a Michelin-star restaurant with French and German influences serving lunch and dinner service (and there’s a luxury 5-star hotel on site)
How much time do you need in Cascais?
Discover the charm of Cascais in just a day trip, or take your time and stay a few days to explore the beaches, museums, and restaurants.
Which is better Sintra or Cascais?
Both Sintra and Cascais are beautiful destinations in their own right. Sintra boasts fairytale palaces while Cascais offers beaches and a relaxed atmosphere. It really depends on your preferences!
What is Cascais famous for?
Cascais is famous for its stunning beaches, charming old town, world-class golf courses, delicious seafood, and a summer retreat for wealthy Portuguese citizens.
What to do in Cascais for a day?
For a day in Cascais, explore the historic centre, visit the Citadel Palace, enjoy the beaches, and try the seafood. Finish with a sunset view from Boca do Inferno.
Portugal Travel Inspiration
For your Lisbon trip inspiration and planning, here are some additional resources that you might find helpful.
- Explore the best neighbourhoods in Lisbon and discover a captivating 4-day itinerary to make the most of your time in the city.
- Don’t miss the opportunity to visit the remarkable Jerónimos Monastery in Lisbon, showcasing stunning architecture and rich history.
- Venture on a day trip from Lisbon to marvel at the enchanting Pena Palace in Sintra and the other lesser known UNESCO site of Quinta da Regaleira.
- Coimbra is another worthwhile destination, and you can find out if it’s worth visiting and explore an ideal 1-day itinerary for your trip.
- If you’re looking for a place to stay in Lisbon, consider Baixa House, a personal recommendation based on my return trips to the city.
If your Portugal travels have you going to Porto, Douro Valley, or Coimbra be sure to check out these articles:
If your Portugal itinerary includes Porto, Douro Valley, or Coimbra, you might be wondering…
- “Is Porto worth visiting?” I can confidently say YES, and I’ve got 17 reasons to back it up. Not only that, I share 40 fascinating facts that get to what is Porto known for.
- Discover the ultimate itinerary for spending 3 days in Porto, ensuring you make the most of your visit.
- While in Porto, don’t miss the opportunity to embark on a delightful Douro Valley Wine Tour, a must-do experience for wine lovers.
- If you’re considering a day trip to Coimbra from Porto or Lisbon, find out why it’s worth visiting and explore an ideal 1-day itinerary for your adventure.
For more Portugal content and travel resources, be sure to visit my Europe Travel page, where you’ll find a wealth of articles and helpful information to enhance your trip.
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As a Holidaymaker
Cascais offers a perfect blend of history, culture, and natural beauty that can be enjoyed in just one day. From the picturesque cobblestone streets and colourful houses to the stunning beaches and breathtaking coastal views, there is something for everyone in this charming Portuguese town.
Whether you are looking to relax on the beach, explore historic sites or indulge in delicious seafood cuisine, Cascais has it all. So why not plan your next day trip to Cascais today? You won’t regret it!