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Cascais is a coastal town and a municipality in Portugal, 30 kilometres (19 miles) west of Lisbon. It is a cosmopolitan suburb of the Portuguese capital and one of the richest municipalities in Portugal. The population in 2011 was 206,479, in an area of 97.40 km². The former fishing village gained fame as a resort for Portugal's royal family in the late 19th century and early 20th century. Nowadays, it is a popular vacation spot for both Portuguese and foreign tourists.
It is located on the Estoril Coast (also known as the Portuguese Riviera), in the Greater Lisbon subregion. It has an airport for general aviation serving the Lisbon Region in Tires (S. Domingos de Rana), theCascais Aerodrome, that also offers domestic scheduled flights by Aero VIP.
|TIME ZONE :||WET/WEST (UTC+0/+1)|
|AREA :||97.40 km2 (37.61 sq mi)|
|COORDINATES :||38°42′N 9°25′W|
|SEX RATIO :||• Male: 48.5%|
• Female: 51.5%
|AREA CODE :||214|
|POSTAL CODE :||2750|
|DIALING CODE :||+351 21|
Today, there is a large yacht harbour and several small sandy beaches in and around the town. Cascais is easily reached from Lisbon by car on the A5 Lisboa-Cascais highway, or alternatively on the scenic "marginal" road, as well as by frequent inexpensive commuter trains. Taxis are also a common and inexpensive mode of transport in the area. The city has the ruins of a castle, an art and an ocean museum, as well as parks and the charming cobbled streets of the historic centre. The town has many hotels and tourist apartments as well as many good restaurants of varying cost. It is a fine base to use for those visiting Lisbon and its environs who prefer to stay outside of the city yet in an equally urban and sophisticated environment.
Cascais is surrounded by popular beaches such as Guincho Beach to the west, and the lush Sintra mountains to the north. Some of its shoreline has cliffs, attracting tourists who come for the panoramic views of the sea and other natural sights such as the Boca do Inferno. It is also becoming a popular golf destination, with over 10 golf courses nearby. Surfing, sailing,windsurfing, and kitesurfing are also popular in the region due to favourable weather, wind, and sea conditions. In 2007, Cascais was the official host of the ISAF World Championship in sailing for dinghies and racing yachts.
The municipality also hosts international tennis and motorcycling events and for many years hosted the FIA F1 Portugal Grand Prix. The famous Estoril Casinois one of the largest in Europe. Near the casino is the "Hotel Palácio" (Palace Hotel), a 5-star hotel where scenes of the James Bond movie On Her Majesty's Secret Service were shot.
Human settlement of the territory today known as Cascais dates to the late Paleolithic, as indicated by remnants encountered in the north of Talaíde, in Alto do Cabecinho (Tires) and south of Moinhos do Cabreiro. It was during the Neolithic that permanent settlements were established in the region, their inhabitants utilizing the natural grottoes (such as the Poço Velho in Cascais) and artificial shelters (like those in Alapraia or São Pedro) to deposit their dead. The bodies were buried along with offerings, a practice that continued to the Chalcolithic.
Roman interventions in the area occurred with the settlement of the villae of Freiria (today São Domingos de Rana) and Casais Velhos (Charneca), evidence for which includes a group of ten tanks discovered along the Rua Marques Leal Pancada in Cascais, which was the location of a salting factory for fish. Roman dominion over the territory also influenced place names in the region, as was the case with the word "Caparide" (from the Latin capparis, meaning "caper"), as well as several inscriptions associated with funerary graves.
Similarly, Muslim settlers in the region left their mark on local place names, including "Alcoitão" and "Alcabideche", where the romantic poet Ibn Muqana al-Qabdaqi, who wrote of the region's agriculture and windmills, was born at the beginning of the 11th century.
The development of Cascais began in earnest in the 12th century, when it was administratively subordinate to the town of Sintra, located to the north. In its humble beginnings, Cascais depended on the products of the sea and land, but by the 13th century its fish production was also supplying the nearby city of Lisbon. The toponymy "Cascais" appears to derive from this period, a plural derivation of cascal (monte de cascas) which signified a "mountain of shells", referring to the abundant volume of marine mollusks harvested from the coastal waters. During the 14th century, the population spread outside the walls of its fortress castle.
The settlement's prosperity led to its administrative independence from Sintra in 1364. On 7 June 1364, the people of Cascais obtained from King Peter I the elevation of the village to the status of town, necessitating the appointment of local judges and administrators. The townspeople were consequently obligated to pay the Crown 200 pounds of gold annually, as well as bearing the expense of paying the local administrators' salaries. Owing to the regions' wealth, these obligations were easily satisfied. The town and the surrounding lands were owned by a succession of feudal lords, the most famous of whom was João das Regras (died 1404), a lawyer and professor of the University of Lisbon who was involved in the ascension of King John I to power as the first King of the House of Aviz.
The castle of Cascais was likely constructed during this period, since by 1370, King Ferdinand had donated the castle and Cascais to Gomes Lourenço de Avelar to hold as a seigneurial fiefdom. These privileges were then passed on to his successors, among them João das Regras and the Counts of Monsanto, and later the Marquess of Cascais. Meanwhile, despite its conquest and sack by Castilian forces in 1373, and blockade of the port in 1382 and 1384, Cascais continued to grow beyond its walls. By the end of the 14th century this resulted in the creation of the parishes of Santa Maria de Cascais, São Vicente de Alcabideche and São Domingos de Rana.
From the Middle Ages onward, Cascais depended on fishing, maritime commerce (it was a stop for ships sailing to Lisbon), and agriculture producing wine, olive oil, cereals, and fruits. Due to its location at the mouth of the Tagus estuary, it was also seen as a strategic post in the defence of Lisbon. Around 1488, King John II built a small fortress in the town, situated by the sea. On 15 November 1514, Manuel I conceded a foral (charter) to Cascais, instituting the regions' municipal authority. It was followed on 11 June 1551 by a license from King John III to institutionalise the Santa Casa da Misericórdia de Cascais. The town's medieval fortress was inadequate to repel invasions, and in 1580 Spanish troops led by the Duque of Alba took the village during the conflict that led to the union of the Portuguese and Spanish crowns. The fortress was enlarged towards the end of the 16th century by King Philip I (Philip II of Spain), turning it into a typical Renaissance citadel with the characteristic flat profile and star-shaped floorplan. Following the Portuguese restoration in 1640, a dozen bulwarks and redoubts were constructed under the direction of the Count of Cantanhede, who oversaw the defences of the Tagus estuary, the gateway to the city of Lisbon. Of these structures, the citadel of Cascais, which was constructed alongside the fortress of Nossa Senhora da Luz, considerably reinforced the strategic defences of the coast.
In 1755, the great Lisbon earthquake destroyed a large portion of the city. Around 1774, theMarquis of Pombal, prime-minister of King José I, took protective measures for the commercialisation of the wine of Carcavelos and established the Royal Factory of Wool in the village, which existed until the early 19th century. During the invasion of Portugal by Napoleonic troops in 1807, the citadel of Cascais was occupied by the French, with General Junot staying some time in the village.
The citadel decayed gradually until King Luís I decided to make Cascais into his summer residence. From 1870 to 1908, the royal family repaired to Cascais to enjoy the sea, turning the somnolent fishing village into a cosmopolitan address. Thanks to King Luís, the citadel was equipped with the country's first electric lights in 1878. Cascais also benefited with the construction of better roads to Lisbon and Sintra, a casino, a bullfight ring, a sports club, and improvements to basic infrastructure for the population. Many noble families built impressive mansions still to be seen in the town centre and environs. The first railway arrived in 1889.
In 1896, King Carlos I, a lover of all maritime activities, installed in the citadel the first oceanographic laboratory in Portugal. The King himself led a total of 12 scientific expeditions to the coast; these ended in 1908 with his assassination in Lisbon.
Another important step in the touristic development of the area was made in the first half of the 20th century with the building of a casino and infrastructure in neighbouring Estoril to support luxury vacations for the wealthy.
Due to Portugal's neutrality in World War II and the town's elegance and royal past, Cascais became home to many of the exiled royal families of Europe, including those of Spain, Italy, Hungary and Bulgaria.
Nowadays, Cascais and its surroundings are a popular vacation spot for the Portuguese as well as for the international jet set and regular foreign tourists, all of them drawn by its fine beaches.
Cascais is situated on the western edge of the Tagus estuary, between the Sintra mountains and the Atlantic Ocean; the territory occupied by the municipality is delimited in the north by the municipality of Sintra, south and west by the ocean, and east by the municipality of Oeiras.
Administratively, the municipality is divided into 4 civil parishes (freguesias) with municipal authority vested in the Câmara Municipal of Cascais:
- Carcavelos e Parede
- Cascais e Estoril
- São Domingos de Rana
Prices in Cascais
MARKET / SUPERMARKET
|Beer (domestic)||0.5 l||€0.80|
|Bottle of Wine||1 bottle||€4.00|
|Dinner (Low-range)||for 2||€15.00|
|Dinner (Mid-range)||for 2||€30.00|
|Dinner (High-range)||for 2||€47.00|
|Mac Meal or similar||1 meal||€5.50|
|Beer (Imported)||0.33 l||€2.00|
|Beer (domestic)||0.5 l||€1.30|
|Coctail drink||1 drink||€8.00|
|Men’s Haircut||1 haircut||€9.00|
|Mobile (prepaid)||1 min.||€0.17|
|Pack of Marlboro||1 pack||€4.70|
|Toilet paper||4 rolls||€1.35|
CLOTHES / SHOES
|Jeans (Levis 501 or similar)||1||€75.00|
|Dress summer (Zara, H&M)||1||€32.00|
|Sport shoes (Nike, Adidas)||1||€72.00|
|Local Transport||1 ticket||€1.90|
44 € per day
Estimated cost per 1 day including:
- meals in cheap restaurant
- public transport
- cheap hotel
131 € per day
Estimated cost per 1 day including:
- mid-range meals and drinks
Transportation - Get In
Cascais is easily reachable from Lisbon by car or by train (40min), from theCais do Sodré station. A return ticket costs €2.30 and can be bought from the automatic ticket machines. Remember to keep the ticket as it will be checked and punched by the conductor in both directions. Carris operate a bus between Cais do Sodre and Lisbon Airport every 20 mins.
A car ride between Lisbon International Airport and Cascais can range between 30 minutes and 1h15 (on rush hours).
Cascais once a fishermen's harbour is a nice and sophisticated town, also a great gateway to explore the beautiful gold sand beach of Guincho.
Transportation - Get Around
The town is small enough to explore entirely by foot. To get a feeling for the life it's best to stroll around on foot. Uphill, beyond the town centre there are numerous narrow cobbled streets to explore with interesting architecture, plants and animals to see.
Riding a bicycle in Cascais is one of the "must do" things. From the beach you can venture further up the hill towards the westernmost point of continental Europe mainland and even Sintra using the nice roads while crossing the heart of this incredible nature reserve so close to the capital city of Lisbon
Basic bicycles are available to rent for free (providing you have ID and your accommodation address) through the municipal council's BiCas scheme. Bicycles are available from several locations around the town. The tourist office will have further information. This bikes are heavily (mis)used by locals, students, and budget minded visitors and often are not available when needed, when available most times not always in the best safety and enjoyable conditions thus the common breakdowns.
Companies operating from Lisbon include Bike Iberia (Phone: +351 96 242 3455, [www]) located in Lisbon Downtown right off the train station of Cais Sodre.
A looped bus line, BusCas, serves the town and the nearby surrounding area. For travelling further afield there is an extensive bus service, mainly operating from the bus station beneath the shopping centre opposite the train station. Taxis are always available and easy enough to find in the centre of town.
- BEST RATED -
- BEST VALUE -
A selection of excellent food and drink can be found on the Estoril Coast if you know where to look. Cod, seabass, and squid are the most popular dishes, and many other types of sefood are available at good establishments. Within central Cascais good food, and especially good value, can be hard to find. Taking time to scout out genuine Portuguese eating houses is worth doing however, as the tastiest and most interesting dishes often exist in tucked away more modest restaurants, where locals tend to dine.
For the best food in town skip the "Indian", "Italian" and "English" restaurants and head into the residential part of town, or walk down the coast to an establishment with fresh fish and a sea view.
Bacalhau occupies top spot in terms of culinary richness. You can choose from a 100 different recipes! And if you’d like to try a typical meat dish of the region, we suggest Leitão de Negrais or Mercês-style pork.
Find yourself a restaurant that takes its deserts seriously, and finish your meal with one of the local sweet specialties: Travesseiros, the famous Queijadas de Sintra, Fofos de Belas, Areias de Cascais or Trouxas de Malveira. Portuguese egg-based confectionary is unique and delicious, and a fine companion for some after dinner port.
Vino Verde, "green wine", is a refreshing, slightly sparkling accompaniment to Portuguese meals, and shouldn't be missed. Portuguese red wines are on a par with those in France, Italy and Spain. The main demarcated regions are found in the Douro, Dão and Alentejo, but the Estoril Coast produces very small quantities of its own fine wines in Carcavelos and Colares, a rare pleasure that you might have the opportunity to try.
Vinho de Carcavelos, Estação Agronómica Nacional Tel. +351 214 40 35 00 Adega Regional de Colares, Open from 9AM-1PM and 2PM-6PM every day. A tasting of these fine wines can be organised in advance for a minimum of 10 people Tel. +351 219 28 73 33, Alameda Coronel Linhares de Lima 24, 2705-135 Colares.
- Panorama, Estr. do Guincho 2750-642. Tel: +351 21487 9458
- Restaurante O Pescador, . Rua das flores nº 10 B. Fresh seafood fills the menu at this folksy restaurant, a favorite since 1964, where a cluttered ceiling and maritime-related artifacts distract the eye. Sole is a specialty, and this is also a good place to try bacalhau (dried salt cod); it's often baked here, either with cream or with port wine and onions.
- Pop Sandwich. A tiny sandwich bar offering fresh-made baguettes, sandwiches and mini-pizzas along with the usual assortment of coffee and cold drinks. Found on the main shopping street, its bright green interior makes it easy to find. Run by an old Portuguese couple the food is fresh, delicious and unbelievably cheap. Great for a quick meal before heading down to the beach. A large sandwich and coffee should cost around 2€.
- Pizza Itália, Rua Poço Novo 1, . A very nice Italian restaurant. If the weather permits, enjoy the terrace, with a view over the Cascais bay. 25.
- Lucullus, Rua da Palmeira, 6A. An Italian and Japanese restaurant (with two separate kitchens). Choose among a selection of pizzas or pastas, or try the sushi buffet (€14) with a nice champagne and cucumber sangria. 25.
- Os Morgados. A typical portugaise restaurant which offers great fish dishes, such as grilled seabream and seabass and tasty pasta or rice with prawns and seafood.
- Monte Bistro (close to Saboia Hotel), . A restaurant and take-away. Excellent value for money, a good portion of creativity while staying within traditional cuisine. Probably the best option when you lodge in Estoril and don't have time to walk to Cascais for dinner.
Sights & Landmarks
- Boca do Inferno, Av. Rei Humberto II Italia (Walk or ride a bike a long the footpath between the marina and Av. Republica). Just outside the town is the famous Boca do Inferno in which the sea on rougher days hammers into the rock and creates a booming noise and a spectacular spray thus creating its name which in English means "mouth of hell". The English occultist Aleister Crowley faked his death there in 1930.Free.
- Palácio de Conde de Castro Guimarães, Av. Rei Humberto II de Itália Parque Marechal Camona 2750-319 Cascais. One of the most outstanding palaces is the Palácio de Conde de Castro Guimarães that is open to the public and exhibits its own grand private collection that includes over 25,000 books and such rarities as an illustrated book by Duarte Galvão(1455-1517).
- Museu do Mar Rei D. Carlos (Museu do Mar), R. Júlio Pereira de Mello 2750 Cascais. On a much more modest scale is the Museu do Mar that depicts the story of Cascais and its fishing history.
- Parque Palmela. The Parque Palmela is an attractive park created by the Duques de Palmela and now maintained by the Town Hall and in which open-air concerts are often held.
- Guincho beach (Praia do Guincho). Within easy reach of Cascais is the famous beach at Guincho with its high waves that attract windsurfers from all around the world as having some of the best rollers in Europe.
Cascais is the dormitory of the Lisbon international working community and the "younger set" who enjoy the diverse and sophisticated nightlife.There is a famous beach and casino in Estoril.
Also, most of the pre-historic finds from the Grutas de Alapraia are stored here.
These were a series of underground caves only discovered in the late 19th Century.
The Grutus do Poço Velho are located in the centre of the town and date back to the Neolithic period.
Today, Cascais now boasts a smart new Marina with lovely yachts adding a further attraction to the town.
The next town to the east of Cascais is the resort town of Estoril with its popular Casino. You can walk to Estoril from Cascais along the beachfront esplanade, passing many beachside bars and restaurants.
Things to do
Cascais is a magnet for those looking to practice every type of sport and leisure activity. Besides excellent facilities and all the professional staff and necessary equipment, the region boasts a wide range of natural advantages such as pure air, temperate year-round climate and close proximity to the sea and mountains.
Beginning on Avenida Rei Humberto II de Italia, just outside town past the marina, is a cycle lane and footpath extending the whole 5 km to Guincho beaches. This route runs beside the sea and is ideal for morning and evening strolls. The almost perennial North Atlantic sea breeze lends a refreshing air, especially during the hot summer months. Along the way you will find Boca Do Inferno, the famed "Mouth of Hell", where there is also a snack cafe, seafood restaurant and vendors of touristy gifts.
The marina area is very active. Sailing enthusiasts will find sailing schools open at the weekend, while regular competitions and leisure vessels can always be seen around Cascais Bay. On some of the beaches it’s very easy to hire boats and go water-skiing.:
Like on the south coast, the big waves and strong winds on the west coast provide perfect conditions for surfing, windsurfing and body boarding. The world championships of these sports are regularly contested at the beaches of Guincho, Grande and Ribeira d’Ilhas north of Ericeira.
Golfers will find a large number of courses concentrated in a very small area, the majority of which are designed by the world’s best architects. This means that you can choose from a wide variety of courses that cater for players of any age or ability, right up to the highest international standards. The mild and pleasant climate offers perfect golfing conditions right through the year. Numerous golf courses are located in the area:
- Belas Country Club: Characteristics: 18 holes of 6,380 metres in length, par 72 Tel. +351 219 62 66 40 Fax. +351 219 62 66 41 www.belasgolf.com, e-mail: [email protected], Alameda do Aqueduto, Belas Clube de Campo, 2605-193 Belas.
- Estoril Club: Characteristics: 18 holes of 5,262 metres in length, par 69. Tel. +351 214 68 01 76 Fax. +351 214 68 27 96 www.palacioestorilhotel.com e-mail: [email protected] Av. da República, 2765 Estoril.
- Lisbon Spots Club: Characteristics: 18 holes of 5,278 metres in length, par 69. Facilities: trolleys, clubs and caddies for hire, golf academy, clubhouse, restaurant, bar, sauna, children’s games room, babysitting service available. Tel. +351 214 31 00 77 Fax. +351 214 31 24 82 e-mail: [email protected], Casal da Carregueira, Belas, 2745 Queluz.
- Penha Longa Golf Resort: Characteristics: Atlantic course - 18 holes of 6,290 metres in length, par 72. Monastery course – 9 holes of 2,588 metres in length, par 35 Tel. +351 219 24 90 11 Fax. +351 219 24 90 24 www.penhalonga.com e-mail: [email protected], Estrada da Lagoa Azul, Linhó, 2714-511 Sintra.
- Quinta da Marinha: Characteristics: 18 holes of 5,845 metres in length, par 71. Facilities: 3 restaurants – Five Pines (hotel), Cosi Fan Tutti (clubhouse) and Monte Mar (on the Estrada do Guincho), bars with outdoor terraces, 6 tennis courts, 3 outdoor swimming pools, jogging circuit, fitness centre, bicycles for hire, children’s club Tel. +351 214 86 01 80 Fax. +351 214 86 90 32 www.quintadamarinha.com e-mail: [email protected], Hotel Quinta da Marinha, Casa 36, Quinta da Marinha, 2750-715 Cascais.
- Oitavos Golf Course: Characteristics: 18 holes of 5,845 metres in length, par 71. Tel. +351 214 86 06 00 Fax. +351 214 86 06 09 e-mail: [email protected] www.quintadamarinha-oitavosgolfe.pt, Quinta da Marinha, Casa da Quinta nº. 25, 2750 Cascais.
- Penha Longa Monastery: Characteristics: 9 holes of 2,588 metres in length, par 35. Facilities: putting green, chipping area with 2 bunkers, driving range with 2 grass bays. Buggies, trolleys (manual and electric), clubs and golf shoes for hire Tel. +351 219 24 90 11 Fax. +351 219 24 90 24 e-mail: [email protected] www.penhalonga.com. Estrada da Lagoa Azul, Linhó, 2714-511 Sintra.
Estoril’s famous motor-racing circuit hosts many important car and bike competitions, such as the Motorcycle GP Championships. It can also be arranged for individuals to experience the thrill of motor racing first-hand.
- Racing Track, Fernanda Pires da Silva, tel: +351 214 609 500.
The variety of forest paths and excellent facilities throughout the region are a major attraction for those who enjoy horse riding. Here you’ll find a good selection of riding schools where you can hire horses and learn to ride.
Every year a five star equestrian event is taking place In Portugal called Global Champions Tour. It is a social gathering for all horse shows’ amateurs and professional riders at the Manuel Possolo hippodrome in Cascais. If the thrill of show jumping excites you, check what’s on at Quinta da Marinha or the Cascais Equestrian Centre.
- Estoril Coast Riding Centre, Charneca, Cascais Tel. +351 214 87 20 64
- Quinta da Marinha Riding Centre, Cascais Tel. +351 214 86 94 33
- D. Carlos I Country Club, Quinta da Marinha, Cascais Tel. +351 214 87 14 03
- Manuel Possolo Equestrian Centre, Cascais Tel. +351 214 82 27 50
Safety in Cascais