5 Essential Travel Tips for Visitors to Cascais
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Are you planning a trip to Cascais soon? Or maybe you’re already here? Cascais is a beautiful seaside town, just outside of Lisbon and jam-packed with exciting things to see and do.
You might have already read some of our previous content on the best attractions in Cascais but now we want to share our insider tips to help you get your feet on the ground straight away. Ready to make the most of your time in Cascais?
1. Take it slow
One of the biggest draws of Portugal for expats is just how relaxed it can be here. The people who live here tend to keep things stress-free and rarely rush anything. This attitude extends to visitors too.
When you visit Cascais, we recommend you take it slow. Relax and enjoy your time here.
Take your time to walk around and explore the town at your own pace. If you have some wiggle room in your schedule, an extra day is worth it.
Spend a day sitting at the beach or catch a sunset at Praia do Guincho. All of these things are best done slowly and savored. Slow down and you will find yourself seeing the real Cascais.
Unless you have some dietary restrictions, don’t miss out on the amazing seafood local restaurants have to offer. It’s hard to fit everything into a list, but you’ll be sure to find plenty of shellfish (we’re talking shrimp, clams, octopus…) and fish (sardines, mackerel, cod, bass…). They can be cooked, grilled, fried, or stand out as the main ingredients in soups and stews. To satisfy your sweet tooth, make sure to try some of the traditional pastries, particularly keen on sugar, honey, almonds, figs and citruses. A crowd favorite are Areias de Cascais (‘Cascais’ sands’), shortbread balls covered in sugar, that you can order at bakeries and pastry shops. These go perfectly with an espresso on the side. But what doesn’t?
2. Try Portuguese food
Portuguese food has a tendency to slip under the radar on the international stage. In Cascais, it's a highlight. When you come to visit, be sure to try the local cuisine.
From the traditional Arroz de Pato to the classic Bacalhau à Brás, you’re sure to find something for your palate. Even better when complemented with a nice glass of Portuguese wine. In Cascais, you will find outstanding Portuguese seafood, with restaurants scattered throughout the town.
But don’t stop there! Try some of the local treats at the cafes too. The Pastel de Nata is the most famous but you will find many more, like the local Areias de Cascais. Embrace the local food culture when you can. Join the locals in their love for late-night dining and make unforgettable memories with your friends.
3. Embrace the outdoors
Cascais is known for many things. One of the most famous of these is Surfing and outdoor activities. During your stay in Cascais, you will find many opportunities to get out and embrace the nature around you.
We highly recommend trying a surf lesson at one of the many surf schools in Cascais. You will find an endless amount of beginner-friendly lessons available throughout the year. Guincho & Carcavelos beaches are the most popular surfing beaches.
Surfing is just the beginning, though. There are endless opportunities for outdoor fun in Cascais. You can try your hand at stand-up paddleboarding or hike one of Sintra’s many routes. Take a rock climbing excursion or even cycle to Guincho beach.
Cascais lifestyle is heavily connected to the outdoors so make the most of it during your trip.
4. Don’t be afraid of the off-season
The summer months, particularly August, can be busy in Cascais. But if you haven’t booked your trip yet, don't be afraid to also look at the off-season months. Portuguese weather ensures that it doesn't get too cold during the winter.
You’ll find much fewer people on the streets and in restaurants and almost all of the attractions stay open year-round. Surfers can enjoy emptier beaches and more consistent conditions. If you prefer a quiet holiday, the off-season may be for you.
5. Explore Greater Cascais
You will, of course, find many things to do in Cascais center but do expand your horizons! The Cascais surroundings are filled with great places to see, and you won't have to change your overnight base.
Day trips to Sintra or Lisbon are a great idea and a chance to get a change of scenery. Both are accessible via public transport. If you have a car, we recommend exploring the Sintra National Park.
Explore places like Praia Grande, Praia da Adraga and Cabo da Roca. Don't miss the Peninha viewpoint in Sintra (a true hidden gem) for one of the best views of Cascais.
So, ready to go?
If you're looking to learn a bit more about the local culture, check out our 7 Ideas to Experience the Culture of Cascais article!