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18. Cascais
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A paradise half an hour from Lisbon, Cascais is increasingly a safe haven at any time of the year. It stands out for its beaches but also for the peaceful and secure life it promotes. It is waking up with the sea in sight, far from the city bustle. It feels like you’re on vacation, even when you’re not. With a 30-kilometer coastline, the beaches along the coast serve everyone’s plans. From the busiest to the wildest, the hardest part may be choosing where to place your towel, from Carcavelos to Guincho. It’s no coincidence that Cascais was chosen as the Portuguese royal family’s regular holiday destination from 1870 onwards. The water is crystal clear with fine sand. There are beaches with waves that demand boards and a taste for adventure, but there are also calm ones, like natural pools, perfect for family days out. Best of all, even in the heart of Cascais, you can go for a swim. Take, for example, the Praia da Conceição, which owes its name to the chapel built there in honor of Our Lady of the Immaculate Conception, and where it marks the beginning of the promenade, which extends to Azarujinha, in São João do Estoril, passing through two oceanic pools (Alberto Romano, next to Moitas beach, and Tamariz, at the beach with the same name). In Cascais Bay itself, perhaps the most iconic postcard of the area, its even possible to go into the sea. As a good coastal town, fish and seafood are yet another draw for the village – and there are famous historic houses around here. From chef restaurants and traditional food to snacks and world cuisine, there are many tables worth booking. Cascais Marina itself has been gaining a new life, after some requalification works, showing itself as an option not only for lunch or dinner, but also for having a drink. In fact, Cascais has a lot of nightlife, and proof of that is, for example, Rua Amarela, a small section hidden among alleys, closed to traffic and served by several restaurants and bars. In addition, Cascais is also renowned for its Museum neighborhood , a meeting of important cultural institutions, headed by Casa das Histórias – Paula Rego, which holds some of the works of the Portuguese artist, a major name in the arts, in an iconic building by Eduardo Souto de Moura. Across the road is the Cascais Cultural Center, home of the D. Luís I Foundation, with a busy agenda. There is also Casa Sommer, the Conde Castro Guimarães Museum, and the Santa Maria House, this last one located next to Cascais Marina, which is probably one of the most photographed places in the village, with the lighthouse right in front. Designed by Raul Lino, one of the most striking Portuguese architects of the 20th century, Santa Maria House is now an integral part of the Cascais landscape.

This landscape is also painted green. We’re not talking about golf courses, however we could, because there are seven of them, but about parks and gardens like Marechal Carmona, one of Cascais’ lungs. It includes the gardens of the Palácio dos Condes de Castro Guimarães and the property of the Visconde da Gandarinha, has two playgrounds and extensive lawns, as well as romantic paths and corners. Don’t be surprised by the ducks, roosters, and peacocks that roam freely. They are part of life there, just don’t feed them because the guards won’t allow it.