On my recent visit to Lisbon I decided to go on a day trip to the coastal town of Cascais. Cascais is located about 20 miles away from Lisbon, along the coast. You can drive there if you like, or you can take the train from the station Cais do Sodré, that operates coastal train services from Lisbon, for as little as 4.80€ for a day return.
Cascais – Portuguese Paradise – If Only for a Day!
Early one morning we made our way from the hotel to Cais do Sodré to catch the train: they run every 20 minutes so we didn’t have to wait long. The train journey was a mere 30 minutes, but the time absolutely flew by as we gazed out the window at the morning sun glistening on the sea as the waves gently lapped the sand in the many picturesque bays and coves.
When the train pulled into Cascais station, we quickly made our way out and began exploring this quaint seaside town. The streets, just like in Lisbon, were laid with small white and black cobbles, and each street seemed to have a unique, intricate design. After a few minutes we came to a large square, each side packed with restaurants, which meant that we were going to be truly spoilt for choice at lunch time. As lunch time was a couple of hours away, we continued walking until we came to one of Cascais’s beaches.
It was a reasonably warm day, and to our surprise there was hardly a soul on the beach. We did however spot an ice cream vendor at the other end of the promenade, so we made our way over to buy one. We found a small bench close by so we sat down and enjoyed our ice creams in the sun, before continuing our walk along the promenade towards the marina.
When approaching the marina, we spotted an ancient fort nearby, and after seeing this we were expecting the marina to be of a similar age, but when we arrived we were surprised to find quite a modern marina complex. This was such a contrast to the ancient fort to one side, and a traditional white and blue lighthouse to the other. We had a brief walk around the marina before heading back to the main square for our lunch.
We walked past all of the cafes and restaurants first, but a restaurant in the far corner of the square called John Bull caught our eye, I think it was the sight of all the beautifully presented fresh fish on people’s plates that drew us in. We managed to get one of their last tables outside in the sun. While enjoying a refreshing bottle of chilled Vinho Verde we pondered over the lunch menu. I decided to start with their mussels in white wine sauce, followed by grilled squid and prawns. The food tasted as good as it looked; such simple but delightful flavours, and it was all so fresh. We finished with a glass of tawny Port, we were in Portugal after all so it would have been be rude not to.
After our lunch we decided to have a stroll in the opposite direction, heading along the coast towards Estoril. This was part of the coastline that we had passed on the train journey that morning. Each of the stunning little coves in this direction had beautiful sandy beaches, with numerous cafes and restaurants dotted along the way. After a while we found a beautiful little cove, without a doubt it was the most stunning cove that we had seen all day: beautiful golden sand, and crystal clear waters against a pastel blue sky. We decided to stop at a small café, perched at the top of the cliff looking down into this cove to enjoy a drink in the sun.
As we had just spent a few busy days exploring Lisbon, we decided we wanted to just take some time out and relax for the rest of the afternoon, with a bottle of wine, or two! A few hours passed by, while we did absolutely nothing apart from enjoy the sun, the gorgeous view and of course the wine. Whilst we were sat here some local buskers turned up and started singing and playing the guitar. The beautiful acoustic music was so relaxing, together with the sunshine and the wine it made us feel quite sleepy. It was a pleasure to have them there playing for us.
They say time flies when you are having fun, and this day really had flown by. Before we knew it, it was late afternoon, so we decided to head back to the station and catch the next train back to Lisbon.
Cascais’s proximity to Lisbon and the inexpensive regular train links, make it the perfect place to visit for the day if you are in, or around Lisbon.