Cascais is an incredible little city by the ocean, not far from Lisbon. It used to be a fishing town, though nowadays it’s a famous resort town. Its area is called Portuguese Riviera. However, Cascais is more than pretty beaches. It provides natural wonders, architectural gems, culture, seafood experiences and Cabo da Roca is also nearby. Most of the people visit the city only for a day or less, though you might wonder… Is a day trip to Cascais enough? Hmmm barely… That’s why we spent 3 days in Cascais and enjoyed every minute of it! Still don’t know how many days to spend in Cascais… Continue reading, I’ll tell you!
How many days to spend in Cascais, Portugal?
Visiting Cascais is perfect for a 1-day trip from Lisbon. However, it has numerous hidden gems, so it’s worth spending more days there and discovering its surroundings. That’s what we did 😉
If you’re short in time, then 1 day in Cascais will be enough to explore the cute historic centre of Cascais and you can even visit a beach.
If you have more time, I’d recommend staying for at least 1-2 nights in Cascais. This way you’ll be able to relax on its beaches, explore its seafood restaurants and travel to Cabo da Roca or Estoril.
How to get to Cascais?
By train to Cascais from Lisbon Cais do Sodré
The train ride from LISBON CAIS DO SODRÉ TRAIN STATION to Cascais takes like 30 minutes. Trains leave approximately every 20 minutes and a ticket costs only 2,75 EUR. You can just top up your Lisbon metro card by choosing Zone 4.
Guided tours to Cascais
Viator, Get your Guide and Tripadvisor offer many tours to Cascais, sometimes combined with Cabo da Roca or even with Sintra. This way you can see several tourist attractions, though these tours might have only brief stops.
Where to stay in Cascais?
We booked a super cute Airbnb apartment close to the centre. From the train station, it took 10 minutes to reach the lovely neighbourhood on foot.
The apartment consists of a small kitchen with a table, a sofa, a double bed and a small bathroom. A cute little yard also belongs to the apartment, so we had breakfast in the yard every day.
How to spend 3 days in Cascais?
Our 3-day itinerary for Cascais looked like this:
- Day 1 – Travelling to Cascais + discovering the centre of Cascais
- Day 2 – Day trip to Cabo da Roca and Praia da Ursa, the secret beach
- Day 3 – Beach time and more things to do in Cascais
On the following map (My Maps by Google Maps) you can see the main attractions, beaches, restaurants and the schedule for our 3 days.
By clicking on the tab next to “How to spend 3 days in Cascais, Portugal?”, you can see the actual points, and it’s also possible to turn off and on layers. Furthermore, you can also save this map (if you have My Maps account) by pressing the star next to the map title.
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Day 1 – Discovering the centre of Cascais
After our breakfast and coffee in Lisbon, we travelled to Cascais from Cais do Sodré train station. First, we headed to our Airbnb apartment, what we booked in advance. We relaxed a bit after climbing on the steep roads, then walked back to the centre.
The historic centre of Cascais
The historic city centre of Cascais is lovely with the cute streets, colourful flowers and azulejo (Portuguese tiles) covered facades. We were just wandering in the narrow streets until we reached the main square with Museu da Vila, the Town Museum.
In the warm weather, we needed to cool ourselves down, so we ate ice cream at Santini, which is one of the best ice cream shops in Portugal.
We wanted to buy groceries in Mercado da Vila, the biggest market of Cascais. Unfortunately, the market place was empty and we had to realize that it’s open only till 2 pm. Hence, we just bought our groceries in a small supermarket.
Praia da Ribeira
We went home to change our clothes, then headed back to the centre and the closest beach, Praia da Ribeira, which is located next to the main square. The beach is relatively small and doesn’t have an intimate atmosphere because it’s close to the marina and surrounded by buildings.
We attempted going into the water, though it was super cold, so we just watched it from the sand.
Day 2 – Day trip to Cabo da Roca and Praia da Ursa from Cascais
After our late breakfast in our private yard, which belonged to the Airbnb apartment, we walked to the nearby bus station to catch a bus to Cabo da Roca.
CABO DA ROCA IS THE MOST WESTERN POINT OF THE EUROPEAN CONTINENT. It’s marked with a stone monument with a cross on top and a quote from a famous Portuguese poet, Luis Camoes.
“Aqui… onde a terra se acaba e o mar começa…”
“Here… Where the land ends and the sea begins…”
The lighthouse on the cliffside provided a huge help to boats coming from the ocean. It stands 150 m above sea level and it was the 1st built lighthouse in Portugal, the building was completed in 1772. Nowadays, the lighthouse isn’t open for the public.
The coastal path offers a fantastic view of the vast ocean. Always look at the signs, there are some restricted areas, of course, the panorama is the best from those spaces.
I’m sure that the sunsets are magical from there when we waited for the last bus back to Cascais many people approached the cliffs to get ready for the sunset.
Cabo da Roca is free to visit and it’s open all the time.
What to bring to Cabo da Roca?
- If you’re sensitive to wind and cold, BRING A SWEATER OR JACKET because this place is windy.
- The weather is a bit unpredictable at the ocean. Cascais was sunny, though Cabo da Roca and the Sintra-Cascais Natural Park was covered with clouds. Don’t forget to apply sunscreen, because the intense light shines through the cloud layers.
How to get to Cabo da Roca?
By car to Cabo da Roca
The easiest and most comfy way to reach the most western point of Europe is by car. From the centre of Cascais, you can get to Cabo da Roca in 20-25 minutes.
We were thinking about renting a car, though we changed our mind when we saw the prices online.
If you rent a car, you don’t have to depend on the schedule and fixed routes of buses. Praia da Adraga and Miradouro da Praia do Caneiro were also on my list, though they can’t be reached by bus, only on foot or by car. So we couldn’t visit those magnificent spots.
Private and group tours to Cabo da Roca
By public transport (bus) to Cabo da Roca
We chose the most affordable option and went by BUS 403 TO CABO DA ROCA FROM CASCAIS. This bus goes between Cascais and Sintra every half an hour, check out the timetable on the website of Scotturb. From the centre of Cascais, it takes around 25 minutes to get to Cabo da Roca.
The Lisbon metro card isn’t valid, so we had to pay 3,40 EUR/person by cash (on our bus the card reader didn’t work).
How to get to Praia da Ursa, the secret beach?
After walking on the cliff’s edge, we headed to Praia da Ursa.
From the Cabo da Roca bus station we needed 40 MINUTES TO REACH THE BEACH ON FOOT. There’s a little car park not far from the road leading to Cabo da Roca, though, after that point, you have to walk.
The beach is amazingly beautiful with the surrounding cliffs, totally worth the hike! It’s not so busy thanks to its hidden location. The water was super cold and the waves were strong.
What to bring to Praia da Ursa?
- The scenic path to the beach was sometimes steep, sometimes slippery and sometimes narrow. We made it in our flip-flops, I’m sure it would be better to hike in sneakers or sport shoes.
- Water, snacks and whatever you need for relaxing on the beach. There aren’t any food stalls or shops at Praia da Ursa.
- Sunscreen to protect yourself from intense sunlight.
Day 3 – Beach time and more things to do in Cascais
Praia da Duquesa and Praia da Conceição
We wanted to check out more beaches of Cascais and also avoid intense sunlight during the day, so we started our last day on the beach. On our way there, we bought pastel de nata and fresh orange juice and ate it at the beach. Pastel de nata and beach are an excellent combination 😉 With pastel de nata everything would be a lovely combination 😉
Praia da Duquesa and Praia da Conceição are merged together and are located close to the train and bus station. The beaches offer water sport opportunities like kayaking, diving, water skiing and paddle boarding. They are equipped with changing rooms, toilets, showers and bars for refreshments.
Around 11 am, we went home and had a 2nd breakfast in our yard. We relaxed a bit before exploring other parts of Cascais.
Boca do Inferno
Boca do Inferno, the “Mouth of Hell” is located at the seaside, around 15-20 minutes walk from the city centre. It’s free to visit, there’s no entrance fee, though it might be closed during winter and stormy weather.
The arch used to be part of a cave. As a result of strong waves, the cave collapsed and the arch and chasm were left behind. The panorama terrace offers an amazing panorama to the cliffs and the vast blue ocean.
After watching the waves, we walked on the seaside back to the city centre and the Museum Quarter.
Bairro dos Museus (Museum Quarter)
Museum Quarter is a cultural district, dedicated to art. Many museums are part of it, though we stopped only at these ones:
- Casa das Histórias Paula Rego, designed by Eduardo Souto de Moura
- Farol Museu de Santa Marta exhibited “The lighthouses of Portugal”
- Museu Condes de Castro Guimarães is beautiful building decorated with azulejos
- Centro Cultural de Cascais with its pink facade
- Cidadela is home of exhibition spaces and workshop area
Where to eat in Cascais?
Santini, the best ice cream in Portugal
One of my friends who lives in Lisbon said that Santini is one of the best ice cream shops in Portugal. Beyond the delicious ice cream, their secret is that the cone is totally filled with ice cream, so you can enjoy every bite.
Restaurante Maria Pia
Restaurante Maria Pia was the only restaurant on my list and it was closed due to COVID-19. Only its bar was open, but they didn’t offer dinner. Maybe next time 😉
Bar Restaurante John Bull
We were starving and after our disappointment of the closed Restaurante Maria Pia, we stopped at the touristy area and had dinner at Bar Restaurante John Bull. Well… my boyfriend stopped because of the live football game, so we just stayed there and had dinner. I wouldn’t recommend their caipirinha, though the food was pretty tasty. My boyfriend ordered Bacalhau á Brás and I had grilled octopus.
The Grill Steakhouse
After our Cabo da Roca and Praia da Ursa trip, we visited the cool touristy area of Cascais, where the streets are painted yellow. You can choose from many bars and restaurants. We stopped at The Grill Steakhouse for a T-bone steak 😛 Here, the caipirinha was also delicious!
Baía do Peixe
We’ve found Baía do Peixe after attempting to go to Restaurante Maria Pia. However, that night it was busy, so we reserved a table for our last night. This seafood restaurant overlooks the sea and the marina. The menu contains many fish and seafood dishes, though we went for an all you can eat option, so we could order as much as we wanted from 10 types of seafood.
Our expenses during 3 days in Cascais + Cabo da Roca
During our 3 days, we spent money mainly on accommodation and food. Our Cascais trip cost 402,77 EUR for the two of us.
- Accommodation – 178,00 EUR
- Transportation – 25,60 EUR
- Food and drinks – 199,17 EUR
See our daily expenses below (these were the prices in August 2020):
Day 1 – Discovering the centre of Cascais
- Train ticket from Lisbon to Cascais – 2,75 EUR/person
- Airbnb private apartment for 3 nights – 172 EUR
- Tourist tax for 3 days – 3 EUR/person
- Ice creams at Santini (2 x 3 scones) – 8,60 EUR
- Supermarket (buying breakfast ingredients + wine) – 24,91 EUR
- Dinner at Bar Restaurante John Bull (Bacalhau á Brás + grilled octopus + 2 beers + caipirinha) – 41 EUR
Day 2 – Day trip to Cabo da Roca and Praia da Ursa
- Bus ticket to Cabo da Roca – 3,40 EUR/person
- Toilet fee at Cabo da Roca – 0,50 EUR/person
- Bus ticket back to Cascais – 3,40 EUR/person
- Dinner at The Grill Steakhouse (T-bone steak for 2 + drinks) – 54,20 EUR
Day 3 – Beach time and more things to do in Cascais
- Supermarket (pastel de nata + orange juice + water) – 4,46 EUR
- Dinner at Baía do Peixe (Rodízio de Marisco + wine + dessert) – 66 EUR
Day 4 – travelling back to Lisbon
- Train ticket from Cascais to Lisbon – 2,75 EUR/person
Are you still thinking about how many days to spend in Cascais? If you can, definitely stay there more than 1 day to experience the unique vibe of the city.
Tell me, did you miss anything from my Cascais travel itinerary? Leave a comment below.
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