Favorite thing: Although very much now a resort town, as well as an affluent commuter town for nearby Lisbon, Cascais still shows many glimpses of its past, from the early years as a fishing village (fishing boats still bob in water just off the main square), through the building of the (still standing) Citadela as part of the defences of the mouth of the River Tagus, to its nineteenth century discovery by the aristocracy, many of whose mansions also still remain.
From the Middle Ages, the Cascais economy was based on fishing, maritime commerce (it was a stop for ships sailing to Lisbon), and agriculture (wine, olive oil, cereals and fruits). Due to its location close to the estuary of the River Tagus, it was also seen as a strategic post in the defence of Lisbon, hence the development of a fortress or citadel here in the 15th and 16th centuries.
The great Lisbon earthquake of 1755 destroyed a large portion of the village, and in the following years it declined, and was for a while occupied by Napoleonic troops. But its growth as a fashionable resort and retreat from the city was stimulated in 1870 when the King, Luís I, converted the Citadela into a summer residence. Where the king led, the aristocracy followed, and several aristocratic palaces and mansions were built in the town. Some of the Art Nouveau houses built in the early years of the 20th century still stand, including this lovely house overlooking the harbour.
In 1926 the railway line from Lisbon to Cascais was electrified (the first to be so in the country), making it even easier for people to visit or even to move here. During the Second World War several Monarchs and Heads of State of a number of European countries sought refuge in here and in nearby Estoril, including the Duke of Windsor, King Umberto of Italy, King Carol II of Romania, Prince Juan of Spain, Count Henri of France. Others came too – aristocrats, politicians, actors, writers ... There were so many that the population increased by over 20,000 people between 1939 and 1946.
Today’s Cascais is a pleasing blend of history, tourism and everyday local life. The aristocracy may have moved on, but it is still a very pleasant and desirable place in which to live, as evidenced by the house prices I saw in the windows of local estate agents
- Historical Travel
THE PERGOLA HOUSE
Favorite thing: Hans and I did not stay here, but a few of our VT friends did and they all loved it there.
Located in the very heart of Cascais ( Avenida Valbom 13) and right across the street from our Hotel Albergaria Valbom, is the Mediterranean style 19th century mansion THE PERGOLA HOUSE. It has elegant white marble floors and staircases, 10 rooms with "bas relief" stucco ceilings and all with ensuite bathrooms and a beautiful garden.
The house has always belonged to the same family for over a century. Its beautiful facade is adorned with ancient hand-painted tiles and flowering bougainvillea.
Just a few minutes walk from the train station and close to restaurants and the beach.
I just loved and admired this house and thought it was worth its own page.
Favorite thing: Constructed in the early twentieth century (1918) by Henrique Seixas, CASA SEIXAS is the most emblematic and most photographed building in Cascais. Built on the site of the Old Fort of S. Catarina or Baluarte da Foz, of which you can still see the remains of the original walls.
Today it houses officers of the Navy and has kept much of the beauty and luxury of its interior.
CASCAIS FISHING INDUSTRY
Favorite thing: Cascais was once a humble fishing village. Today you can see CASCAIS FISHING INDUSTRY at work at the Harbour and daily fish market. Fishing continues to be a thriving industry in Cascais.
Daily, one can watch the fishermen's arrival and subsequent auctioning of their catch of the day at the "Lota" which was located near the Harbour. Hans and I went inside the building. Auctioning for the day was finished already, but it sure was interesting to see. There were rows of seats for the bidders to see what was for sale. Big fish tanks were there, most likely filled with the catch of the day.
Along the Harbour, is an area just for fish traps. I assume each fisherman had his designated area for his traps as they were all separated in different groups.
A BIT ABOUT CASCAIS
Favorite thing: A coastal town 30 km west of Lisbon, CASCAIS is one of the richest municipalities in Portugal. The former fishing village became a resort for Portugal's Royal Family in the late 1800's and early 1900's. Today it is a popular vacation destination for both Portuguese and foreign tourists.
The coastal settlement of Cascais originated in the 12th century and in its humble beginnings lived from the bounty of the sea.
Cascais has so much to offer to its visitors. Hans and I were never bored in our two weeks there.
Santa Marta Lighthouse
Cascais Town Hall
Santa Maria House
Cascais Cultural Centre
Palacio de Conde de Castro Guimaraes
Wonderful Promenade stretching from Cascais to Estoril
Boca de Inferno
Need I say more! We loved it there!
CASA HENRIQUE SOMMER
Favorite thing: On June 17, 2006, the municipality of Cascais took possession of CASA HENRIQUE SOMMER, located in the heart of Cascais. It was the family house of Henry Sommer.
A municipal plan calls for adaptation and renovation of this unique and beautiful piece of architecture dating from the end of the nineteenth century. They plan to create an active center for local history, using items of interest from Cascais.
It seems locals are frustrated with how long it is taking for the town to start work on the project as it is getting more and more derelict and the grounds are not kept up at all.
I was fascinated with the building itself and was curious to find out more about it.
CASCAIS POST OFFICE
Favorite thing: Located near the bus station, on Avenida 25 de Abril and to the left of Cascais Villa Mall, is CASCAIS MAIN POST OFFICE. I went there to get some stamps for the postcards I sent out.
There was also a small post office up the hill from Avenida Valbom near the Police Station.
Open Monday to Friday 8:30 a.m. to 6:00 p.m.
BOCA DO INFERNO
Favorite thing: One lovely and sunny afternoon, Hans and I decided to do our walk to the BOCA DO INFERNO. You go past the Citadel, past the Marina, past Santa Maria House and you come to the walking/cycling path which runs along the sea. You will see fabulous views of Rock formations and then you come to the famous Boca do Inferno, no more than two kms outside of the town of Cascais. The Sea, on rough days, hammers into the Rock and creates a booming noise and a spectacular spray, thus creating it's name "Mouth of Hell". The sea was calm, so therefore there was no spray. But Hans and I have seen it though. In 1996, we were in Cascais in January and witnessed the phenomenon and it was awesome.
There is also a small market there, with vendors selling crafts, tablecloths and linens, leather shoes, slippers and bags, and an abundance of souvenirs. All reasonably priced.
There is also the restaurant "Boca do Inferno".
Favorite thing: The Estoril Coast, boasts many fine AREA BEACHES. They include:
Praia Dos Pescadores or Fishermen's Beach -situated in front of the Baia Hotel. Not considered a bathing beach as it is a traditional fishing boat area.
Praia da Rainha - Small sandy beach in a sheltered bay, to the right of Hotel Albatroz.
Moitas - Accessible from Monte Estoril train station. This small beach has open-air bars and restaurants.
Tamariz - Just by the Estoril Railway station. Variety of restaurants, bars and open-air cafe's. Also a salt-water swimming pool next to the pontoon.
Guincho Beach - 5 kms. from Cascais. Ideal for surfing due to its huge waves.
Favorite thing: Located on Avenida Marginal and with a sea-front location on the Estoril Coast, you can enjoy a panoramic view of Cascais Bay at HOTEL BAIA which has 113 rooms.
Amenities include an indoor swimming pool and a great dining area - Baia Grill Restaurant - with wonderful sea views.
Built in the 60's but renovated in 2005.
Hans and I did not stay here , but one of our VT friends did, and she showed me her room which was very nice and spacious. The lounge area was also very nice.
I thought the Baia deserved a page, as it so dominates the sea front.
CASCAIS TOWN HALL
Favorite thing: With a beautiful view of the bay, by Pescadores Beach, CASCAIS TOWN HALL dominates the 5 de Outubro Square. It is a wonderful building with the many windows decorated with beautiful tile work. The balconies are also lovely with flowering plants.
SANTA MARTA LIGHTHOUSE & MUSEUM (c.1868)
Favorite thing: The SANTA MARTA LIGHTHOUSE or FAROL MUSEU DE SANTA MARTA, is still functional, but having been automated , it doesn't need constant maintenance anymore, so has been converted to the first museum dedicated to Portuguese coastal lighthouses.
The lighthouse (1868) has a square masonry tower with lantern. Adjacent to the lighthouse, are the ruins of the 17th century Forte De Santa Marta.
Open from 10:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. every day except Mondays and public holidays.
CASCAIS CITADEL - CIDADELA
Favorite thing: Located on the western side of Cascais Bay, the CIDADELAis a 17th century fortification situated by the sea.
From 1870 to 1908, The Royal Family chose the Cascais Citadel as its official place of residence due to its location, natural environment, temperate climate and the quality of its sea waters.
The town has a military museum located in the Citadel.
From the top of the fort, there are wonderful views of the fishing harbour and Cascais Town.
The Weather in Cascais and Lisbon Area
Favorite thing: Some websites:
and for the whole country:
Favorite thing: * Tourism Office
Rua Visconde da Luz, 14
- Tel: (+351) 21 486 82 04