There are not too many offers for such a trip, thus we were happy to find "MS Andala" and skipper Mario.
We started out in the marina of Cascais. We (4 adults) were welcomed by Mario with Portwine, ham, cheese and nuts. Leaving the harbour the sea was a little bumpy, but it was a sunny day in March and we enjoyed seeing the coastline, which we only knew from the other side. Entering the Tejo river, waters were calm. We passed by the Belem tower, the Explorers memorial and went under the 25th April bridge. Beatiful views of the city followed. The tour ended in the marina of the Expo area. We took the opportunity to visit the huge aquarium, which was 5 min. walking from the boat. On our return, skipper Mario had prepared some caipirinhas and shrimps for us. The return was in calm waters.
It was a unique experience to us, on a nice boat, that can host up to 6 people. Mario the skipper is experienced and speaks english. The rate for the day is EUROs 300,00, not cheap, but worth for what we got and saw.
Cascais has a nice little beach right in the center of town by the main square.
It´s mabye not better than many other beaches but the location is really perfect and it has a nice relaxed family atmosphere and you can get there in 2 minutes walk from town.
I love chilling there with friends when i am in Cascais and the beach is only a minutes walk from the nearest pub :O).
Leaving Praca 5 de Outubro and the Town Hall, I crossed over Avenida Don Carlos 1 and came to the Fishermans Beach.
This is a great spot for people watching, and seeing some of the fishermen tending their nets, preparing lobster pots etc. There are also lots of places to take photos over the Baia de Cascais.
The small sandy beach had quite a few sunbathers, and children paddling. There is a notice advising that as there is fishing activity, the water is not suitable for bathing!(pic 2)
On the 15th August each year, as part of the towns Sea Festivities, this beach is the starting point of Our Lady of the Navigators sea procession.
I'm not sure if the statue of the female looking out to sea represents 'Our Lady'(pic 5) or not!
Looking at the resort of Cascais today, with its smart Boulevards, restaurants, shops and hotels, it might be hard to imagine the small fishing village that originated in the 12th Century, where the inhabitants eked out a living in fishing the seas, and subsequent trades.
Apparently, the old fishing village was demolished to make way for the construction of a hotel -The Baia or the Villa Albatroz?
(Later that day, I was to visit the Museo du Mer- Museum of the Sea, which has lots of interesting information about the history of Cascais's fishing industry, and the lives of the fishermen and their families)
Fish caught, is auctioned daily (except Sundays), which I understand takes place early morning and/or around 1700hrs.
I regret not having seen this, or hearing the auctioneer conducting the bidding in rapid fire colloquialisms - not that I'd have understood if he spoke 'The Kings Portuguese'!
Some of the fish and seafood sold to the local restaurants include sardines, squid, cod fish (which may be preserved later in salt to form the traditional Bacalhou) lobster, crab, sea bream, barnacles, conger, lamprey, cockles, octopus sole and robale.
The quality of the fish caught and prepared here in Cascais attracts food lovers from Lisbon to its many restaurants,which specialise in fish and seafood.
Although, if you want to visit Cascais especially for a fish meal, try to avoid Mondays as the Fishermen don't go to sea on Sundays, so the fish sold won't be as fresh as on other days.
This is a street that I passed through most of the days (and nights) that I spent in Cascais, mainly to get from my accommodation to meet up with other VTers at O'Neils in the next square (Lg.5 de Outubro) I also ate in this square a few times, as there are many restaurants serving Portuguese and international dishes (Please see my Restaurant tips for more info)
This is a good place for people watching, or as a meeting place.There are also a few souvenir shops where you can purchase post cards, and gifts made of cork or Axjuelo tiles etc.
Luís Vaz de Camões is thought to have been born around 1524. Before his death in 1580, he had become Portugals greatest poet, with his work being considered equal in merit to Shakespeare, Homer, Dante and Virgil. Os Lusíadas. is considered to be his masterpiece.
Here's a LINK to Wikipedia for more info on his life and works
As well as this statue in Cascais, there is a more grandiose example in Lisbon (and no doubt other towns and cities around Portugal)
After wandering as far as the railway, I headed back past the beach and along Rua Frederico Arouca. This is one of Cascais's most interesting streets for Restaurants and speciality shops. There are also some interesting things to see if you look up to the roofs and chimneys and the walls of the buildings, as well as the typical stone flooring (Calçada Portuguesa) with its 'trick of the eye' wave patterns!(pics 2-5)
As you can see from my main photo, this is a place to see (or avoid) street entertainers.
It was mid afternoon when I walked along here, there was a lovely 'waking up from a siesta feel' to the street, shops were open as were restaurants, there was a nice relaxed feel. Not too many people around, and the entertainers were enjoying some 'Time-Out' too
For me, it was the ideal time. I'm sure in the height of summer you wouldn't be able to wander along and spot the hidden gems without getting in someones way.
I was surprised to find at the end of this street I'd wandered back into Lg. Luis de Camoes, and was heading into Lg.5 de Outobro, where I'd started this walk a few hours earlier.
Overlooking Conceição beach and beyond, is this building that I thought was quite impressive looking, with its terracotta coloured walls and white ?marble balconies and turrets, which I thought were in a Moorish Andalucian style.
I'm afraid that I forgot to look for the name of this building, and since my return I haven't been able to find out anything about it - Who it was built for and when? Was it a private Villa/Palace, or did it have an official purpose? What is it used for today?
Can anyone help?
I've come across a mention of The House of Palmerie -This does have palm trees surrounding it, but again I can't find any photos to compare.
This is a larger beach than the previously mentioned Rainha and Pescadores. As you can see from my photo, there are beach umbrellas offering shade from the overhead sun, sun loungers, showers.
Wooden boardwalks enable easy access across the sand.
Lifeguards on duty during the Summer Season. Kiosks nearby selling drinks and ices etc.
Disabled access, via a ramp from the promenade.
Within a few metres of the train station and bus stop, so it's popular with locals and Lisboans as well as holidaymakers.
On my first visit here, I was content just to have a quick look before continuing on my walk. I did return here later in the week, for a short spot of sunbathing.
Continuing on, I spotted this small chapel, dedicated to the Virgin Mary.
It was closed at the time of my visit.
I've tried to find out a bit more about this small chapel since my return home.
Although Cascais has quite a few churches sprinkled around the town and environs, there isn't too much information about any of them. Many, including this one, aren't even identified on the town maps.
This chapel however, gives its name to the Beach below - Conceicao Beach.
At the end of Rua Misericordia, I came across a small bay, with a sandy beach below, this was Praia da Rainha (or Queens beach). It is named after the last Queen ('Rainha') of Portugal-Dona Amelia (1865-1951). Apparently this was her favourite bathing spot in Cascais
It is a popular spot for family bathing-with Life-Guard patrols during the summer season. Some rocks for children to enjoy scrambling over or rock pooling.
Above the beach is a pleasant esplanade (pic 2) with seating and cafes/bars/restaurants. I sat here for a while enjoying listening to a guitarist who was entertaining the nearby diners.
I'm at my happiest just wandering around a new place, just going where my feet take me, without a destination in mind. Doing this alone, I often loose track of time, as I saunter along looking at any buildings or views that catch my eye. It's often not the 'known sights' of a place that intrigue me most, sometimes it's an old neglected building, that gives an idea of what it might have been like in its prime, an old weatherbeaten door, something quirky and unexpected.....
Continuing past the fish market, I wandered along Rua Miseric? enjoying looking at the residential buildings. In my photos you can see some of the buildings were decorated with colourful Azulejo's- the traditional tiles of Portugal. These weren't the usual blue and white tiles , but blues and yellows, or a brown. A bit further along my walk, I would see many more varieties of this colourful and practical way of decorating the buildings of this region.
The Cascais Lighthouse, locally known as the Ponta de Santa Maria Farol was build in 1868.
The focal plane is at 25 meters altitude with white or red light, depending on the direction.
The light is 4.5 seconds on and 15 seconds off.
This new centre, opened on September 18th during our holiday in cascais, houses for the next 6 months an extended collection of Paula Rego's work laid out in an historical timeline. The building is magnificent and situated close to the marina. Entrance is free and there is a cafe serving snacks at reasonable prices. If you have never heard of Paula Rego then check the web. A good day out could comprise a walk through the Parque Marechal Carmona and visits to the Museum of the Sea, Lighthouse museum (Museu dos Farois) and Condes Castro Guimaraes. The writer is no art buff but found the 'black humour running through fascinating. Plus a fantastic building for lovers of ultra-modern architecture. It is open every day 10.00am to 10pm and entrance is free. Note that although it is open Mondays, other attractions in the area are closed! A detailed , recent article on the centre is in the october 2009 issue of the blueprintmagazine and is online
At this beach you can lay or sit on the sand and have a quiet moment while taking the sun, or read a book, dip your toes in the ocean, enjoy the beautiful view or look at the fishermen do their work.
There was a sign saying that bathing in this beach wasn't advisable but I saw several people do so. I was happy to get my feet wet after coming back from Boca do Inferno.
Continuing on from the Naval offices, I came across the small fish market, which was closed at the time of my visit.
I had intended to return later in my stay, but I'm afraid that I didn't get to witness the spectacle of the fish auction, where local hotels and restaurants, as well as locals, bid for the days catch.
Behind the market are some of Cascais's upmarket Restaurants that specialise in - Yes, Fish!
This is held Monday-Saturday at 1700hours. The auctioneers keep the bidding going in rapid fire local dialect.
I particularly liked the Azulejo tiled picture of Cascais Harbour.
Azulejo comes from the Arabic Zellige, meaning polished stone. The practice of using tiles to decorate buildings is typical in Portugal and Spain, being brought to these countries by the Moors, who learnt the trade from the Persians.
As well as being decorative, they had a function as a temperature control in houses and courtyards etc.
The blue and white designs were introduced by the Dutch, inspired by the Delft ware.
Between Cascais and Estoril, there is a coastal walking path which takes you along the seaside between these two towns. Even strolling slowly, it should take no more than 45 minutes. The walk takes you past two ocean-fed swimming pools with views up to the train line that runs between Cascais and Lisbon.
The walk takes you past sandy and rocky beaches with views towards Estoril and back to Cascais.
Please note : this walk has very little shade and is best undertaken in the early morning or early evening on hot days.
At various points along the walk, there are exercise points which form part of the Cascais Life Trail. At these points closer to Estoril, there are rinse-off showers which often have a drinking water fountain next to it.
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