Village of Cascais

Cascais: Beach-Town Lovers Weekend Getaway in Portugal

Thirty kilometers west of Lisbon lies a cosmopolitan suburb that will surely fascinate lovers of the sea, sand, and sun. A former sleepy fishing village, Cascais, Portugal is a perfect weekend getaway for those who take a break from the busy city life. Thanks to the patronization of the European nobility to the village in the early 20th century, Cascais now attracts tourists from all over the world, with its well-developed streets, luxurious villas, trendy shops, restaurants, and bars, and of course its pristine beaches.

Just three kilometers out of the town is the spectacular Boca do Inferno or “mouth of hell”. Tourists will get their breath taken away by just marveling at its splendid rock formation. Not too far from the coast is the Praia do Guincho, which offers a perfect spot for experienced surfers. Regular tourists, on the other hand, would want to stay away from the perilous waters. After a long walk along the beaches or hardcore surfing, tourists can also then satisfy their gastronomic cravings with a variety of seafood.

Besides the beaches, Cascais Portugal is home to several museums that house many of Portugal’s historical artifacts. One of these is the Castro Guimaraes Museum, which allows the visitors to experience the domestic ambiance of the aristocracy in the 18th and 19th centuries. Housed in a mansion that used to belong to the Counts of Castro Guimaraes, it showcases a collection of decorative art, ranging from fine furniture to sculpture. Book-lovers will also be overwhelmed by the museum’s 25,000 volumes of books. Not only that, it also overlooks the sea, and it is surrounded by a big garden where different species of flowers grow. Thus, visitors can relax and take in the beauty of the sea and the sea of flowers after taking a stroll around the museum. Moreover, the Museu do Mar or Museum of the Sea houses a collection of paintings, photographs, and other items that tell the story of the old suburban town. Besides the museums, the Church of Nossa Senhora da Assuncao, which is adorned with paintings of  the 17th century artists Josefa de Obidos, is another spot that tourists would not want to miss.

Cascais, Portugal is also not short of markets and fairs. The Cascais Market is the place to go if visitors would like to shop for cheap but fresh fish, fruits, vegetables, cakes, and flowers. It is open from Monday to Saturday although the busiest days are on Wednesdays and Saturdays. The Carcavelos Market, moreover, is the place to shop for cheap clothes, bags, shows, jewelry, and so on. While the products sold there are already cheap, it would not hurt shoppers to haggle a little. For best buys, shoppers are advised to go to the market early.

The Estoril Handicrafts Fair or the Feira de Artesanato do Estoril is one event that tourists should not miss going when they are in town in July or August. This annual event is held in front of the Centro de Congressos do Estoril, where handicraft products from all over Portugal are displayed. They can also enjoy live entertainment while having a taste of various regional dishes. The fair is open from Monday to Friday, from 6 pm to 12 pm. On Saturdays, Sundays, and public holidays, it is open from 5 pm to 12 pm. It is open from July until the 31st of August.

There are various ways to get around Cascais, Portugal. Those who are up for some leg exercise will find themselves seeing a lot of things around town. As the town is not that big, it is easy to get around on foot. For those who are up for some bicycle ride, they can make use of the bicycles provided by the Town Council for free. All have they have to do is present their passport or identification card; only those who are over 16 years old are allowed to use the bicycles though. Going to Lisbon central or other towns is easy, and it can be done by taking the train. Trains leave the station every 15 minutes. Reasonably-priced taxis are also available.

With its breath-taking beaches, impressive museums, cheap markets, and comprehensive transportation system, Cascais, Portugal is indeed worth-visiting.

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