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- 08 May 2021, 3 nights
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Just 30km west of Portugal's capital city, Cascais is an ideal place to add some laid-back beach life to your time in Lisbon. This charming old town has a village-like atmosphere with seafood restaurants and small shops scattered among historic churches and forts. While Cascais has its fair share of art museums and natural attractions, the biggest draw is the four sandy beaches within a short stroll of the centre.
This relaxing beach town is the perfect place to unwind and some hostels in Cascais offer outdoor yoga sessions to help you do just that. Surf lessons are another popular add-on, so you can ride the famous Atlantic waves. You can often find a Cascais hostel in the classic pastel-coloured mansions this part of Portugal is known for and many have swimming pools and outdoor terraces for making the most of the Portuguese sunshine.
Most of the action is in Cascais old town. Among the cobbled streets and 19th-century palaces you'll find traditional Portuguese seafood and piri piri restaurants as well as international chains for some home comforts. The Blue Flag-rated Praia da Conceição beach is next to the train station and a popular place for sunbathing and paddling. If you're planning on surfing, head out of town to Praia do Guincho. Right on the Atlantic coast, its powerful waves and winds make it a reliable place for water sports.
When you're not hitting the surf or lounging on the soft sandy beaches, see how the other half lives at the Palácio da Cidadela de Cascais. Commissioned by King Dom Luís I in 1870, it's still where heads of state stay when they're visiting Portugal. For an afternoon of culture, the Condes de Castro Guimarães Museum has an impressive art collection in a quirky building dating from 1900. If you're feeling active, the 2km hike to the Boca do Inferno (Hell's Mouth) cave is a popular walking route. When you get there, you can watch waves crash against the cliffs and take one of the pathways down to see it from both sides.
Trains from Lisbon to Cascais leave from Cais do Sodré station in the city centre. International travellers can fly into Lisbon Portela Airport. From here you can take the Aerobus or the metro to Cais do Sodré, then hop on the Linha de Cascais train. It'll take about 1.5 hours. Cascais town itself is easy to explore on foot. Ride-sharing apps are available for longer journeys or you can hop on a bus from the Cascais Terminal bus station.