- Atlantic rollers and imposing cliffs
- Coast life
- Cosmopolitan fishing village
Former fishing village, Cascais (‘kesh-kysh’) grew into a genteel summer resort under the patronage of the Portuguese royal family.
During World War II, this peaceful town on the edge of Europe buzzed with exiled royalty and spies trawling for news. Cascais still draws in the crowds, and it has kept its laidback and carefree atmosphere. Weekend lovebirds mingle happily here with strolling families and sunbaked surfers, while yachts bob alongside the brightly painted fishing boats in the bay. The relaxed elegance of the town and its hip restaurants and friendly bars make for perhaps the most sophisticated spot on the Portuguese Riviera.
Completely CascaisFor a slice of street theatre, head to the harbourside at dusk and watch the fisherman selling the day’s catch. You may not be in the market for a whole side of salmon, but it’s a fabulous spectacle nonetheless.
- If you venture to Lisbon, there are plenty of cabs to hail on the street. In Cascais, ask your hotel to book one for you.
- Tipping culture
- Discretionary; ten per cent is appreciated.
- Siesta and fiesta
- Portugal’s valiant Association of Friends of the Siesta continues its noble fight to defend the two-hour lunch break and power nap between 13h and 15h. We pledge ourselves to the cause. Many restaurants don’t open until 21h.
- Packing tips
- Surf dudes should pack their coolest threads, but leave some space in your suitcase for all those lovely bottles of vintage port you’ll want to take home with you – particularly if you taste some 20-year-old tawny.
- Recommended reads
- Lee Langley’s epic novel Distant Music sweeps through several centuries and several countries, with Portugal and the Portuguese always close to its heart.
- Must-trys include cozido à Portuguesa, a stew with beans, veg and cuts of meat. Fish-lovers will be in seventh heaven here, as fresh fish and squid land daily. Try the cataplana, a seafood platter served with rice or potatoes. The sweet-toothed will find the custard tarts hard to resist.
- Dialling codes
- Country code for Portugal: 351; for Cascais area: 21.
- Do go/don't go
- The climate is generally mild; from April to October, fine weather is virtually guaranteed. The coast is pounded by the Atlantic surf in winter but is rarely cold.