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.
When to 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.
PlanesThe nearest airport is at Lisbon | roughly 40 minutes away by car. There’s a bus that will take you into Cascais for about €1; a taxi will cost around €40.
BoatsIf you want to get to Cascais by boat, you’ll have to sign up as crew on a yacht – or take your own.
TrainsThe Cascais Line runs from Lisbon’s Cais do Sodré station to Cascais, takes around 30 minutes and costs €1.50. This scenic route skirts the Atlantic coastline and is a lovely way to arrive. Take seats on the left-hand side of the carriage for a sea view.
AutomobilesIt’s worth hiring a car for coastal exploring | but public transport connections to Lisbon are very good.
TaxisIf you venture to Lisbon, there are plenty of cabs to hail on the street. In Cascais, ask your hotel to book one for you.