A short train ride from Lisbon, Cascais, Portugal is a wealthy seaside enclave with lots of fun things to make it worth a day trip from the busy city. A major highlight is the Boca do Inferno (Mouth of Hell).
Cascais walking tour
Cascais is a very walkable city. The train from Lisbon is only 40-60 minutes and drops you just steps from the central historic district.
All the stops on this tour are within a half hour walk. If you make all the stops, expect to spend a half day in Cascais. If you like, you can wander the streets of the central historic district as well. If you stay for lunch or dinner, I suggest House of Wonders, for a healthy meal with lots of terrific veg/vegan food. If the weather’s nice (and it’s almost always nice in Cascais), head upstairs and enjoy your meal on the rooftop dining space.
If you want to walk a little further, get off train one stop earlyl at Estoril and walk along the oceanfront promenade to Cascais. It’s an incredibly beautiful stroll and there’s lots of beach bars and restaurants along with way. Stop, have a beer or glass of wine and enjoy the view.
Praia da Rainha
Just a short walk from the Cascais train station is a nice beach in the central historic district. The beach is small, but clean. Remember, this is the Atlantic Ocean, not the Mediterranean, so the water is cold.
Museu Condes de Castro Guimarães
Originally built in the late 1800’s by Jorge O’Neill, a Portuguese tobacco magnate of Irish descent, the fanciful mansion was donated to the city of Cascais in 1924 and today houses a museum.
Peeking inside the courtyard, you’ll probably be reminded of the cloisters at the Jerónimos Monastery in Lisbon. And there’s a good reason for that. It’s modeled after that iconic structure’s inner courtyard.
The best part of the Museu Condes de Castro Guimarães is the surrounding park grounds. There’s green space for a picnic and a small tower to climb for better views of the park.
Lighthouse Museum Santa Marta
The Santa Marta Lighthouse is a still operational navigational beacon with a museum and gift shop. Climb to the top of the lighthouse for great views.
It is part of a complex that includes Casa Santa Maria which was also built by Jorge O’Neill with funds from his tobacco fortune. The house is now a museum. Inside are some interesting 18th century tiles salvaged from a chapel in Lisbon. Lots of folks also enjoy splashing in the inlet by the lighthouse.
Boca do Inferno
Boca do Inferno (The Mouth of Hell), a rock formation on the shore of Atlantic Ocean that attracts visitors from around the world.
This part of Portugal is exposed to the full force of the Atlantic Ocean. As such, waves crash against the outcroppings and shore with erosion causing cool rock formations.
The most popular spot along the water is the Boca do Inferno. Long ago, water cut into the rocks, making a sea cave. Eventually, the cave collapsed and all that is left is the opening, now a rock arch.
At high tide, the waves hit with extra force, often splashing high into the air.
Sunset is another especially good time to visit.
There are booths filled with local crafts and a snack bar nearby.
Be careful if you visit as rogue waves have taken people from their observation spot and dragged them to a watery demise.
About the Author
Brent Petersen is the Editor-in-Chief of Destination Eat Drink. He currently resides in Setubal, Portugal. Brent has written the novel “Truffle Hunt” (Eckhartz Press) and the short story collection “That Bird.” He’s also written dozens of foodie travel guides to cities around the world on Destination Eat Drink, including in-depth eating and drinking guides to Lisbon, Porto, Sintra, Monsaraz, and Evora in Portugal. Brent’s podcast, also called Destination Eat Drink, is available on all major podcasting platforms and is distributed by the Radio Misfits Podcast Network.