The Perfect Cascais Day Trip from Lisbon

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by Emily Marty

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Just a short distance from Lisbon is the sleepy, dreamy fishing town of Cascais. Known for its charming architecture, lovely beaches, and impressive history, making a Cascais day trip from Lisbon is something that appeals to many visitors to Portugal – and for good reason! 

If you’ll be spending more than a few days in Lisbon, you might want to consider visiting Cascais at some stage if you’d like something of a change of pace.

The town offers lots to see and offers visitors some insight into the traditional, rustic, fishing-based lifestyle that has underpinned so much of Portuguese society for so long.

Getting From Lisbon to Cascais 

When travelling to Cascais from Lisbon, you’ll have a number of options in terms of transport. Each of them have their own advantages and disadvantages; in this section, we’ll be exploring them in detail. 

By Organised Tour 

If you’ll only be spending one day in Cascais, then you’ll likely want to maximize your time spent relaxing and exploring the town.

And, for some of us, an organized tour is by far the easiest and least stressful way to get to know a new place. Fortunately, there are plenty of operators of organized trips to Cascais, allowing you to choose the one that best meets your needs and travel style. 

For instance, this full-day tour combines a visit to Cascais with stops in the charming village of Sintra and the outlandish, highly memorable Pena Palace.

Pena Palace is regarded by many as being one of the most unique and distinctive palaces in all of Europe, making it well worth a visit for history and architecture enthusiasts in particular. This is a great option if you want to visit both Sintra and Cascais.

Another option is this full-day tour that includes a visit to the stunning cape of Cabo da Roca, which boasts gorgeous views of the Atlantic.

You can also book a private tour if you prefer a more personalised experience.

While organized tours like these are definitely pricier than heading out to Cascais under your own steam, you’ll be able to see and do so much more with your day; plus, with the knowledge and expertise of a local guide, you’ll find yourself learning a great deal, too. 

Santa Marta Lighthouse in Cascais
Santa Marta Lighthouse in Cascais

By Train

Travelling by train is another great, convenient way to get to Cascais from Lisbon. With rail departures every 10-20 minutes from Lisbon’s Cais do Sodré station, the journey to Cascais usually takes between 30-45 minutes, depending on the time of day.

Cais do Sodré is reasonably easy to reach, being located a short walk away from Lisbon’s iconic Praça do Comércio. 

In fact, you’ll find that reaching Cascais by train is actually faster during rush hour; this might seem like a bit of a paradox, but the line operates an express service at these hours, so it doesn’t stop at all stations.

With that being said, the difference in journey time is pretty negligible, so don’t feel that you need to time your trip to Cascais to the minute in order to get there faster if you do end up going by train. 

Beyond this, the train line takes you right into the centre of Cascais, making it an exceptionally pragmatic choice if you’re hoping to hit the ground running as soon as you arrive, so to speak, and to easily get the train back to Lisbon once you’re done exploring.

What’s more, the train from Lisbon to Cascais is incredibly affordable, costing just a few euros for a one-way ticket; and, if you picked up a Lisbon Card for your trip to Portugal, the fare will be waived! 

If you want to visit some less-crowded beaches, then you’ll find that many of the region’s finest are found between Lisbon and the seaside resort town.

The Cascais line stops at many of them, too, so you may want to hop off the train at some stage to explore some of these hidden gems before heading to your final destination in Cascais itself. 

Cascais Waterftont

By Bus 

Another alternative for travelling from Lisbon to Cascais is by bus. However, in the majority of cases, there is unlikely to be any real advantage to travelling by bus compared to, say, by train or car. Not only does the bus generally take longer than the train to Cascais, but it’s typically also more expensive!

With that being said, there are multiple companies that operate bus trips from Lisbon to Cascais, and they depart from different areas of the city. So, you might find that taking the bus to Cascais is more convenient, depending on where exactly in Lisbon you’re staying.

Also, if you travel by coach to Cascais instead of by car, then you won’t need to worry about finding parking when you arrive; given how limited parking in the town can be in the summertime in particular, this is fairly advantageous. 

By Car 

While it does make for a longer trip than travelling to Cascais from Lisbon by train, there are some advantages to driving to the sleepy fishing town from the Portuguese capital.

For one thing, you can head straight to Cascais from your accommodation or wherever you pick your car up, rather than needing to make it to the bus or train station first. 

Another pro of taking a car for your day trip to Cascais from Lisbon is that you won’t have to worry about timetables or adhering to any other schedules than your own.

This will give you as much flexibility as you need; and, let’s face it, the more freedom you have on your holiday, the easier it’ll be for you to relax and truly enjoy it. 

Something else that comes along with this level of freedom is that you can work other stops into your day trip, rather than simply heading to Cascais and back.

You might like to visit Sintra and the Pena Palace, for instance; both of these sites are a fairly close distance to Lisbon and are a great way to round out your day. 

Travellers also love the route you drive from Lisbon to Cascais; it’s incredibly scenic and beautiful, taking you along the coast for much of the journey. This is a great way to see some of Portugal’s stunning natural beauty without having to go out of your way to do so. You can browse car rental options here.

It’s worth pointing out that travelling to Cascais by car can have some drawbacks, too. For one thing, parking in the town is limited and can be very difficult to come by during the summer season. Naturally, this isn’t something you need to consider if you get there via public transit. 

With that being said, if you don’t want to worry about having the responsibility of driving, you can always book a taxi or Uber to take you to Cascais from Lisbon and back.

While this might come at more of a cost than a rental car would, the convenience of not having to think about parking is, for many, well worth it. 

Coastline of Cascais
Coastline of Cascais

Cascais Day Trip Itinerary 

The following itinerary will take you through all of the highlights of Cascais, which are largely within easy walking distance of one another.

We suggest that you begin your day in central Cascais and then walk your way towards the waterfront, ending the day at the iconic Boca do Inferno, which is found slightly outside the town’s city centre. 

Cascais Old Town

When you arrive in Cascais, you’ll likely want to walk around and explore the city centre to get a feel for the place, as well as your bearings. While Cascais is small, its downtown district has plenty of charm, and the distinctive patterns made by the cobblestone roads are very memorable indeed. 

This part of the town is also a great place to grab a bite to eat, so you may like to return here for lunch or dinner at some point. Or, you can pick up a takeaway meal from a local cafe and enjoy it on the beach or at a park. 

Cascais Old Town
Cascais Old Town

Praia da Duquesa & Praia da Rainha

Two of the best beaches in Cascais, the Praia da Duquesa and Praia da Rainha, are located a short distance from the city’s downtown area.

They’re also a stone’s throw away from one another, so you may want to check both out during your visit – of course, visiting the beach is one of the best things to do in Cascais.

You can go for a swim, sunbathe, or a walk along the water on either of these beaches. Note that they can get pretty crowded during the summer months, so, if you’re visiting during this time of year, you’ll likely want to arrive sometime in the morning or evening if you’d like to avoid the crowds. 

Parque Marechal Carmona & Museu Condes de Castro Guimarães

An absolutely idyllic place for a romantic stroll is Cascais’ Parque Marechal Carmona, which is home to some fairly extensive and very lush gardens.

Not only are the Palace of the Condes of Castro Guimarães found here, but there are also peacocks, statues, water features, and more. This also makes for a great place for a picnic and tends to be a good deal quieter than some of Cascais’ better-known landmarks. 

Within the Palace of Castro Guimarães is a museum, which showcases various pieces of art, furniture, and books. It’s definitely on the niche side of things, but makes for an interesting place to stop by on your visit to Cascais; it’s also worth it for the opportunity to visit the Palace, too, which is a stunning place in its own right. 

Museu Condes de Castro Guimaraes
Museu Condes de Castro Guimaraes

Santa Maria House Museum 

The Casa de Santa Maria is an absolute must-visit for fans of architecture and art more generally.

Its gorgeous location only adds to the appeal, being placed right on the coastline with views out to sea, and it’s home to some pretty remarkable examples of traditional Portuguese tiles, in addition to the building’s eye-catching design. 

Santa Marta Lighthouse Museum 

Somewhat confusingly, the Santa Marta Lighthouse Museum is located just a short walk away from the Santa Maria House Museum, but they aren’t the same thing! 

Located in the old fort of Santa Marta, the Santa Marta Lighthouse has its own museum, which actually makes for a pretty fascinating stop. It focuses primarily on Portuguese lighthouses, so it tends to appeal especially to history enthusiasts.

Regardless, the lighthouse and the museum’s location, being right on the Atlantic and offering great views of the Cascais marina, make this a very atmospheric place to visit, and it’s worth stopping by to check it out, even if you don’t plan on venturing into the museum itself. 

Cidadela de Cascais 

Easily one of Cascais’ most historic structures is its citadel. With various parts having been built between the 15th and 17th centuries, the citadel is incredibly well-preserved, and, being located on the marina, in a gorgeous location, too.

Curiously, the citadel was actually the first-ever place in Portugal to have outdoor lighting installed! 

Cascais Fortress
Cascais Fortress

Boca do Inferno 

The chasm of Boca do Inferno is easily Cascais’ best-known and most visited landmark. Located just outside the city, it’s a popular place to stand and watch the sea swells; the water tends to spray fairly dramatically against the sides of the chasm, so it can be quite the spectacle. 

Boca do Inferno is a bit of a walk from downtown Cascais and the train station, so, if you’re really looking to save as much time as possible when visiting, you may want to consider getting a cab there or taking public transit. 

Praia do Guincho

Roughly 5km away from Cascais is the stunning and windswept Praia do Guincho, a gorgeous beach surrounded by towering cliffs and rolling hills.

While it is something of a trek to get to, visiting Praia do Guincho is highly recommended if you want to get a taste of some of Portugal’s more authentic Atlantic scenery, as well as beat the crowds to some extent. 

You can also choose to end your day with a group boat trip or a private sailing cruise.

Praia do Guincho
Praia do Guincho

Where to Stay in Lisbon

Alegria A Lisbon Boutique Hotel – If you’re looking for a great, mid-range base in Lisbon, then this little boutique hotel is an excellent choice. It’s well located to see the highlights of the Portuguese capital along with being well poised for day trips.

Lisboa Carmo Hotel – Luxury visitors to Lisbon will love this plush, 4-star hotel in the centre of the city. They offer an array of gorgeous rooms to choose from, a perfect location for exploring the city and plenty of great amenities for guests to enjoy.

Home Lisbon Hostel – Those on a budget will love this highly-rated hostel in the centre of the Portuguese capital. They offer both dorms and private rooms along with good common areas and a great social atmosphere.

Not quite what you’re looking for? Click here to browse more Lisbon hotels!

While much smaller than Lisbon, Cascais is a quaint town with a heart of gold, and is absolutely worth making the trip to, especially if you’re feeling like you’d appreciate the opportunity to take in a slower-paced, more traditional approach to life during your stay in Portugal.

Are you wondering what to see in Cascais in one day? Have any questions? Let us know in the comments!

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Emily Marty

Emily is a writer for The World Was Here First. Originally from Melbourne, Australia, she is currently based in the UK. She enjoys exploring Northern & Western Europe and Southeast Asia and has a bit of a thing for islands in particular.

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