On our recent trip to Portugal we stayed around the coast from Lisbon in Estoril. It was much quieter than the city but still gave us access to plenty of things to do, a side from exploring Lisbon. This location was right by the beach and I wouldn’t have changed it for a stay in the city.
So here are some things to do around Lisbon, if you too fancy escaping the city for some sea air!
Visit Guincho Beach for surfing and towel space
The beaches in Cascais and Estoril are not the best, they are small alcoves dotted along the coast which offer very little towel space on hot and sunny days. They are perfect for families and small children because the sea is shallow and calm but for those looking for a bit more, Guincho is the place to head. A 20 minute bus ride from Cascais will take you to this gorgeous and huge beach. The wind does blow here but that doesn’t take away from this vast beach with dunes protecting it from the road. There are several surf schools, beach bars, windsurfers and kite flyers yet the place still felt practically empty compared to the beaches of Cascais. Admittedly I could have been in Cornwall or Scotland or even Wales and the wild Atlantic Ocean was certainly cold but I really enjoyed the day we spent here.
Visit Sintra and it’s fairytale Palace
Sintra is a 40 minute bus ride away from Estoril/Cascais or you can take the train from the centre of Lisbon which takes around 30 minutes. Here you will find an old town which is UNSECO listed and home to many fairytale looking buildings. Sintra has not one but three palaces, the most famous and picturesque of these is Palácio Nacional da Pena a small walk from the centre of Sintra. It looks like something out of Balamory with its solid bright colours but is often engulfed by cloud – like on the day we visited. It isn’t only the buildings which stand out but the quaint cobbled streets and little tucked away restaurants and odes to Lord Byron (no, I don’t know who he is either). Being up here in the hills, surrounded by forest was a welcome change to the beach front and something with certainly shouldn’t be missed.
Wander the streets of Cascais
This old town with cobbled streets and winding lanes was my favourite place during our trip to Portugal. It boasted heritage and beauty without being too much of a tourist trap – providing you avoided Largo Luís de Camões at meal times unless you wanted to be pestered by every restaurant to sit down. The marina was a lovely place to wander away from the centre and I also enjoyed wandering the quaint streets in no particular direction but just seeing what we came across. The beaches here are often rammed with towels as well as having several sun loungers for rent so we would opt for our apartment pool instead.
Walk the promenade between Estoril and Cascais
This was a walk we did at least once a day, if not twice a day. That being said it was more because it was the way to dinner than because the walk was that good it needed to be done daily. Nonetheless this is a walk that should be done at least once while out this way. The whole promenade walk reminded me greatly of the Bondi to Bronte walk in Australia. It’s not quite the high cliffs and windy affair but you will find plenty of runners and an iceberg pool or two. We found art work, exercise machines and a display of the surrounding beaches along this short stretch. As well as several cafes with outside seating for when you get hungry/thirsty and if that isn’t enough there are a few ocean view restaurants too.
Get fresh juices and chill on the rooftop at House of Wonders
Except for the little cafe we found for breakfast in Estoril my favourite cafe we came across was the House of Wonders. They are located at street level but if you take the back stairs this leads you up to a rooftop terrace with amazing views within their sun trap. Not your typical table and chair furniture rather lounging seats and tables made from pallets. The staff were so friendly, with many international members of the team to help over come any language barriers. The food was home made and delicious but what stood out was the freshly made juices. They offer a taste before you decide on a flavour and are completely free of all the bad stuff. The afternoon we spent chilling here in the sun was one of the best of the holiday and I’m struggling to understand why we only did it once!
Address: Largo Da Misericordia 53, Cascais 2750-436, Portugal