Travel Diaries: Exploring Cascais, Portugal
In the miserable month of January I got the chance to escape the wet depths of London to experience some part of my Winter in the sunny shores of Portugal. Granted, it was only for three day, and it was for work, however I did get to use some of my free time to explore and of course take some snaps of my very own.
For most of my trip to Portugal, I was in Cascais, just a 40 minute drive from Lisbon city centre. For those of you who are not familiar with Cascais it’s located on the Portuguese Riveria and in recent years has become a major tourist destination thanks to it’s picturesque beaches, an array of galleries and mass amounts of history. I was lucky enough to be based right in the middle of it at the Pestana Cidadela Cascais, a five star hotel in a stunning former fortress.
When I had some free time on my first day in Cascais, a few colleagues and I decided to head into the town to see some of the local sites and experience some Portuguese cuisine. We wandered out of the main entrance of the hotel and followed the road down towards the marina to get a better view of the ocean. Although it was quite misty and gloomy on this day it didn’t take away from the feeling I always get when I’m by the sea.
After admiring the beach for a little bit we walked further into the town in search of even more beautiful sites and something to eat. When we got to the centre of Cascais we were meeting by what I would call a town square with a statue in the middle of King Peter I, who was king of Portugal and the Algarves from 1357. The square itself was so wonderful to look at, especially with it’s wavy tilled floors and historic buildings lining its border.
Finally we then found somewhere to eat, a small cafe called Sacolinha, a small Portuguese bakery where we had sandwiches, salads and of course, pastel de nata, or as we known them in English - Portuguese custard tarts. They were amazing and I pretty much had one every day I was in Portugal. With full bellies we decided it would be a good idea to explore the rest of the town and see if we could find any worthwhile sites. Whilst there’s not exactly many tourist sights as such, every street in Cascais has something worth photographing.
As you can see the town is full of some truly fantastic buildings. In particular I was fascinated with the ones above. The first, being what I think was just some residential apartments with these striking, bold stripes slashed over it’s walls. Then we stumbled across this beautiful hotel (second image above), which combined white walls with blue tiles and decals, making it very pretty to look at. Not to mention the grounds surrounding it were perfectly manicured too, making it look like it was straight out of a travel brochure. Finally, I couldn’t resist snapping this green doorway above. The building it belong to was a little run down but it was covered in these gorgeous green and white tiles.
We then headed towards Cascais’ main beach, which while small, was very beautiful. Nestled in a small cove surrounded by old sea walls, cliff remains and shrubs, it was the ultimate place to take in some sea air and relax. I imagine in summer this part of the town is bustling with beach goers. In the warmer months you can even hire kayaks, surfboards and jet skis here.
After wandering the twisting cobbled streets some more we found ourselves ducking into various independent shops - alot of them where selling souvenirs, art, tiles and glass. Although I didn’t buy anything there was certainly something for everyone. My colleagues and I then decided to call it a day and head back to the hotel.
The following day I didn’t have so much free time to explore however I did manage to take a few images at lunch time on the rooftop of the hotel where there were some wonderful views of the ocean, marina and surrounding areas. As you can see, I was also lucky enough to experience some of that beautiful Portuguese sunshine!
In the evening, I then headed to the city centre of Lisbon to go on a tram tour with the rest of my colleagues which I will write about soon. So if you enjoyed seeing the sites of Cascais, then stay tuned for a post all about Lisbon coming soon!