For my final post about Lisbon, I’m actually going outside of the city for a really fun day trip! There are a couple of day trip options from Lisbon; we visited the beach town and expat centre of Cascais, along with the more local Caparica Beach. A second option, and definitely high on my list for the next time I visit, is to the mountain town of Sintra and its fairytale castle.
Getting to the beach in Lisbon is not the easiest task as it does require you to go outside of the city itself. The best option is to hop on the train for a 20 minute journey to the town of Cascais. Since we were lucky enough to have our own local connection, he picked us up from Alfama on the sunny Saturday morning, and we headed instead across the river to Caparica beach. (It’s also possible to get there yourself without a car, by taking either the bus, ferry, or a combination or both.) The beach stretches for thirty kilometres along the coast, allowing for a good variety of busier and quieter areas!
Our section of the beach was busy, but luckily not crowded. There was a great beach bar where we could get healthy drinks, snacks, and full meals, plus some vendors walking around the beach selling drinks and snacks. My companions spent an hour or so out surfing, while I enjoyed the beach, people watching, and trying to capture some of their moves on camera! I also managed to get my legs terribly sunburned when I didn’t manage to cover them up in time – ouch!
After lunch and freshening up a bit, we headed to Cascais for the rest of the afternoon. Within walking distance of the train station and downtown you also have several beaches to choose from. Some sunbathers and swimmers were still out in the late afternoon sun, but we opted to wander around the cute coastal town instead. A must-do stop in Cascais (and also in Lisbon centre) is to get some ice cream from the famous Santini’s. We stopped at a location almost everyday, it was so good. Don’t let the queue put you off, it moves quick and is worth the wait!
We walked along the coastline as much as possible, passing the harbour, massive casino and hotel (where some James Bond scenes were once shot on the beach!), and even a cute little castle nestled into the town. As you leave the downtown behind, you have the ocean to the left of you, and some pretty spacious villas on the right.
It was a bit of an up-hill walk, but we kept going until we got to the Boca do Inferno, or Hell’s Mouth. It’s an impressive chasm cut into the rocks an interesting site to see.
If you visit Cascais, be sure to bring at least a sweater. This coastal town gets pretty windy and the temperature definitely dipped as the sun went down. After spending a day on the beach and in the heat, it can hit you extra hard. While we headed elsewhere for dinner, I can imagine grabbing a seafood meal in the centre of town and enjoying the last of the light as the sun sets over the ocean!