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Portugal: Alvor, Cascais, Faro, Lisbon, Sintra
Cascais, Portugal: Playground of the rich
by Prakash Bang, Editor in Chief
Cascais has rocketed from sleepy fishing village to much-loved summertime playground of wave-frolicking lisboetas ever since King Luís I went for a dip in 1870. Its trio of golden bays attracts sun-worshipping holidaymakers, who come to splash in the ice-cold Atlantic.
We were dropped at the town's railway station and were allotted an hour to explore the town. We walked to its large yacht harbour and several small sandy beaches in and around the town. Cascais is easily reached from Lisbon by car on the A5 Lisboa-Cascais highway, or alternatively on the scenic "marginal" road, as well as by frequent inexpensive commuter trains. Taxis are also a common and inexpensive mode of transport in the area.
The city has the ruins of a castle, an art and an ocean museum, as well as parks and the charming cobbled streets of the historic centre. The town has many hotels and tourist apartments as well as many good restaurants of varying cost. It is a fine base to use for those visiting Lisbon and its environs who prefer to stay outside of the city yet in an equally urban and sophisticated environment.
The town is surrounded by popular beaches such as Guincho Beach to the west, and the lush Sintra mountains to the north. Some of its shoreline has cliffs, attracting tourists who come for the panoramic views of the sea and other natural sights such as the Boca do Inferno. It is also becoming a popular golf destination, with over 10 golf courses nearby. Surfing, sailing, windsurfing, and kitesurfing are also popular in the region due to favourable weather, wind, and sea conditions. In 2007, Cascais was the official host of the ISAF World Championship in sailing for dinghies and racing yachts.
Another important step in the touristic development of the area was made in the first half of the 20th century with the building of a casino and infrastructure in neighbouring Estoril to support luxury vacations for the wealthy.
Due to Portugal's neutrality in World War II and the town's elegance and royal past, Cascais became home to many of the exiled royal families of Europe, including those of Spain, Italy, Hungary and Bulgaria.
At around 5PM we left for Lisbon. We were in our hotel at 6PM. The other couple was waiting for us… ready to walk Lisbon’s streets.
Cascais Image Gallery Photo viewer
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