It’s easy to think of Lisbon as an incredible city break destination, with its iconic yellow trams, historic streets and buzzing nightlife. But there’s so much more to Portugal’s capital than meets the eye. Venture beyond Alfama and Belém and you’ll find a golden coastline of seaside towns, whimsical wonders and endless activities. It’s the ideal spot for a relaxing retreat.
So, where can you stay on a Lisbon Coast holiday? If small-town charm and golden sands are your main requirements for a getaway, then Cascais is the place to be. This seafront gem boasts a trio of beaches for you to choose from. Plus, there’s plenty of history and culture for those in need of some sights to explore.
Prefer to escape the crowds? Look no further than an Estoril holiday. From its beautiful beach and promenade to the elegant hotels and nearby golf courses, it’s no surprise that this was once the meeting point for the rich and famous. Meanwhile, UNESCO-listed Sintra is the perfect place for explorers. Hike through forests to discover the numerous Gothic palaces between the trees. And in the evenings, unwind in the quaint tavernas dotted around town. The options are endless along Lisbon’s coastline…
You won’t be disappointed by the beautiful beaches at your fingertips on a Lisbon Coast holiday. Praia da Conceição is a super spot to catch some rays in Cascais. With its soft sands, cool waters and great selection of shops and restaurants nearby, you’ve got everything you need for some seaside fun. And if you fancy a break from sunbathing, why not venture to the nearby Nossa Senhora da Conceição Chapel and discover the history behind this 17th-century landmark?
Further along the Cascais-Estoril promenade, Praia do Tamariz is the place to be for some well-earned peace and relaxation. Kids will love paddling in the calm waters, while adults can enjoy the unspoilt sands and beachfront bars. Venture up the Lisbon Coast and you’ll soon spy one of Portugal’s best beaches – Praia da Adraga Beach. Situated near Sintra, this golden shore boasts stunning scenery and mysterious caves, including the iconic Elephant Rock. You’ll be sure to make some memories here.
When it comes to activities, the Lisbon Coast has plenty. Why not try your hand at some water sports on Praia do Guincho? Famed as one of the best windsurfing and surfing spots, the blustery conditions and mighty waves make it easy for you to embrace your inner adventurer. If you’d rather stick to dry land, then hike to Cruz Alta in Sintra. At 529 metres high, it’s a long walk but you’ll be surrounded by the incredible views of the UNESCO World Heritage Site. And trust us, the scenes at the top make it worthwhile!
You can even ditch the hiking boots for railway tracks and take a ride on the coastal train. Starting at Cascais, you can hop on and watch the Lisbon Coast landscapes unfold. Witness the glimmering Atlantic waters merge into the Tagus River and go under the Ponte 25 de Abril, before arriving in the city for a dose of exploration.
The historic centre of Cascais is a treasure trove of culture. Follow the winding cobbled streets through the town and admire the lavish 19th-century mansions which were once summer retreats for the Portuguese nobility. Enjoy a spot of lunch al fresco at one of Cascais’ fabulous restaurants or explore the different shops and market stalls in the old square. You’ll find a great choice of gifts and souvenirs to take home with you.
And of course, when it comes to sightseeing, you can’t miss out Sintra! Step into your very own fairytale at Palácio Nacional da Pena. This colourful collection of domes and turrets is the perfect example of 19th-century Romanticism. You’ll be privy to breathtaking views of Sintra’s historic centre, as well as the neighbouring ruins of Castelo dos Mouros. Keep your camera handy as you wander through the different rooms and halls, where you’ll find gorgeous tile designs and intricate carvings – a brilliant backdrop for your holiday photos.
Walk through the forests and you’ll come across the enchanting grounds and Gothic 20th-century mansion of Quinta da Regaleira. Explore the endless maze of underground tunnels, hidden caves and beguiling wells. Head to the mystical Poço Iniciático – a moss-covered well which spirals six storeys into the ground. If you’re feeling brave, venture down the winding staircase for a unique view from below.
While you won’t come across as many pastel de natas in the cafés along Lisbon Coast, you’ll spot its own selection of tasty treats. In Sintra, the must-try specialties include queijadas (pastries stuffed with sweet cheese) and travesseiros (puff pastry pillows filled with almond cream and sprinkled with sugar). Delicate and delicious, the former is said to have first been created in Café Saudade. So, grab a table on its sun-kissed terrace for a sweet afternoon treat – Lisbon Coast-style!
Wine-lovers will be in luck. Portugal is renowned for its green and rosé wines, and Lisbon Coast is the place to sample some of their finest bottles. Settle into a local taverna or pick a rooftop restaurant overlooking the sights of Sintra for a refreshing crisp glass and a stunning view.
Embrace the alluring history of Estoril with a trip to the elegant Hotel Palacio. Once featured in James Bond’s On Her Majesty’s Secret Service, you can live the life of luxury for the night at Bar Estoril. Get glammed up and sip on a 007 martini – shaken, not stirred, of course. And when you fancy some evening entertainment, head across the way to Casino Estoril. As the main inspiration behind Casino Royale¸ you can have a go on the slot machines or enjoy one of the international shows here.
Posted: 1st Jan 2020.