You’re planning your trip to Lisbon and you hear about this cute, coastal town called Cascais.
It’s only a 40-minute train ride away from Lisbon and it boasts some of the most stunning beaches along the coasts. You’re tempted to go but it will take time away from other activities.
You’re left wondering… “Is Cascais worth visiting?”
In this post, we are going to share 6x reasons why Cascais is worth visiting…We visited Cascais during our month-long stay in Lisbon and it was such a relaxing getaway from the city.
But we will be honest…it might not be the town for every traveler out there so we’ve included 3x reasons Cascais isn’t worth visiting! At the end of the day, you can decide what’s best for you and your travels!
6x Reasons Why Cascais Is Worth Visiting
Matthew and I visited Cascais during our last trip to Portugal and we are so glad we made the journey! After living in Lisbon for nearly a month, we were ready for an escape from the bustle of the city.
…and Cascais was the perfect place for a day getaway.
Here are 6x reasons why Cascais is worth visiting!
1. Cascais Is A Perfect Escape From The City
Have you been living in Lisbon for a while now?
You’ll understand that eventually, the hustle and bustle gets to you.
Tourists are scattered all over the city, trams are whipping past, locals moving at a rapid pace to get places and the vibrant atmosphere is just buzzing! Don’t get us wrong, Lisbon is one of our favorite digital nomad cities that we can always return to and live for a while.
Cascais is the perfect getaway from all the hustle and bustle in Lisbon. You have easy access to beautiful beaches, delicious seafood, great shopping options and all the small-town charm you could want.
The train ride from Lisbon to Cascais is very quick and easy. The direct journey only takes 40 minutes and it’s very affordable at only 2.30 euros each way! Some might say that the Algarve coast is a better destination and while that may be true – it’s also 4+ hours away. Cascais is a much closer, better alternative if you are short on time!
If you want to escape the city, your answer to “Is Cascais worth visiting?” is going to be a YES!
2. Cascais Beaches Are Some Of The Best In Portugal
There are some popular beaches nearby Lisbon like Costa da Caparica but there are also some beaches that aren’t so great.
Matthew and I went to a beach pretty close to the city, about a 10-minute drive and we were a little disappointed. The water was freezing (but that’s common in Portugal) and the scenery was filled with heavy machinery and factory buildings.
We decided to go to Cascais as a day trip from Lisbon because we want to escape the city and enjoy some time laying on the beach. Matthew and I heard how good the Cascais beaches were and we knew we had to check them out, especially after our disappointing experience.
The closest beach to the town center is called Praia da Ribeira de Cascais. We tried to go to another highly-rated beach called Praia da Rainha but it was quite small and crowded by the time we arrived. Praia da Riberia de Cascais is a wide beach with plenty of space, soft sand and a calm tide.
I just remember laying on the beach, looking up and seeing all these beautiful, historic buildings. The architecture right next to the beach like the charming Mediterranean-style villas across the coast is something to see for yourself!
If you’re wondering, “Is Cascais worth visiting for the beaches?” – the answer is yes! We went to some beaches nearby Lisbon and they just pale in comparison. In a small seaside town with lots of natural beauty, there are plenty of sandy beaches within walking distance of the train station.
3. Cascais Old Town Is Charming
Do you love wandering the streets in a place you’ve never been before?
Cascais is the perfect town to get lost, explore and simply take in the atmosphere! It’s also very safe to walk around on your own (even as a solo female traveler) and this charming town is small enough that you can get around very easily!
One of the coolest things to do while traveling is getting lost in a city (in a good way lol). Forget the to-do lists, the Insta-famous spots and simply wander around. It’s amazing what you’ll discover and it’s just such a whimsical way to truly explore a place that way.
The old town of Cascais is very safe, charming and easy to walk around. It’s the perfect small town to wander and get lost in! There are several historic villas, old architecture and plenty of museums. You’ll enjoy walking around the cobblestone streets admiring this town that used to be a fishing village back in the day.
4. Cascais Weather Is Warm (Almost) Year-Round
Trying to figure out why Cascais is worth visiting?
The weather is one of the biggest reasons this seaside town draws crowds year after year. What makes the weather in Cascais so great?
The temperature in Cascais is usually stable year-round. During the spring and summer, the average highs during these seasons are around 25-27 degrees. During the winter time, the average low is around 15 degrees during the coldest months of the year – January.
The best thing about the weather in Cascais is that it also doesn’t get too hot, unlike the heatwaves that come across the Algarve. Cascais has a pretty good warm spring-like that’s hot enough for beach days but not too cold you can’t wander around the city!
There are a few things to be aware of – one is that Cascais can get rainy in the winter but just like any other place and two is that there’s a lot of wind in the area. It’s best to bring a light jacket with you if you easily get cold like me!
Lisbon can get a little colder than Cascais which makes it the perfect escape if you are desperate for some warmth during the wintertime. In the summer, the golden beaches with cool water make it the best place to relax, sunbathe and take a refreshing dip in the ocean.
5. Cascais Has A Great Local Food Scene
The food in Portugal? Don’t get us started…
It’s one of our favorite countries to eat our way through!
The cuisine is diverse, fresh and just delicious. But what’s so different about the food in Cascais compared to the other cities in Portugal?
The main reason Cascais is worth visiting is mainly for the seafood lovers out there. You can have some of the freshest, most delicious fish at the restaurants in Cascais. And there are so many options for seafood on most corners of the town center.
Don’t like seafood? You can still enjoy traditional Portuguese dishes like the bifanas, arroz de pato (duck rice), piri piri chicken, caldo verde and many more.
There is an excellent range of restaurants in Cascais offering everything from traditional food to local street food to high-end restaurants serving sophisticated European cuisine.
6. Cascais Is A Quick Journey From Lisbon
Getting from Lisbon to Cascais is very easy, efficient and cheap!
It’s only a 40-minute train ride away! That’s pretty close to Lisbon but also far enough if you want to truly get away! We think it’s the perfect distance if you don’t want to travel for too long and spend more time enjoying the place.
The Algarve is about 4 hours from Lisbon by train or bus and that takes up quite a bit of time. If you’re still wondering, “Is Cascais worth visiting?” you don’t need to wonder anymore! It’s only a 40-minute train ride away from Lisbon making it a very easy, affordable day trip!
3x Reasons Why Cascais Isn’t Worth Visiting
This coastal town is pretty amazing but we have to admit…
…it’s not always worth visiting Cascais.
My first ever solo female travel trip was to Portugal when I was on exchange. I spent the majority of my time in Lisbon and a lot of people told me to go to Cascais for the beaches. I felt like I had a packed schedule and wanted to take it easy so I skipped Cascais.
Fast forward to now, Matthew and I spent a month living in Lisbon as digital nomads and we had ample time to visit Cascais. After having been (and missing out prior), I’d say you could give it a miss and it wouldn’t affect your dreamy Portuguese travels too much!
But that’s up to your personal preference and whatever you have on your bucket list to tick off.
1. Ocean Waters Get Cold, Quick
Cascais is a coastal town famous for its beautiful beaches. It’s the perfect spot to escape the hustle of a city and get away from all the chaos. However…
…if you aren’t visiting during the summertime, the water can get very cold! We visited in September and it was only starting to get chilly in Portugal but the ocean waters were already freezing. I could barely dip my toes (but you might not be a wimp like me lol).
If you’re looking to get some beach time (but you’re visiting in the winter/fall), it might not be worth squeezing it into your itinerary. The journey from Lisbon to Cascais only takes about an hour but it’s still an effort to get there!
Don’t get me wrong – Cascais is absolutely gorgeous and we can see why lots of people living in Lisbon escape there for a weekend. But if you were a tourist for a limited time? It just might not be worth it!
2. Crowds Get Overwhelming, Quick
I’ll be straight with you:
Cascais is no hidden gem…
In fact, this town is one of the most popular destinations in Portugal. A lot of people including us love to visit Cascais for a day trip and some locals visit for a weekend getaway. It’s also a popular destination for tourists to visit especially if they have a longer holiday!
With all this popularity, Cascais attracts huge crowds of people year-round. Suddenly, the charming town can get old quickly especially when people are bumping into you as you wander the streets. The Lisbon to Cascais train also gets very crowded which means you might have to stand for the entire 40-minute journey.
If you go to Cascais solely for the beaches, you might struggle to find a spot on the beach. Matthew and I went on a Sunday afternoon in September when supposedly the crowds in Portugal start to lessen but… it was still very busy! It took some searching but eventually, we were able to find a place to lay our two towels down.
I will say this though: even with all the crowds, Matthew and I still really enjoyed being on the crowded, golden beaches of Cascais. It depends on you and how you handle crowds – for some it might be too overwhelming to enjoy!
3. It Can Get Expensive, Quick
Is Cascais expensive?
Yes and no. It all depends on how you spend your money because you can easily do it on the cheap but you can also very easily spend heaps!
You can’t really say it is because it depends on you. However, it can easily get expensive if you aren’t careful with your money! If you’re on a tight budget, you may just have to skip the fancy restaurants and buy a bifana or get food from the grocery (which we’ve done before)!
In saying that, it all depends on you! Some accommodation options can be more affordable but if you want to stay in the 5-star resorts or the stunning villas – they will cost you.
We found that it was the restaurants that can drive the price up. If you want to eat delicious, fresh seafood that is going to be a little pricier than your usual restaurants but if you love seafood then it might just be worth it!
As Cascais is a small, popular getaway destination – it’s much harder to find affordable accommodations like hostels or guesthouses compared to Lisbon or Porto.
Cascais is a very popular destination in Portugal and that means things like accommodation, food and drinks can get expensive. Again, it’s all up to you and how you choose to spend your money!
Final Thoughts: Is Cascais Worth Visiting?
There’s a lot to love about this coastal town but…
Is Cascais worth visiting?
Yes, Cascais is worth visiting! But it can depend a lot on time.
How long do you have in Lisbon (or the nearby areas?) Answering this question can help you decide if it’s the right move for you to visit!
Our take is this: If you are in Lisbon only for 3 days like I was back in my first visit to Portugal, I’d say you could give it a miss. When I was on exchange, I visited Portugal for the first time as a solo female and so many people told me to visit Cascais. The problem? I only had 3 days!
However, if you are living in Lisbon or have longer than 5+ days in the area – you should definitely visit Cascais!
The incredible views of the coast, the narrow cobblestone streets and the stunning beaches attract locals and tourists to Cascais for good reason. Check it out for yourself!
Is Cascais Worth Visiting – FAQs
How Long Is The Trip From Lisbon To Cascais?
Not long at all!
You can easily get from Lisbon to Cascais within 30-40 minutes. Cascais is a coastal town located about 30 kilometers west of Lisbon’s city center.
You can take the suburban train, hire a rental car or get a private transfer service! We believe the best way to get to Cascais is by taking the train because it is very easy and cost-efficient. The train only costs €2.30 ($2.60 USD) each way or €4.60 ($5.17 USD) euros for a return trip!
How Many Days To Spend In Cascais?
1-3 days is a good amount of time to spend visiting Cascais!
Cascais is a small, charming resort town that can easily be visited for only a day trip or a weekend getaway. For tourists, we think 1 day is enough to wander the town, try the seafood, awe at the Boca de Inferno and relax on the beach. If you’re a local living in Lisbon looking for a getaway 2-3 days is the perfect time to escape the hustle and bustle.
How long to stay in Cascais for digital nomads? This town is starting to become a popular spot for remote workers because of the chill vibes. There are some coworking and coliving spaces in the area which means digital nomads can easily spend a month living in Cascais!
It all depends on your plans and the kind of things you want to do but for most people visiting Portugal, 1 to 3 days is enough time to spend visiting Cascais.