Cascais: A Taste of Local Portugal

While there are so many major cities and capitals in Europe that can be visited, every once in a while you uncover a special treasure that offers a true taste and feel for a certain country. Cascais is a small coastal city about 30 kilometers west of Lisbon, Portugal. With a local population of about 200,000 and because it is the last city on the line of trains traveling to and from Lisbon, it remains a quiet yet quaint and attractive town that sits on the Mediterranean Ocean almost at the point where the Atlantic Ocean meets.

There are a few hotels and rental units, but tourism is rather low key there, so you get a real sense of the local residents, along with an excellent array of restaurants from which to choose. Since Cascais is situated on the Mediterranean, finding fresh catches of the day is both easy and delicious. For many locals as well as visitors, there is nothing that quite matches fresh fish and their local green wine, along with lots of bread and a simple salad.

Another treat that makes this a place to remember is that by walking through various neighborhoods you can find local restaurants that prepare home cooked meals that are then served in their patio or the front of their property. You may eat some of the most succulent dishes you will ever find, as their dog lies at your feet and neighbors pass by and stop to chat.

Finally, there are plenty of wonderful sites and day trips that start from Cascais, as well as nearby wonders, such as the natural arch of Boca de Inferno, which is a dramatic chasm that nature carved out of the seaside cliffs over the ages. For the traveler seeking a quieter yet authentic taste of Portugal, you cannot go wrong with Cascais.

By the way, are you curious how you pronounce Cascais? You are not alone! Google “Cascais pronunciation” and you will be sure to find a lot of diverse ways to pronounce this city’s names. Even people who live there will say it differently, so in the end you can decide which way sounds best to you!