The gorgeous beach resort town of Cascais, Portugal is a fantastic place to spend a day (or a week)–and since traveling from Lisbon to Cascais takes well under an hour, it’s no surprise that taking a day trip to Cascais is incredibly popular with Lisbon locals and visitors alike.
If you’re planning to travel from Lisbon to Cascais and want to see the best of Cascais in a day, then this is the Cascais travel guide for you!
In the more than a year we spent living in Lisbon, we took day trips to Cascais many times–sometimes to sightsee, sometimes to share the best things to do in Cascais with family and friends, and sometimes just to enjoy the sea breeze.
Here’s how to plan the perfect Lisbon to Cascais day trip, plus the answer to the most common questions we get about visiting Cascais from Lisbon.
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The #1 Question For Planning a Day Trip to Cascais From Lisbon
Without a doubt, the most common question we hear about planning a day trip to Cascais from Lisbon is “can you visit Cascais and Sintra in one day?”.
The answer is yes… but it depends on what you’re looking for.
This day trip to Cascais, Sintra, and Cabo da Roca is one of the most popular tours (if not the most popular tour) in the country, and that’s for very good reason!
Most visitors only have a few days in Lisbon, and seeing the best of the surrounding area with limited time is a challenge.
If your main goal of visiting Cascais is simply to enjoy views of the sea, meander through the town center, and get a small taste of one of the best beach towns in Portugal, then booking an organized day trip that visits multiple spots is very doable.
If you’d rather spend the full day in Cascais, enjoying the town’s best attractions and maybe even relaxing on the beach, then it’s best to skip both Sintra and an organized tour, and instead, just take the train from Lisbon to Cascais (more on that below).
Personally, we’ve had days where we spent all day in Cascais and days where we visited for an hour–but we’ve never considered time spent in Cascais time wasted.
How to Travel From Lisbon to Cascais, Portugal
When planning a Lisbon to Cascais day trip, you essentially have 3 doable options to work with: take the train, take a car (either by driving or in the form of a taxi/Uber), or book a tour.
Here are the pros and cons of each!
There is a direct regional train from Lisbon to Cascais, and it is incredibly simple to use!
Trains traveling from Lisbon to Cascais leave every 10-20 minutes from the Cais do Sodré station (across the street from the Time Out Market) and take about 35-40 minutes to reach Cascais.
Along the way, you’ll enjoy beautiful views of the water (try to sit on the left side of the train as you are traveling to Cascais if you can).
Tickets cost €2.30 per person, per way, and can be purchased at the station before leaving, or are included with the Lisbon Card if you have one.
The Cascais train station is right in the town center, so once you arrive, you can start checking out some of the best things to do in Cascais right away.
(I will make one note that in our experience, this train can get very hot in the summer, so be prepared for that, especially in the afternoon).
Taking a taxi or Uber to or from Cascais is another option, which can be very convenient (especially with a group).
€15-20, give or take, will typically get you from central Cascais to central Lisbon.
There’s a taxi stand at Boca do Inferno, and we have enjoyed many Cascais day trips that started with a train to Cascais from Lisbon and ended with heading back home by hailing a taxi at Boca do Inferno!
The attractions we’re covering in this Cascais day trip guide are all found within walking distance of the Cascais train station, so there’s no reason to rent a car.
However, if you want to visit some more outlying parts of Cascais, like the Cresmina Dunes or Praia do Guincho, you may want to consider driving yourself and parking outside the historic center.
It’s not a requirement, with the option of taxis and Uber, but it does give you much more flexibility.
If you do happen to choose to drive to Cascais from Lisbon, you might consider adding a stop at Cabo da Roca, too!
If you do want to drive you can check rental car prices and inclusions here.
We covered this in detail above, but to recap, the only reason we would book an organized day trip to Cascais is if you also want to fit a visit to Sintra on the same day.
This tour is a great option for that (and includes more time in Cascais than some Sintra day trips that try to squeeze in more sights).
However, if you’re planning to spend the whole day in Cascais, there’s no reason to book a tour.
The Best Things to Do on a Cascais Day Trip
While there are many wonderful things to do in Cascais, we’ve focused this section on the best Cascais attractions to visit on a day trip.
In other words, this travel guide covers the absolute best places to visit in Cascais that are within walking distance of the train station!
Here’s what to see in Cascais in one day.
Admire the Santa Marta Lighthouse.
If you’ve seen one photo of Cascais, it probably included the gorgeous Santa Marta Lighthouse, which was built in 1868 on the site of an earlier fort.
Situated on the estuary of the Tejo, the Santa Marta Lighthouse looks iconically Portuguese, and it remains one of my favorite things to see in Cascais!
As you stroll away from the center of Cascais and toward Boca do Inferno along Avenida Rei Humberto Ii de Itália, the traditional postcard view of the Santa Marta Lighthouse will appear on your left.
… and visit the attached museums.
A 5 Euro ticket purchased at the Santa Marta Lighthouse will buy you two things: a chance to tour the small lighthouse museum (and most importantly, admire the view from the top!), plus entrance to the Casa de Santa Maria.
The Casa de Santa Maria was designed to be the “perfect” example of a traditional Portuguese home and was once owned by the same family who owned the Condes de Castro Guimarães Museum across the street (more on that below).
Visit the Condes de Castro Guimarães Museum.
While this popular photo spot in Cascais is best known for the easy-to-access azulejos on its exterior, we absolutely loved visiting this small house museum!
Indisputably Portuguese and absolutely beautiful, the Castro Guimarães Museum doesn’t take too long to see, but it’s definitely worth going in (tickets are 4 Euro).
Built in the style of a castle in the Gothic revival style (with heavy Portuguese twists) at the end of the 19th century, it has been a museum since 1931.
Don’t forget to peek out the windows when you’re upstairs–the views are beautiful!
Check out the peacocks in Parque Marechal Carmona.
This shady, peaceful park is a fun place to take a break from the sun in Cascais–and it’s also home to many very colorful peacocks, plus some chickens!
Peacocks are a fairly common sight in Portuguese parks–for example, there are many at Lisbon’s famous Castelo de São Jorge, as well as in our favorite Lisbon park Jardim da Estrela–and they add a delightful dash of whimsy to wherever they live.
While I wouldn’t necessarily spend too much time in Parque Marechal Carmona when you only have one day in Cascais to work with, it’s worth a quick stroll, especially since the Castro Guimarães Museum is located just inside the park.
If you stroll along the back edge of the house, you’ll also be treated to some lovely water views.
Meander through Cascais’ colorful downtown center.
Cascais’ walkable, colorful downtown center is covered with restaurants, cafes, small streets leading to beach access, and shops selling Portuguese souvenirs, all knitted together with enormous amounts of the distinctive and lovely Portuguese pavement (or calçada portuguesa).
Central Cascais is a place made for wandering aimlessly, and we highly recommend you take time to enjoy it without a specific itinerary in mind.
If you’re looking for lunch, House of Wonders is extremely popular and delicious (it’s a vegetarian restaurant, but we can attest that even non-vegetarians will enjoy it), and Masala Indian Restaurant is beloved by a friend of ours.
For seafood, Baía do Peixe is one of many popular Portuguese options!
Walk to Boca do Inferno (and enjoy the views along the way).
Walking from central Cascais to Boca do Inferno is one of my absolute favorite things to do in Cascais, and we make time for it on almost every visit!
From the Cascais train station, it takes about 30-35 minutes to walk to Boca do Inferno, plus anytime you stop to sightsee along the way.
And, since virtually all of the attractions covered in this Cascais day trip guide lie between these 2 points, it makes for a very convenient route.
Once you pass the Santa Marta Lighthouse in particular, the views of the sea become remarkable, and we often find ourselves pausing to enjoy them again and again.
Once you reach Boca do Inferno, the crowds pick up a bit again, and you’ll come to a busy area with several souvenir stalls, a handful of restaurants and snack bars, a parking lot (with a taxi stand), and most importantly, a very cool view!
The Boca do Inferno (in English, “Mouth of Hell”) is a sea arch that, during certain weather, creates enormous sound effects as the water crashes into and beyond it.
When visiting Boca do Inferno, turn right as you’re leaving the area with souvenir shops in order to get the traditional view of the arch.
If you continue to the more popular viewpoint, you won’t be able to see the arch as well.
However, the views of the Atlantic are still stunning, and we love spending time here when visiting Cascais!
Check out the Cidadela de Cascais.
Originally built in the 15th century and rebuilt, like much of the Lisbon area, several times, the Cidadela de Cascais has had a long history in this seaside town.
Operating first as a defensive fort, later a royal residence, and now split into various functions (part museum and part luxurious hotel), the latest iteration of the Cascais Citadel still stands proudly over the city.
Whether you choose to visit the museum or not, it’s still worth stopping by the citadel area to see…
… and the Citadel Arts District.
Home to galleries, shops, and interesting art installations, the Citadel Arts District blends seamlessly into the greater Cascais Citadel, and is a fun stop on a day trip to Cascais!
I picked up a couple of books I loved on the history of Lisbon and Portugal in the quirky Indie Not a Bookshop and would recommend any bibliophile do a bit of perusing when passing by.
Walk to Estoril from Cascais.
In the opposite direction from Boca do Inferno, heading back closer to Lisbon from Cascais, lies the beach town of Estoril.
And, a short and beautiful 30-minute walk along the sea will take you from Cascais to Estoril!
Above all, Estoril is famous for one thing: its casino was Ian Fleming’s inspiration for writing the first James Bond book, Casino Royale, which launched a character that has now been around for generations!
Beyond this connection, though, Estoril is a lovely resort town in its own right, with many similarities to Cascais (though often a bit less crowded).
Praia do Tamariz, its beautiful main beach, will greet you as you arrive in town on foot after strolling along the coast.
Hit the beach!
Last but certainly not least, one of the best things to do on a day trip to Cascais from Lisbon is to enjoy the beach!
Whether you just want to relax on the sand or you want to go for a swim, you’ll be spoiled for choice with Cascais beaches.
Praia da Rainha and Praia da Ribeira are two popular options right in the center of town and would be among our top picks, and Praia do Duquesa is also lovely and very popular.
You’ll spot plenty of people swimming in the shallow, calm water in front of the Santa Marta Lighthouse, too, which is particularly nice if you’re visiting Cascais with kids.
Praia do Guincho is one of the most popular Cascais beaches with surfers, but at a 1.5-hour walk from the center of Cascais, it’s better accessed by car.
If you decide to walk to Estoril as part of your one day in Cascais, Estoril’s Praia do Tamariz is also an excellent option!
A Quick One Day in Cascais Itinerary
If you want to spend one perfect day in Cascais, here’s what we recommend–and we’ve enjoyed variations on this Cascais day trip many times!
Once you arrive at the Cascais train station, head toward the sea through town and check out Praia do Rainha, and then meander semi-aimlessly through Cascais, more or less following the curve of the sea.
When you reach Praia da Ribeira, continue hugging the edge of the sea and make your way toward the Cascais Citadel and Citadel Arts District.
From there, head back to Avenida Rei Humberto Ii de Itália and make your way to the Castro Guimarães Museum and Parque Marechal Carmona.
Once you enjoy the museum, enjoy the nearby Santa Marta Lighthouse and, if you’d like to see another interior, its attached museums.
At that point, you’ll be ready to make your way to Boca do Inferno, enjoying plenty of coastal views along the way.
Once you reach Boca do Inferno, you’ll come to a taxi stand–and a few options.
You can either take a taxi back to Lisbon, take a taxi back to the center of Cascais and enjoy dinner (potentially followed by a walk to Estoril), take a taxi to the beach of your choice, or turn around and walk by to Cascais on foot.
Whichever of the above options you choose, you’ll end the day having experienced the bulk of the best things to do in Cascais.
If you do make it to Estoril as part of your one day in Cascais, you can easily hop a train back to Lisbon from there instead of doubling back.
FAQ For Visiting Cascais From Lisbon
How long does it take to travel from Lisbon to Cascais?
The train from Lisbon’s Cais do Sodré station takes 40 minutes to reach Cascais, passing the popular Praia de Carcavelos and Estoril along the way.
Driving from Cascais to Lisbon (or vice versa) takes about the same amount of time, or possibly a bit less depending on traffic.
How much time do you need in Cascais?
How much time you need in Cascais really depends on how much you want to do there.
If you just want to get a quick taste of what visiting Cascais is like, see some of the beaches from above, and wander through the downtown, a half-day trip to Cascais is doable.
If you want to enjoy a meal, some beach time, or a stroll to Boca do Inferno or Estoril (or both!), it is worth going to Cascais for a full day.
Is a day trip to Cascais worth it?
Cascais is not only one of the easiest day trips from Lisbon, but it’s a gorgeous, relaxed resort town in its own right.
If you’re looking for beautiful ocean views, a charming town center, and plenty of beaches, Cascais is absolutely worth visiting.
Can you visit Cascais and Sintra in one day?
Yes, you can, but it depends on what you’re looking for!
If you want to visit museums, hit the beach, or stroll to Estoril on your day trip to Cascais from Lisbon, we recommend focusing on spending one day in Cascais.
If you’d rather plan a day that’s focused more on getting a sample of a wide variety of places than diving into one, a combined Sintra and Cascais day trip is doable.
We recommend booking a tour like this if you want to see both places, or simply taking the train from Lisbon to Cascais if you’re planning to spend a full day in Cascais.