Escape to Portugal - Part II

Cascais is a small town on the coast of Portugal about forty five minute's drive from Lisbon. It is a picturesque town with no shortage of things to do and with an average of 350 days of sunshine, it is an ideal place to take a vacation. We chose Cascais because it was a family vacation with 18 people to coordinate. The proximity to Lisbon made it an easy choice.

Where we stayed:

We stayed at the Farol Design Hotel. It's a beautiful hotel beside the marina and about a five minute walk into town. The hotel is located on a cliff overlooking the Atlantic. We adored our room but beware: those travelling with a baby may want to avoid this hotel as the rooms are small and not all of them have bath tubs. Best for adults and couples. We loved the pool and spent a good few hours lounging around throughout our stay. We ate most of our meals outside of the hotel but we did have dinner in their restaurant one night and lunch in their sushi restaurant which were both amazing. It's definitely worth a visit even if you're not staying there.

Where we ate:

We stayed on EST for the majority of our trip because we wanted to keep our little one from waking up at crazy hours when we returned home. As a result, we only ever had a quick nibble of breakfast at the hotel but it was included as is the case in most restaurants in the area. For lunch and dinner - there are so many great places to choose from*

Bairro do Alvilez - typical Portuguese food, great atmosphere in Cascais town.

Casa Da Guia - Love this little place - it is right on a cliff and is kind of like an outdoor mall surrounding a beautiful house. There are various restaurants - from an ice cream shop and a hot dog stand to sushi and fine dining, all indoor/outdoor. We tried Don Grelhas and Oz Prazeres da Carna. Both were great with amazing views of the cliffs of Cascais.

Villa Cascais - this place serves food but we went for wine tasting which was so much fun...great atmosphere overlooking the main square and harbour in Cascais town.

Mar do Inferno - sadly we didn't get a reservation at this place and it's a pity because it comes very highly recommended. We will definitely try it the next time we're there!

Penha Longa - a bit of a trek (we went to Sintra one day and had dinner on the way back at this beautiful Ritz property) and honestly the food was disappointing. I would skip this in retrospect.

*Very important to note: it is recommended to make reservations especially for lunch on weekends. It seemed everyone and their brother (and mother and father and sister and uncle and aunt) was out for lunch on the weekends.

What to do:

1. Rent bicycles or use ones provided by your hotel and tour up and down the coast.

2. Visit Sintra for the morning (word to the wise - go EARLY to avoid the crowds also, don't ride your bike there - Clare did this once a few years ago and it was all up hill on the way there and headwind on the way back! Poor thing...still can't believe she did that).

3. Rent paddle boards either at Guincho Beach or the town beach.

4. Take a surfing lesson at Guincho and follow it up with lunch at the "Swimming Pool"

5. Make a reservation with DreamBoats. Gabriel is amazing - based on your party size, he can provide all sorts of entertainment on the ocean. We were a large group so we chartered a big boat, along with a speed boat. We cruised up and down the coast all the way to Lisbon and back finishing at sunset in the Cascais Harbour. Both lunch and a light dinner were served as well as snacks and unlimited drinks! The daredevils went out on the speedboat and had a great time ripping around on the tube.


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