Cascais is a 19 miles west of Lisbon and was an easy day trip for David and me on a Monday, when most sights in Lisbon are closed. Cascias was originally a sleepy fishing village. In the late 19th century, early 20th century, the nobility of Spain used to visit Cascias to enjoy the ocean and beaches. From this period, Cascias evolved to be the resort area that it is today. I read that this area is now one of the richest municipalities in Portugal.
We hopped the train at the Cais do Sodre, which is a quick walk west of the Commercial Plaza. It took about 30 minutes to get there. From the station, we walked across the street and were at the Pedestrian Mall shopping area that was full of souvenir shops, restaurants and cafes.
We wandered through the narrow streets, so typical of any town in Portugal and eventually came out onto the central plaza that houses Cascais Town Hall. The “wavy” design on the plaza wasn’t real appealing to me. It actually made me dizzy while walking across it!
From the plaza, we crossed the street and proceeded to walk down to where the fisherman have their traps and nets. It is still very much a working fishing port. As you can see from the picture below, the working port is right near the beaches and resorts.
From the fishermen’s working area, we walked up Avenida Dom Carlos I. It is such a beautiful city decorated with flowers. From this point, we are at the top of the avenue, looking back at one of the town beaches and hotel. To the left of this hotel, is the central plaza and over the side of the fence on the righthand side of the picture, is the fishermen’s area with all the traps. I liked how they were able to mesh the traditional lifestyle with the new, more modern resorts.
Due to Cascais location on the Tagus River, it was a strategic area for defense of Lisbon. A small fortress was built in the medieval days but this was not strong enough to hold back the Spanish invasion of 1580. In the 1600s, King Philip built a fort much larger and stronger. We walked around the walls of this fort and found our way near the yacht club and around the Santa Marta lighthouse that is now a museum.
Not far from the lighthouse, is the former estate of Count Castro Guimaraes. The palace was built in the 1900 and bought by the Count and his wife in 1910. They had a large collection of art and over 25,000 books of which they donated everything to the town of Cascais upon their passing. Today, it is one of the town’s two museums with a lovely park. Being Monday, the museum was closed, so we continued our wandering through the park.
We came out on the other side by Avenida de Republica and the Cultural Center for Cascais.
Across the street from the Cultural Center was another wall from the fort. The design of the fort is star-shape. A popular renaissance style for forts. I wonder if that is the reason for the star of flowers in the round-about.
Back in the center of town, we walked along the walkway that follows the coastline and passes a variety of beaches. I believe that you could walk the path to the nearby town of Estoril just east of Cascais.
By this time, we were both getting a little hungry and made our way back to the town center for dinner. We finally decided on one of the many, many restaurants. I had a lovely sea bass and David had the famous grilled sardines that Portugal is so well-known for. It was a lovely day of exploring.
I am attaching a couple of odd pictures that I took and really liked but really didn’t fit in anywhere with this blog. The first is of a cute little boat that was moored in the harbor. Throughout my travels, I have a found myself taking pictures of boats…some of the pictures are displayed throughout the house. This one might make the “hall of fame” as well…so cute, no?
This final picture is of fresh octopus that was one of about 6 containers on the dock. As I was taking this picture they were being loaded onto a dolly and I imagine, heading for a local restaurant or two. Can we say fresh fish?