A day trip to Cascais and Sintra, Portugal

Following our 4 days in Lisbon, we thought a day trip to Cascais and Sintra would be a welcome break from the city. We rented a car and left Lisbon early in the morning for our first stop in Cascais. Note that you don’t need a car to get to Cascais or Sintra, both have frequent trains leaving from Lisbon. We opted for the car as we were heading to our next hotel in Torres Vedras but it also gave us the opportunity to drive on the coast which we very much enjoyed.

Cascais is west of Lisbon and only a 45 minutes drive from the city-centre. It is a famous commuters’ town as it offers the beach life within easy reach to Lisbon.

Cascais beach

Once in Cascais, we quickly realised that this was not just any coastal town, this was a very very nice one. Mansions with giant gates stretch along the coastline and the city-centre is a shopping heaven. I can imagine it to be a very pleasant place to live, however, as a tourist there isn’t that much to do so you will only need a few hours there to visit. Except if you are planning to make it a beach day! If you have very limited time in Portugal, I would head straight to Sintra further down below.

Cascais lighthouse

We found a parking spot very easily by Boca do Inferno a famous scenic cliffs spot with a natural archway and an open cave.

Boca do Inferno Portugal

After admiring the impressive views, we headed to the town centre.

Cascais has multiple beautiful buildings which really worth having a look at mostly if you love architecture. My favourites were the Condes de Castro Guimarães Palace and Palácio Seixas, both so grand that they almost feel out of place in this small town.

Condes de Castro Guimarães Palace CascaisPalácio Seixas Cascais

We explored the pretty historic centre on the lookout for a place to grab breakfast and did a spot of shopping before heading to our next destination Guincho beach!

Cascais city centre

Driving north along the coastline is a real pleasure, roll the windows down and enjoy the ocean air.

Unfortunately for us, it was extremely windy on the day we visited Cresmina beach and Guincho beach so we weren’t able to stay on the beach that long.

Cresmina beachGuincho beach

Both beaches are next to each other and still worthed swinging by as the views were fantastic!

Cresmina beach

After a hair blowing stroll, we started our journey into the land toward Sintra.

Without exaggeration, Sintra was our favourite little town to visit during our stay in Portugal. It is breathtakingly beautiful!

Sintra

We arrived mid-afternoon and struggled to find a parking place. Sintra is full-packed with tourists and the city gets really busy. We rushed to grab lunch at a little cafe before heading to the town centre to explore.

Sintra

Everywhere you look is beautiful in Sintra and the views of the valley below and the castles above are amazing.

SintraSintra

As we were a little short on time, we only strolled through the streets and skipped the museums. We wanted to have enough time to visit either Castelo dos Mouros or Pena Palace.

Pena Palace

The castles are fairly far from the town so you will need to take transport to head up there.

Castelo dos Mouros

We settled on Castelo dos Mouros because 1) it looks like it was out of Game of Thrones and 2) it offers great views of Pena Palace. We were not disappointed by our choice!

Castelo dos MourosPena Palace

From the car park, we hiked up to the castle and spent the last couple of hours to explore the castle. Again the views from there were just breathtaking.

Castelo dos Mouros

It was one packed day on the roads of Portugal, and even though we had to rush a bit toward the end we still had a great (although sweaty) time!

Claire Imaginarium

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