The lively coastal resort of Cascais lies 25 kilometers west of Lisbon. It’s a popular day trip destination for residents and visitors alike and is conveniently located at the end of the Cais do Sodré-Cascais railway line. The excursion itself is a pleasant experience, with the line hugging the coast, and trains calling at various seaside towns along the way, including Carcavelos and Estoril.

Draped around a shallow bay with its own sandy beach, Cascais combines tradition with nobility. A busy fishing port since medieval times, Cascais evolved in the 19th century when King Luís I moved his summer activities to the Palácio da Cidadela, the town’s 17th-century waterfront fortress. Soon afterwards, a slew of grand mansions sprang up in and around the town as Cascais took advantage of the royal seal of approval. Today, these opulent properties stand side by side with rows of former fishermen’s cottages. The citadel is now a plush hotel and a thriving cultural space open to the public, and Cascais still enjoys a rather glamorous, cosmopolitan reputation.

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