Day 3. Cascais and Lisbon

After enjoying a leisurely breakfast we took the metro from the nearby Marques de Pombal station along to Cais do Sodre and from there transferred to the urban rail line for our train to Cascais.  As with our visit to Sintra the previous day, travel to Cascais is included in the Lisbon Card, making it excellent value.  The train line hugs the coast for the entire 35 minute journey, so we sat on the left hand side of the train to take in the views.

Main Square, Cascais
The main square

Cascais lies 20 miles west of Lisbon and has grown from a small fishing village into a popular seaside resort due to its idyllic setting, located midway between the Sintra Mountains and the Atlantic Ocean.

Cascais town centre
Pretty cafes in the centre of town

As we walked the short distance into the town centre from the station we passed some beautiful buildings which were erected in the 1900’s when the nobility of Portugal were attracted to the area.  The pedestrianised centre is characterised with traditional Portuguese black and white tiled paving and is a shopper’s delight with its mix of small independent shops, designer stores, cafes and restaurants.

Cascais seafront
The attractive seafront

After browsing the shops, we continued along the attractive seafront esplanade which took us alongside the fishing and yacht harbours.  It wasn’t quite the weather for lazing on the beach but I can definitely see the appeal during the warmer months, with the town boasting three pretty beaches along the Estoril coastline.

Cascais Citadel
The Citadel overlooking the entrance to the harbour

Soon we had reached Cascais citadel which was built between the 15th and 17th centuries to defend the entry to the Tagus River and upstream to Lisbon from incoming attacks.

Santa Mata Lighthouse and marina, Cascais
The Santa Mata Lighthouse and marina

Just beyond the marina stands the Santa Mata Lighthouse which was built in 1867 to help guide ships away from the treacherous rocky shoreline.  The lighthouse is still in operation today and now incorporates a small museum that was temporarily closed at the time of our visit due to COVID but would have been interesting to visit.

Cascais beach
Cascais beach

After exploring the town we relaxed on the terrace of one of the beachside bars soaking up the warm sunshine for a little while before taking the train back into Lisbon.  From there we moved on to the Palacio Nacional da Ajuda (Bus 760 stops in front of the imposing palace taking 30 minutes to this outer suburb of the city).  Entrance €5 (free with the Lisbon Card).

National Palace of Ajuda, Cascais
The National Palace of Ajuda

The National Palace of Ajuda was destined to become one of Europe’s largest palaces but only one fifth of the original project was completed.  When Napoleon’s army invaded Portugal in 1807 the royal family fled to Brazil and by the time they returned the country had become a republic.  This rendered the palace unnecessary and rather than being extended as planned, it was turned into a museum.

Exquisite interior of the National Palace of Ajuda, Lisbon
Exquisite interior of the National Palace of Ajuda,

It’s definitely worth the journey out of town to visit as this neo-classical palace has a sumptuous interior, is beautifully furnished and contains a wealth of decorative arts.  Tours are self guided with staff on hand in several of the rooms to answer questions and provide more detail.  We were pleasantly surprised that there were so many rooms to explore over several floors and we enjoyed our visit.

Pilar 7, Lisbon
Entrance to the Pilar 7 Experience

Leaving there, we caught the same bus but rather than heading back into the city centre alighted near the Ponte 25 de Abril bridge so that we could visit the Pilar 7 Bridge Experience (€5 and also included in the Lisbon Card).

Ponte 25 de Abril bridge, Lisbon
Stood beneath the Ponte 25 de Abril bridge

Located on the Avenue da India this attraction offers a unique view of the bridge.  First, we toured the interactive centre which details the history of the bridge’s construction, then we continued outdoors viewing the cable anchor points and how they were secured.  Finally, we took a lift up to a panoramic viewing platform at road level to view the bridge from this angle and to step out onto a cantilevered glass floor.   It’s not everyday that opportunities arise to actually go inside the pillar of a bridge but this has been well designed and is an interesting experience, stepping out onto the overhanging glass floor though is perhaps not for the faint-hearted.

Viewing platform, Pilar 7, Lisbon
Viewing platform, Pilar 7, Lisbon

Back at ground level it was then a pleasant walk through the Alfama district with its charming buildings and narrow, winding streets to the National Museum of Ancient Art overlooking the River Tagus (€6 and included in the Lisbon Card).

National Museum of Ancient Art. Lisbon
The National Museum of Ancient Art

Similar to the National Palace, this museum displays decorative arts, furniture, ceramic and textiles from the Middle Ages through to the 19th century with several elaborate room settings.  The galleries are housed in a delightful building with traditional Portuguese tile work and there is a cafe with an outer terrace overlooking the river.

National Museum of Ancient Art, Lisbon
Inside the National Museum of Ancient Art, Lisbon

Leaving there, we just had one more museum we wished to see in the area, that being the Fundacao Oriente and fortunately for us it was late night opening.  Admission €6 and free after 6.00 p.m. on Fridays.

Fundaco Oriente, Lisbon
Fundacao Oriente Museum, Lisbon

The museum is located in a refurbished industrial building on the Alcântara waterfront and its modern galleries contain a large collection of Asian and Portuguese artefacts.  Before leaving, we popped into the rooftop cafe which has an outdoor terrace to catch a glimpse of the riverside just as the sun was setting.

Displays in the Fundacao Oriente Museum, Lisbon
Displays in the Fundacao Oriente Museum, Lisbon

It was then back to the hotel for a well earned rest before going out for dinner to a cosy restaurant near the Cais do Sodré station.


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63 thoughts on “Day 3. Cascais and Lisbon

  1. ThingsHelenLoves

    Lisbon and Cascais are so photogenic, so many beautiful buildings and pretty views. The Lisbon card is a good tip, seems to give great value in Lisbon and beyond!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. The Lisbon Card offers exceptionally good value when you factor in train travel to both Sintra and Cascais. It also saves time queueing up at the counter or using a machine to buy individual tickets. Hope your week is going well. Marion


  2. Pingback: Day 3. Cascais and Lisbon – Jackanori, (MPD)

  3. No shortage of museums in Lisbon, Marion! The Ponte de Abril experience looks interesting. It’s many years since we’ve driven across that bridge and I’d like to go back one day, for the bits we missed and the updated experience.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. The first sentence is stunning. I was like being carried away in a train that circled the beach. It was an amazing experience in my opinion. Unique buildings, especially the palace which if the work is complete. It must be very broad.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. It certainly sound like your making the most of your Lisbon Card. That’s pretty awesome that it even covers travel to some of the surrounding towns like Cascais. The Santa Mata Lighthouse looks so pretty. It’s too bad that the museum was closed due to the pandemic though.

    Liked by 3 people

  6. What a lovely little day trip out to Cascais! I hadn’t heard of it when I was in Lisbon, hence why I didn’t make the journey over. Such a shame, as it’s such a quaint little place! There’s definitely a lot more to the Lisbon area than just the city itself and Sintra! Thanks for sharing your trip, Marion.

    Liked by 4 people

  7. Cascais looks like a great place for a day excursion. Beautiful architecture, blue skies and water. A perfect getaway. We are not beach people so the off season would be perfect for us. Thanks for sharing Marion. Allan

    Liked by 5 people

    1. Cascais is a delightful seaside resort which has managed to retain its unspoilt charm yet still welcome tourists. The warm winter sunshine on our faces was a treat in mid winter. I’m not a beach person either but I can manage an hour or so before getting bored!

      Liked by 2 people

  8. Thank you. As usual most interesting and informative. We have visited Portugal twice – many years ago – to two different areas of the coast. My husband worked long hours, so was not a culture vulture, although we walked a lot and explored too, they were mainly relaxing and eating holidays to get away from the abysmal British weather, Sorry we missed Lisbon though. Love all your photos. I did a lot of snapping then. Best wishes and keep safe. xx

    Liked by 4 people

    1. Thanks Joy for taking an interest in this post. Cascais is a delightful seaside town which has largely remained unspoilt from tourism. Lisbon is very interesting too just as long as you wear good comfortable walking shoes to cope with all its hills and cobbled streets.

      Liked by 2 people

  9. Pingback: Day 3. Cascais and Lisbon – Downtown Toronto Rentals

  10. I just love the paving at the main square and in the streets of Cascais – it’s so typically Portugal! And what a luxurious interior at the National Palace. It’s another splendid post of your visit to Lisbon Marion … thank you for sharing! Have a great weekend 🌸.

    Liked by 4 people

  11. Great post and amazing photographs from some of my favourite places in Portugal, Marion. I’ve been to Cascais a dozen times and it always surprises me how blue the sky can be on a sunny day. It’s a wonderful place to escape the hustle and bustle of Lisbon city and take in the sea views. Thanks for sharing and have a lovely day 🙂 Aiva

    Liked by 4 people

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