Estoril – located 25 km / 15.5 miles from Lisbon and easy to reach by regional train – has been a very popular beach and retirement destination for many years. Today, the town is home to about 6,000 people, many of which are retired and wealthy expats e.g. from Germany.
|Beach of Estoril and
(Photo: anonym, Praia do Tamariz – Estoril, cropped to 1102×735 vertical and horizontal, CC BY 2.0)
In the town center is arranged around a beautiful park, the Jardim do Estoril, but what attracts most of the rich crowds is the casino. This gamblers’ paradise makes Estoril one of the most expensive places to live not only in Portugal, but on the entire Iberian Peninsula.
|Jardim do Estoril and the casino – proof that rich doesn’t necessarily mean pretty.
(Photo: kenward, Linha de Cascais DSC 0241 (17296423451), cropped to 1102×735, CC BY 2.0)
Another attraction is, of course, the beach which is not the greatest one I’ve ever set foot on, but if you just need a short break from Lisbon’s hustle and bustle, it’s totally fine. Actually, it’s nicer than the city beach of Cascais, so if you are not driving but come here by public transport, it’s much better to hit the beach in Estoril.
|None of the city beaches are secluded dream destinations – but for a beach break from Lisbon’s hustle and bustle, they do.
(Photo: Dora Dragoni, Estoril, Praia da Poça – panoramio, cropped to 1102×735, CC BY 3.0)
However, if you have your own car and travel more independently, the beaches west of Cascais are more pristine.
Mainly the proximity to these gorgeous beaches makes Cascais one of the city with the highest quality of living in Portugal.
|A pedestrian street in Cascais’ town center.|
In fact, besides being a pleasant beach destination, Cascais offers a lot of cultures, mainly art displayed at several art galleries and museums. These are concentrated around the so-called Museum Quarter. Many of these venues are installed in mansions that used to be private residences. Today, many of them belong to the municipality. If you want to take a break from the lazy beach life, there are a number of galleries definitely worth a visit: There is the wonderful Casa Verdades de Faria, the museum of Portuguese music. It hosts an important collection of musical instruments, collected by Michel Giacometti.
|Casa Verdades da Feria housing the Museum of Portuguese Music.
(Photo: Roundtheworld, EstorilMusicMuseum2, cropped to 1102×735, CC BY-SA 4.0)
Interesting are also galleries such as the Casa das Histórias Paula Rego, presenting – according to its name – paintings of Paula Rego and her husband Victor Willing. Or the Casa Duarte Pinto Coelho, a former guardhouse of the Condes de Castro Guimarães Palace, that houses – you probably guessed it – the art collection of designer Duarte Pinto Coelho.
|Condes de Castro Guimarães Palace also houses a museum. On display are paintings, sculptures, furniture, and antique dishes.
(Photo: swissbert from Switzerland, 2016-10-21 Cascais 6190 (30870302001), cropped to 1102×735, CC0 1.0)
To learn about Cascais’ past and history, visit the Museu do Mar. Founded in 1992, it deals with the town’s past as a fishing village. Another one is the Museu da Vila, the town museum, also providing a glance at the town.
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