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Why you should go eco trekking in Cascais, Portugal

Why you should go eco trekking in Cascais, Portugal

The first choice of many European aristocrats and an eco trekking paradise, Cascais, Portugal is the perfect alternative to Lisbon and Porto

In order to avoid the influx of tourists in Lisbon and Porto—the main overcrowded destinations where everyone goes in Portugal—choose Cascais instead, for its fairytale palaces and city vibes. Cascais’ finer, more sandy beaches than Porto, definitely makes it a better upgrade.

Tap Air Portugal has up to 12 daily flights to Lisbon from London and Manchester and it’s a mere 30-minute drive from Lisbon airport, so connectivity is hassle free.

"Choose Cascais to avoid the influx of tourists in Portugal and enjoy the fairytale palaces, city vibes and sandy beaches"

Being the European aristocrats' number one choice, Cascais is where King Luis had a summer home back in the 1800s and after being enchanted by it, he made it his permanent home. Explore what caught his attention, as well as brought Ian Fleming regularly here, known for his post-war James Bond series of spy novels.

Check in at a King’s former residence

The Grande Real Villa Italia in Cascais, PortugalThe Grande Real Villa Ital Hotel and Spa in Cascais used to be the home of a king. Credit: Dguendel

Grande Real Villa Italia Hotel and Spa is the former residence of the last King of Italy and offers the most captivating ocean views from its rooms. The thalassotherapy pool has heated seawater, and the difference can truly be felt in your muscles through the massage jets.

After feeling revitalised, head to Taberna Clandestina Cascais, a hip tapas bar with a terrace. It’s the place to go if you want to dine al-fresco on mushroom pasta, crispy seafood, potato skins, and a fish appetizer board. Do not miss the truffle ravioli for the mains.

Hiking with donkeys

Go hiking with a donkey in the Quinta do Pisão nature park in Cascais, and stop for lunch at the glamping spot. The nature park has undergone a full fledged revamp in the last decade, from an abandoned wasteland to a regenerated, paradise-like ecosystem, with eco-friendly farming, hiking trails and a focus on agriculture and forestry.

"The Quinta do Pisão nature park has gone from an abandoned wasteland to a regenerated, paradise-like ecosystem"

Check out the beehives—the beekeepers explain the process patiently to every visitor and invite you to taste delicious fresh honey. Then take photos with the deer that roam freely in this charming wilderness.

Cascais is known as the charm of the Atlantic coast

Striking lighthouse in CascaisThe striking Farol de Santa Marta lighthouse. Credit: Cavan Images

Go to the historic Farol de Santa Marta lighthouse with excellent tour guides from
Shortcut Tourism Portugal. Explore Cascais’ coastal town centre. Offering plenty of explorations, like the Mercado da Vila market that has been gracing the streets of Cascais for 60 years, Cascais is a melting pot of culture and history. 

"Don’t forget to visit the magical fairytale palaces of Sintra and traverse the exotic gardens of Palácio de Monserrate"

Don’t forget to visit the magical fairytale palaces of Sintra, a 30 minute drive into the hills to traverse the exotic gardens of Palácio de Monserrate. Travellers can also spend an afternoon in the Casa das Historias Paula Regothe "House of Stories" designed by Eduardo Souto de Moura which houses works by the famous Portuguese painter Paula Rego.  

A boat tour to view the dramatic coastline

Boca do Inferno in CascaisBoca do Inferno is a cave feature that results in huge crashing waves. Credit: johncopland

Boca do Inferno (Hell’s Mouth) is a popular viewpoint and the perfect photo opportunity, a dramatic natural rock formation where big waves crash through. If you love wind blowing through your hair and almost sweeping you off, take a trip to Rocca Cape, the most western point in Europe.

Finish the day at the sleek tapas joint Petiscos where the menu offers codfish with scrambled eggs, deep-fried green beans and a syrupy ‘egg pudding.’

A day in Lisbon

Craving a few bustling city days after all the historic palaces, but don’t want the royal treatment to end? Head to the newly renovated Four Seasons Lisbon. The rooms, adorned in peacock blue and silky creams, overlook Eduardo VII Park, the hotel’s gardens and the Jacaranda (known as the purple trees) lined street alongside it. The hotel’s fine dining restaurant will blow your mind with its 12 course tasting menu. Even though Portuguese food is known for its flavours, this Michelin star restaurant takes you on a dining journey with its hazelnut squid, bergamot, roasted seaweed butter and caviar, all paired with Portuguese wine.

Check out the steep cobbled streets of bohemian Bairro Alto that’s known for its nightlife. During daytime the trendy shops, art galleries and fashion gives it a hip vibe. As the night approaches, bars appear out of nowhere, where there were shutters before. 

Want another fancy evening before your departure? Stop at Fifty Seconds by Martín Berasategui, a restaurant that’s sitting 120 metres above ground in a skyscraper. It takes you exactly—you guessed it right—50 seconds in the elevator to reach this Michelin star restaurant. Honestly, there’s something about eating Portuguese cuisine in the tallest building of Lisbon overlooking the Tagus river that makes it surreal, but more so because the food surpasses the view. The tasting menu known for its famous foie gras and apple starter with perfect wine pairings, followed by the grilled scarlet carabineros prawns with black garlic, the steamed sea bass with shellfish is a visual delight and a gastronomy memory you will never forget.

Banner photo: margouillatphotos

 

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