To leave gloomy Scotland for the vibrant city of Lisbon was a welcome relief. However, I felt as I had ran out of things to do by the third day; I didn’t want to waste my valuable 4 days in Portugal walking! While Lisbon is a gorgeous place, no trip to the colourful capital is complete without day trips to these two unforgettable towns.
Beach Relaxation: Cascais
Let’s face it, the tiny beach Praça do Comerçio isn’t enough. Cascais, a resort town with world-class beaches is just a short, 5 euro train away. A popular getaway for sunburnt Brits, there isn’t a better place to mellow out and take it slow.
Sights to See:
Santa Marta Lighthouse: A scenic lighthouse with a public museum dedicated to lighthouse history. The real attraction is the stunning view!
Boca do Inferno: A piercing gorge that creates a natural archway. 1.5km/0.9 miles away from the Cascais Centre.
Cascais Beaches: A perfect place to
pass out from too much wine soak up the Portuguese sun. Along the way, you may see people playing footvolley, which is volleyball with feet instead of hands.
Largo Luís de Camões: Cafes, bars, souvenir shops, and a laid-back vibe give that rivals California give character to this central square.
Surreal Scenes: Sintra
There’s a reason why it’s known as “The Portuguese Disneyland.” I planned to go only go to Cascais since I craved the beach. Luckily, I had more time than I thought, so I decided to book a last-minute €5 train to Sintra. It’s beautiful beyond words, and the second place in the world to ever make me get a headache from its beauty, the first being Florence, Italy.
Sights to See:
Quinta de le Regaleria: A wealthy merchant family from the northern city of Porto owned this magnificent estate. The Promenade of the Gods and the palace above are only small fractions of what this estate has to offer. There are caves, waterfalls, enormous wells, parks, churches, booby traps, you name it! It’s easy to spend an entire day here. It’s one of the most beautiful sights I’ve ever seen.
Sintra-Cascais Natural Park: On the way to the Castelo de Pena, this natural park is filled with mountainous slopes which are home to many exotic flowers and plants. There are estates, forests, and shops along the way.
Palació Nacional de Pena: This lego-like castle is at the top of a very tall mountain. Although open to the public, it’s sometimes used for state banquets. It also offers panoramic views of the countryside.
What are your favourite day-trips from Portugal? Is there anything I missed from these towns? Let me know in the comments below!