The best independent guide to Estoril
The best independent guide to Estoril
Estoril is the premier resort town of the Lisbon coastline, and is ideal for tourists who are seeking a varied and enjoyable holiday destination. Within the Estoril region there are historic towns, challenging hiking or cycling routes, championship grade golf courses and of course Lisbon’s buzzing nightlife.
This guide will detail the best activities, sights and day trips within the Estoril region and is designed for tourists who are planning a holiday to this wonderful town.
Related articles: Introduction to Estoril - Estoril beach guide
Cascais is a picturesque fishing town that is a delightful blend of grand 19th century architecture and traditional Portuguese heritage. Historically Cascais was an important fishing town, which during the 19th century found favour with the Portuguese nobility and aristocracy, who constructed lavish villas and houses amongst the traditional dwellings.
Today, Cascais is a joy to explore with a delightful historic centre, carefully maintained parks and a series of interesting free museums. Cascais could be considered as an extension of Estoril, as it is only 3km away and the walk follows the scenic coastal promenade. For a guide to Cascais please click here.
The Castro Guimarães Museum in Cascais
The Praia do Guincho offers some of the best surfing of the Lisbon coastline and the experience is enhanced by the dramatic setting of the Serra de Sintra National Park.
The ferocious waves that pound the beach roll in from the Atlantic Ocean and are ideal for experienced surfers, body boarders or swimmers, while on the beach surf equipment can be hired and lessons are taught. The Guincho beach is only a 10-minute drive from Estoril but the remote setting means that public transport is very limited.
For a guide to the Praia do Guincho please click here.
Guincho Beach is ideal for surfing and body boarding
Few beach resorts can boast a close proximity to a major city.... and Lisbon is not just a major city; it is a great city! Lisbon could be considered as one of the finest cities in Western Europe and offers outstanding tourist attractions, world class museums and a never-ending nightlife.
There is so much love about Lisbon, and Estoril is just a short train ride away. It is generally accepted that it takes three days to fully explore the capital, and Estoril makes for a great base from which to discover Lisbon. For an extensive tourist guide to Lisbon, please click here.
Lisbon castle high above the city
Estoril is famed for its casino and their extravagant nightly shows. The casino, which was once Europe’s largest, is spread across two floors and is packed with tables, games and slot machines. Friday and Saturday nights are the time to visit when there is a real buzz about the venue.
Estoril casino and grounds
The casino is also steeped in history; during World War Two, when Portugal remained neutral, the casino was a prominent rendezvous for spies and their handlers. These intrigues and meetings were the inspiration for writer Ian Flemming’s character James Bond and the basis of the book Casino Royale. In 1970 the casino was the centre piece for the movie On Her Majesty's Secret Service.
Sintra is a charming town that is set amongst the pine covered hills of the Serra de Sintra, and is the location of two royal palaces, an ancient ruined castle and numerous other grand villas. At the heart of Sintra is the Gothic Palácio Nacional de Sintra, while much of the town was constructed in the “Romanticism” architectural style of the 19th century, and this style is exemplified in the beautiful Pena Palace. Sintra is considered as the best day trip from Estoril and is connected by a direct bus service. . For a complete guide to Sintra, please click here.
The stunning Pena Palace in Sintra
Cabo da Roca is the most westerly point of mainland Europe and the exposed headland was regarded as the end of the known world up until the 14th century.
Nature is the main attraction of Cabo da Roca with massive cliffs, raging seas and dramatic coastal formations. From Cabo da Roca there is a challenging and scenic coastal hiking trail to Praia da Adraga beach, which provides wonderful views over the barren region.
The headland is best visited at sunset, as the sun lowers behind the endless expanse of sea, perfect for a romantic and special holiday moment. Cabo Roca is a 15-minute drive from Estoril and there is a bus service (route 403) that departs from Cascais bus station.
Cabo da Roca and lighthouse
The Portuguese way of life revolves around the meal times, and this passion for food is extended to the fine restaurants that are located in Estoril. Portuguese cooking is often centred around the freshly caught fish or Bacalhau (salted codfish), which supposedly has 365 different ways to be cooked.
The Portuguese have a very sweet tooth and their cakes are irresistible. Estoril is a great place to try delicious new foods and sample Portugal’s fine and inexpensive wines.
There are many excellent cycling routes around the Estoril region. One of the most popular cycling routes leads from Cascais and continues around the coastline to the Praia do Guincho, this routes follows a purpose built cycle path and is suitable for all, as there are no major hills. For a much more challenging cycle head north into the hills of the Serra de Sintra. Most hotels can organise bike rental.
The free "Bicas" bikes on the way to Guincho beach
The Estoril region is renowned for its golf courses and the most respected of these is the Golfe do Estoril. This long and challenging course provides views over the sea and is a marvel to play along. In Estoril there are golf shops who can arrange golf club hire and transport.
No resort town could flourish without outstanding beaches, and the Estoril coastline has some of the finest beaches that central Portugal offers. The beaches closest to Estoril are calm, family friendly affairs and are served by the inexpensive railway. The most popular beach is the Praia de Carcavelos and for a full guide to the beaches of please click here.
The pretty and family friendly beaches of Estoril - at low season!
Belem is the most scenic districts of Lisbon and, being situated on the western side of Lisbon (closer to Estoril), and should be visited as a separate day trip. The district extends along the banks of the Tejo estuary and is filled with parks, ornamental gardens and historical buildings and monuments. Belem is the location of Lisbon’s finest tourist attractions, which include the charming Torre Belém, the discovery monument and the Jeronimos Monastery.
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