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Exploring Cascais, Portugal

Exploring Cascais, Portugal

As much as I can complain about Instagram, it connects you to people in a whole new way. People I don’t know send me helpful and thoughtful recommendations when I am traveling. I see photos that inspire me to travel to new places and try new restaurants. And more than anything, it connects me to my friends. On my second night in Lisbon, I was drinking wine and emailing my accountant (work doesn’t stop when I travel) when I checked Instagram and noticed my friend and former boss posted a photo from Cascais, Portugal. I quickly Googled the town, noticed it was a short distance from Lisbon, shot him a text, and we excitedly took advantage of the opportunity to meet up.

If I hadn’t happened to see that Instagram I wouldn’t have thought to go to Cascais. It’s a tiny little beach town just a 40-minute direct train ride from Lisbon, and it couldn’t be more charming. Cascais reminded me a bit of Southern Spain and of Mykonos. The streets were paved with black and white mosaics, and the town was filled with cafes, restaurants, and little boutiques.

On the walk to my friend’s hotel I passed by a beautiful castle and lighthouse. (Portugal has more castles than anywhere I have ever been). My friend was in town with his wife and brother for a conference, and I couldn’t think of a prettier place to be for work.

We walked over to Visconde da Lux, a Michelin starred restaurant that specializes in seafood. Our waiter brought examples of the fish to the table and we ordered two whole fishes to be split between the four of us.

We started out meal with some Portuguese cheese. This cheese was a semi soft earthy tangy cheese.

The fish came cut into portions and arranged on a platter with vegetables, and potatoes. We washed it down with a light and refreshing white wine. The waiter came and spooned an olive oil and garlic sauce over the fish, and we squeeze a bit of lemon on top. You know that I am really picky when it comes to seafood. I only want it when it is super fresh (like out of the ocean for less than 24 hours fresh), and this was. The fish was wonderfully tender and flaky.

After lunch we walked around town checking out the harbor.

And we admired the architecture in the town. Many of the homes were white with colorful tile decoration.

When we stopped into a coffee shop I couldn’t resist getting an Egg Custard Tart – one of Portugal’s most iconic foods.

We happened to be in Cascais on an unusually cold day, but the beaches looked lovely. A stay in Cascais would be a nice way to add some beach time to a trip to Lisbon. I thought it was a great day trip. The train from Lisbon to Cascais stops at Belem as well, so you could do a Cascais/Belem excursion.