Lisbon day trip; vegetarian restaurant; budget travel and sights
Getting to Cascais is very easy and straightforward. Even if you are someone who finds subways in new cities confusing – Lisbon’s subway system is easy to navigate. It isn’t extensive in that there are many intersecting lines; it is a few main lines that cross at a few places – making this system very user friendly.
You could take a bus, but that will keep you in transit far longer than is necessary. Uber and taxis are also no quicker than the train and will cost you significantly more. Cascais is 30 kilometres (19 miles) West of Lisbon and is connected to the capital by the “Linha de Cascais” urban railway. Trains depart regularly from Lisbon, and the trip is covered by your Viva Viagem transit card (also works on the ferry, metro, train to Sintra and tram to Belem).
Take the metro to the last stop on the green line – you are looking for the train going to ‘Cais do Sodre’ metro station. The Cais do Sodre is also the first train stop for the Linha de Cascais. This train runs along the ocean for most of the trip with great views of little towns and waterfronts along the way. Cascais and surrounding areas were once the playground of Portuguese nobility, and some of that grandeur can be seen today. For a detailed video on Cascais from the original travel vlogger, check out Rick Steves Portugal video here: https://www.ricksteves.com/watch-read-listen/video/travel-talks/lisbon (Cascais is near the end).
A tip if you are a movie fan – specifically a James Bond fan. Hop off the train at Estoril – it is the stop before Cascais and about 3 kilometres away. The walk to Cascais from Estoril is beautiful – all along the ocean with cafes and beaches to enjoy as you head toward your destination. However, in Estoril cross the street from the train station and check out ‘Casino Estoril’. It is still a grand building on sprawling grounds, though it is now looking a little rough around the edges. It is easy to imagine how magnificent it was in the 1940s when a young MI6 agent named Ian Fleming spent the post-war years mingling with spies and it is here, he got his inspiration for the character of James Bond. He met a Russian spy who was boasting about his exploits, which fueled Fleming’s imagination. Casino Estoril became Casino Royale in one of the first Bond books, and the Casino Estoril appears briefly in the 1968 Bond film, ‘On Her Majesty’s Secret Service’.
The requisite selfie photo to brag about being to Casino Royale from James Bond.
The grounds are still grand, though showing their age. A little rough around the edges, though not difficult to imagine the splendor these premises possessed some seventy years ago.
Looking from the Casino Estoril grounds back towards the Atlantic. The train stops over by the white canvas peaks in the distance.
Casino Estoril/Royale - still holds the mystery for movie fans.
As you make your way to Cascais stop for a cold beverage along the way and enjoy the view, then continue to the little fishing village of Cascais. There is still an active fishing port at work here, and you can stroll along the waterfront on the far North side to see the fishing boats loading gear and heading out. There is an old fort to explore before heading back to the centre of town for some shopping and people watching.
Getting close to Cascais - one of the many beaches between Estoril and Cascais.
One of our favourite vegetarian restaurants in the Lisbon area is called ‘House of Wonders’ and has such a unique atmosphere and presentation of their food. The menu is visual – all the dishes prepared and spread out on a table to choose “with your eyes” according to the staff there. Delicious, healthy, and reasonably priced. We have been here three times and have never felt like we didn’t get our money worth.
House of Wonders is one of our top ten vegetarian restaurants on the planet. Amazing food and service, and the atmosphere is relaxing and pleasant.
The outside seating area of House of Wonders. They have a rooftop seating area as well - to see it check out our Cascais video here.
Soup and vegetarian sushi with dips for the vegetables. Can't even describe how good this is. Check out their FaceBook page here.
The vegetable crepe - fresh, flavourful and healthy.
This is a unique and cool idea - they don't have a printed menu at House of Wonders - they want you to pick your meal with your eyes, so an example of all the dishes is laid out on the table in the main room on the ground floor (3 floors including the rooftop)
Cascais is an easy day trip from Lisbon – even just a morning or afternoon depending on how much time you have. We have never come back once the sun goes down; however we believe the ride back to Lisbon would be beautiful with the lights of the towns in the distance. Cascais is one of our favourite places to visit around Lisbon – it is affordable (transit is cheap and House of Wonder is reasonable) – it is as expensive as you want it to be.
Viva Viagem (we buy the white one and it covers everything)
House of Wonders – Cascais