I was looking forward to this trip. After recent back surgery this short break was a chance to re-charge the batteries and put the past few months behind us. Also, it was the first package holiday abroad we took as a family in the Eighties. My parents used to live in the area and they were keen to show off their old haunt. We loved it then, but would my kids love it now?
Going back to a place you went as a teenager with your own children left me feeling a little nervous. What’s changed over the thirty years? Is Cascais still the same little fishing village? Are the egg custards as good now as they were then? Is Lisbon as accessible as you remember it? Will my kids love the food it as much as I did? Will I still love the place? – these plus many more questions were bothering me before we went.
I needn’t have worried, it’s still beautiful! Let me tell you more about it.
We flew out Monday evening from our local airport – Liverpool to Lisbon and, credit where credits due, EasyJet were superb. As we boarded our little bus to shuttle us from the terminal to the aircraft we were ushered back in to the building, ‘sorry you’re going nowhere for now, more details to follow’. Naturally our hearts sank, we were due to leave at 19.30 and we immediately feared we’d be stuck for hours in the airport or sent home. Unfortunately, one of the cabin crew had fallen ill and the Captain wouldn’t leave without a full complement of cabin crew. Communication from EasyJet was outstanding and within half an hour we were boarding our aircraft whilst we waited for a new crew member to arrive and we departed within the hour to arrive slightly behind schedule in Lisbon.
Cascais is only 31 kilometres from Lisbon and after a short 30-minute private transfer, we were checking in to our hotel, the 4* Vila Gale Cascais. We’d booked a Junior Suite and weren’t disappointed - two beds made up in the very spacious lounge area, a separate double bedroom, bathroom and a kitchenette would be perfect for our four-night stay.
We woke the following morning to a beautiful sea view from one side of the huge L shaped balcony and a view of the Marina from the other part of the balcony, a great start to the holiday. The next challenge would be breakfast. Will it offer enough variety to satisfy my kids? Again, we weren’t disappointed, breakfast was amazing with a huge choice of hot and cold from full cooked breakfast with egg station to cereals, juices, cold meats and cheeses, pastries etc.
The weather was fantastic, not a cloud in the sky for the whole time we were there. Warm enough for Joanne and Lauren to top up their tans for the winter around the hotel pool which had plenty of sunbeds and seating plus a small poolside bar that served well priced tasty lunch and snacks offering local and international dishes.
The Vila Gale is located just outside the town centre and is a casual 15-minute stroll into town with some amazing views up the coast towards the Boca do Inferno cliff formations or the luxury yachts of the Marina. There’s a small beach in front of the Hotel Baia as you arrive after your short walk which offers stunning sea views or larger beaches further up the coast towards its neighbour Estoril.
There’s plenty to keep you occupied in Cascais from a coffee in a beach bar above the pretty Praia da Rainha beach or wander the pedestrian shopping street of Rue Frederico Arouca to exploring the historic centre filled with shops, restaurants and cafes. Visit the restores Nossa Senhora da Luz Fort, admire the expensive yachts in Cascais Marina, relax in the Parque Marechal Carmona and visit the Santa Marta house and lighthouse. Follow the cliffs of the coastline to the Boca do Inferno or visit the Casa das Historius Paula Rego art museum.
Close by is Estoril where you can visit the Casino Estoril and Park Jardim do Estoril and if you fancy venturing a little further afield there is a direct train which connects Lisbon to Cascais which departs from the Cais do Sodré train station in Lisbon. Cais do Sodré is the final stop on the green metro line and is only a short walk from the popular tourist district of Baixa. A single train ticket costs €2.15/€1.10 (adult/child) and is charged to the Viva Viagem card.