From sheltered coves and sandy dunes to rocky outcroppings, the coast of Portugal’s Cascais is a miles-long string of some of the best beaches in Europe, including Blue Flag beaches Guincho and SãoPedro do Estoril.
Cascais is also a premium golf destination, with nine courses, including Oitavos Dunes, considered by many the best in the country.
This city also offers world-class dining options, theaters, exhibitions, and open-air cinema and outdoor concerts at the beach in summer.
It boasts one of the lowest crime rates in Europe and is home to a large and lively community of expats who fill their days walking the beaches, sailing, biking, horse riding, trekking, hiking, skating, diving, surfing, kitesurfing, and indulging in every other water and outdoor activity known to man.
Living in Cascais is like living in a garden by the ocean alongside one of the world’s most sophisticated and beguiling cities.
Cascais began life as a village of fishermen and farmers but has transformed itself into a mini-city of about 206,000 souls complete with a university campus, 13 international and bilingual schools, 2 hospitals, a shopping mall, a casino, museums, monuments, palaces, and, last but not least, one of the most memorable and iconic ice-cream shops anywhere in the world, Gelados Santini.
This city’s extraordinary quality of life, year-round mild climate, and proximity to Lisbon are attracting more attention. Many are choosing to live in Cascais even if they work in Lisbon, seeing the 30-kilometer daily commute as a small price to pay in exchange for the rich and tranquil lifestyle they’re able to enjoy.
All this has conspired to make property in Cascais more expensive than anywhere else in Portugal outside Lisbon. The average price per square meter in Lisbon is currently 2,581 euros. In Cascais it’s 2,004 euros.
Renting is likewise more expensive in Cascais than anywhere else in the country outside the capital… but still affordable relative to the costs of renting elsewhere in Europe and a bargain compared with other high-end destinations in this part of the world. Figure 450 to 500 euros per month for a one-bedroom apartment.
As anywhere, your overall cost of living will depend on how you live. Based on my firsthand experience, I’d say you could get by with 1,500 euros per month but 2,000 euros per month would be more comfortable
A couple can eat well spending 300 euros per month on groceries. Remember, though, that this city takes gastronomy seriously, so allow room in your budget for dining out. Figure 15 euros per person in a midrange restaurant. Most restaurants have outdoor seating, and the astonishingly beautiful water views come at no extra charge.
You could easily live here without a car, meaning no car expense. The public transport system includes 50 buses, an aerodrome, and a railway.
The city boasts, as well, a marina and more than 100 parks and gardens in addition to its 17 beaches. This is a great place to live with a dog. So many great options for where to take it for a walk!
The train from Cascais to Lisbon takes about 40 minutes, costs all of 2.25 euros, and lands you at the very central Cais do Sodré. Taking the quickest and most direct route, the drive from Cascais to Lisbon likewise takes about 40 minutes.
When we have time, though, we much prefer to follow the “Linha de Cascais” connecting the two cities. It takes you through the Portuguese Riviera. Stunning.