The Estoril Coast has a rich historical past. A tantalising range of historical buildings and other sites of cultural interest all lie within easy reach.
Cascais has several places of cultural and historical interest, notably the Condes de Castro Guimarães Museum, the Museum of the Sea and a number of old churches and forts.
In the Sintra hills, the National Palace, the Moorish Castle, Pena Palace, Monserrate and Regaleira are all fascinating.
Between Sintra and Lisbon lies Queluz Palace, a smaller version of Versailles.
In the northern part of the region, the glorious sound of the bells of Mafra’s huge National Palace and Convent is legendary.
Fairs and Markets
These are always full of life and offer the visitor an opportunity to get a glimpse of the traditional Portuguese way of life. The fairs and markets sell a wide range of clothing, footwear, china, fruit and vegetables, handicrafts and other articles, all at knock-down prices. There are many such events throughout the region. Some of the main ones are:
Cascais: Every Wednesday morning in the town centre. On the first and third Sundays of every month next to the Bull Ring.
Sintra: 2nd and 4th Sundays of every month at S. Pedro.
Malveira da Serra: Every Wednesday. A big livestock fair.
Visitors to the Estoril Coast can always choose to eat so-called international food. Yet whoever makes this choice will be missing out on the many pleasures of eating the local food. Portuguese cooking includes a huge variety of fish and seafood dishes, Portugal being the country with the highest per capita consumption of fish in Europe. There is salt-cod (“bacalhau”) prepared in 100 different ways and a range of egg-based desserts which are found nowhere else in Europe or even in the world. If you would like to sample one of the real specialities of the region, you could try sea-bass (“robalo”) or sea-bream (“sargo”).
And to end your meal, try one of our traditional regional desserts: Sands of Guincho (“Areias do Guincho”) or Malveira Bundles (“Trouxas”). There is a vast choice of restaurants, some up-market and sophisticated and others simple and basic. Prices vary enormously.
As for the wines, many experts consider that the best Portuguese red wines rival the French ones, which are much more expensive. The main wine-growing areas are the Douro, the Dão area and the Upper Alentejo. In the Estoril Coast area, a tiny amount of wine is produced at Colares and both this and the unusual wine produced at Carcavelos are well worth tasting.
Gastronomy is an integral part of the heritage and culture of Portugal. Visitors enjoy eating and drinking here, and good food gives added value to the area as a tourist destination.
To encourage a competitive quality of service, in 2004 the Estoril Coast Tourist Board began to issue “Quality Awards” to the best restaurants in the area.