After a few hours of airtime (and an Uber ride of 60 minutes) we arrived in Cascais. My first thought? “Hello Paradise!”
We immediately noticed that Cascais is a quiet town with a breathtaking sea view. But it was already evening and we got hungry, so ‘the exploring’ would have to wait until the next day. We dined at the fish restaurant Boca Do Inferno which is only a 10min walk away from the hotel and definitely worth visiting when you don’t want to go to far. Furthermore we were warmly welcomed at our stay for the coming first 2 nights: Grande Real Villa Italia, a Leading Hotel of The World, and the former residence of the exiled Italian kings. From our room we had a beautiful view on the swimming pool and its surrounding. After opening the windows the sultry sea air from the Atlantic Ocean blew in oh so gently.
We appeared at breakfast fresh and found the breakfast buffet fit for a King. I chose my all-time favorite: Eggs Benedict for Denzelé please!
After breakfast, we started exploring Cascais, an old but cosy fishing village in the south of Portugal. After a short walk we reached the famous Boca Do Inferno (literally the Mouth of Hell), which is a gap in the cliffs where the sea water flows in with full power. A walk in the other direction brought us to a completely different, but no less beautiful, setting. It was just like a painting; one with fishing boats floating in the harbour next to a whitewashed lighthouse. Furthermore we discovered the breathtaking fairy tale scene of Rapunzel, have a look and I’m sure you’ll understand what I’m talking about right?
Headed back to the hotel to prepare for dinner, but not before grabbing a bite and taking a swim in the hotel pool, which btw was more of a quick dip tbh because the water was freezing! Avocado toast for the win!
Whenever I’m by the sea, I crave for seafood. And it happens to be that seafood here is a pretty big deal. Most of the food that you’ll eat in Cascais restaurants comes sea-to-table. I can recommend you the restaurant Furnas Do Guincho where we had Barnacles for the first time, the local speciality. It takes patience and some skills to eat them, but definitely worth all the effort.
No better way to start the day than with a morning run alongside the ocean, am I right?
We said our goodbyes to the lovely staff of Villa Italia and send our suitcases off to next destination: Maxime Hotel in Lisbon! But we ourselves would first go on our exploration voyage of 2 other destinations which were on our to do list namely Sintra & Cabo Da Roca.
On our way to Sintra we made a quick stop at latitude 38º 47´north and longitude 9º 30´west, Cabo Da Roca, the most Western point of mainland Europe. A beautiful and impressive yet windy place with steep cliffs going reaching down to the ocean. I managed to get the drone high up in the air for this awesome aerial shot.
Our first stop in Sintra was the UNESCO listed Pena Palace. Never heard of it? Well for all you Game Of Thrones fans out here: apparently the Pena Palace in Sintra is the area’s Red Keep in GOT. This colourful Palace is a real Instagram gem! A quick lesson: The red color stands for the former Monastry, the yellow for the new palace of King Ferdinand.
Because we had spent so much time in the beautiful Pena Palace, we had time to visit only 1 other location in Sintra. I had already heard a lot about the 27 meter deep Initiation Well of Sintra and I wanted to go in myself. So off to the domain of Quinta da Regaleira:
Fun fact: The well was never used as a well and, in fact, was never built to serve as a water resource at all. Its true purpose is lost in time, but it is said that it was actually built for secret ceremonial purposes.
Next and final stop of the day was Lisbon, more precisely the Maxime Hotel which is supposed to be the sexiest hotel in Lisbon… sounds promising!
Immediately upon arrival we felt this wasn’t the ordinary kind of hotel. We received the Bar Room for our first night; a sophisticated and masculine room where gambling and drinking is obligatory. I placed my bets 😉 what about you?
We decided to stay in the hotel for dinner, and attend the dinner show. They are known for their cabaret shows, but these are held every Friday which unfortunately wasn’t during our time in Lisbon.
Nevertheless we did sit down in the restaurant and were positively surprised by the chef. One after another we were presented with finger licking, beautiful dishes. Nonetheless, despite having had a 3 course menu, I was still feeling a bit hungry. To my surprise, they offered me an additional plate to make up for it no questions asked, which I highly appreciated. The service was entertaining, yet highly professional and they did everything in their power to make us feel comfortable. I didn’t bring my camera but I invite you to try out some of their dishes and let them surprise you.
Special thanks to the chef and waiter who served us that night!
A sunny day full of sightseeing. The first thing on our list was the Elevador de Santa Justa, an impressive 45 meter high lift that offers an excellent view of Lisbon. We decided to keep our feet on the ground though, since the queue was immense. Take a look for yourself:
Next stop: The Praça do Comércio aka the largest of Lisbon’s mighty plazas. We stayed there for lunch before continuing our way alongside the Tagus River (where we enjoyed a refreshing Piña colada).
For our next destination, we had to use public transportation. Here in Belgium you have a tram within 10 minutes, in Lisbon we had to wait almost an hour. Anyway, we got there in the end: The Belém Tower! And there turned out to be a small festival going on! We liked it so much that we stayed there to watch the sunset.
Woke up in a new room today at the Maxime Hotel… The Bondage Room! Their most mysterious room of all, one that drips with sex appeal in a non-tacky way: the cage-like furniture and rope details immediately catch the eye.
Today’s planning: “Para a praia!”(To the beach!). I was eager to catch some waves so we headed to Costa da Caparica (less than 30min drive from Lisbon). On the beach we found this amazing Seafood restaurant called O Nosso Prego where we took a plate full of the most tasty seafood and vegetables for only 15 euros each. I can only recommend!
On our way back to Lisbon we enjoyed this beautiful view over the 25th of April Bridge, aka the largest suspension bridge in Europe, stretching across the Tagus River. A good and quiet place to enjoy the view on Lisbon like from this picture below is to follow the narrow sandy road on the left side of the statue of Jesus overlooking the bridge from the South. It will lead you here, the best spot in the area for a good picture if you ask me!
Sadly we couldn’t stay here till sunset because we made dinner (sushi!) reservations at Sky Rooftop Bar. Luckily, the view from our dinner table was pretty amazing too… let me show you because I think it’s definitely worth your while, especially during sunset!
Last couple of hours in Lisbon, with still 1 absolute must on our to-do-list:
The nineteenth century funicular – and Lisbon’s most picturesque – ascending one of the steepest hills in Lisbon.
Fun fact: Although it is usually described as a cable railway, this is technically not correct because the traction is not provided by a mechanical cable, but by electric motors on the two carriages (powered by an overhead line). The cable connects the two carriages with each other so that they ascend and descend simultaneously, with each carriage acting as a counterweight to the other.
Time to say goodbye Lisbon. We only had one hour left to check in at our departure gate and we still had to drive all the way back to the hotel, pick up our luggage and drive to the airport. Close call but we made it!
Hope you enjoyed reading about this short but memorable trip and that you one day may experience it yourself if you haven’t already.
Safe travels you guys!
Chanty & Denzelé