After finding life in Morocco a little challenging, it was with some relief that I found myself in the beautiful town of Cascais, Lisbon. Although I’ve spent quite a bit of time in Portugal, I had never managed to visit Cascais, and this was a mistake. However, in March 2016 I rectified this, with a stint teaching yoga at Perfect Spot Lisbon.
Cascais is a gem of a beach town. It’s bustling and popular, without being too touristy (ok, it is super-touristy, but not in an obnoxious way). The beaches are beautiful, and there are plenty of them. The town itself is quaint and sweet, full of quirky cafes and shops.
Visit Cascais For Yoga
I took a class at Yoga Cascais, where they offer yoga classes twice per week in English (always helpful, as my Portuguese is limited to being able to order wine…) These classes are great if you want to explore yoga beyond the postures – pranayama, mantras and meditation.
Visit Cascais for Food
The Portuguese really know how to cook (and eat!). An afternoon trip that I went on involved not one, but two picnics in the space of three hours. Amazing.
And for eating out, perhaps because of the bohemian surfer-y vibe in this part of Portugal, there are unexpectedly good veggie and vegan options in the cafes and restaurants. The supermarkets also had veggie choices to rival those in the UK – a real bonus after my time in Spain (where I was told the Spanish word for vegan translates as “crazy vegetarian”) If you’re a fan of fresh fish or seafood though, Cascais is the place to be.
Visit Cascais to Explore
Lisbon and Sintra are both less than 45 minutes from Cascais by public transport. Lisbon is amazing – creative, cosmopolitan and colourful. I’m a little bit in love with it. You can easily spend hours wandering the cobbled streets, and without even intending to, every corner seems to lead to another panoramic vista point. The bonus of all the walking is that you work up an appetite for the gourmet food market Mercado da Ribeira (I know – more food…).
Sintra is another magical place. It has it all – castle ruins, grand palatial houses and stunning natural scenery.
Visit Cascais for Surfing
Surfing and yoga complement each other perfectly, or so they say. If you’re already a yogi, your core strength, flexibility and body awareness will help you to find your feet quicker on the board, and for surfers, yoga is the perfect way to warm and release your body before and after surfing.
Now, I’m editing here for honesty, because as much as I’ve tried, I haven’t fallen in love with surfing. For me there is too much getting hit in the face, and saltwater up my nose has never been my idea of a good time.
However, if you’re more of a surf baby than me, then the surf is another thing to love about Cascais. I felt duty-bound to mention it here as the waves are a highlight for many tourists. You can get up, practise yoga before breakfast, then head to the beach to catch some waves, before chilling later in the day. If you’re not, fear not, there are alternatives. I absolutely loved the free (yes, free!) bicycle hire on offer in Cascais. You can hire a bike from the council and cycle all the way along stunning coastal paths to Guincho Beach.
Visit Cascais To Chill
I’ll be completely honest, my time in Cascais wasn’t nearly as action-packed as this blog makes it sound. I basically practised yoga in the garden, caught up with writing, walked along the beach and ate delicious local food. It was such a great opportunity to take a step back and lead a simpler life in a beautiful place. So if that’s what you’re looking for (and really, who isn’t?) visit Cascais – it’s dreamy.