Ocean Ports of Call

Cascais - Portugal Highlights:
Palácio da Citadela, Caves, Estoril, Sintra
Cascais is on the western coast of Portugal near to Lisbon at the mouth of the Rio Tejo and was originally a small fishing port but today it boasts a smart new Marina. Cascais was occupied by the Spanish under the Duke of Alba in 1579 and in 1807, the French invaders commanded by General Junot used the Palácio da Citadela as their headquarters. In 1870 the King, Luís I, chose to convert the 17th Century building of the Citadela into his summer residence and Cascais soon became a very fashionable town and aristocratic palaces and mansions followed. During the 2nd World War several Kings and Heads of European countries sought refuge in Cascais and nearby Estoril.

One of the most outstanding palaces is the Palácio de Conde de Castro Guimarães that exhibits its own grand private collection of over 25.000 books and most of the pre-historic finds from the Grutas de Alapraia. These were a series of underground caves only discovered in the late 19th Century. The Grutus do Poço Velho are located in the centre of the town and date back to the Neolithic period. On a much more modest scale is the Museu do Mar that depicts the story of Cascais and its fishing history. Just outside the town is the famous Boca do Inferno where rougher seas hammer into the rock and create a booming noise and a spectacular spray. The Praça de Touros built 1873 and is an imposing area in which regular bullfights can be seen. The Parque Palmela is an attractive park created by the Duques de Palmela in which open-air concerts are often held.

Within easy reach of Cascais is the beach at Guincho with its high waves that attract windsurfers from all around the world. The next town to the east of Cascais is the resort town of Estoril with its popular Casino. To the north and within easy reach is the romantic and fascinating town of Sintra and which was made famous by the writings of Lord Byron.

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