Cascais Europe Portugal Sintra

Exploring the Sintra-Cascais Natural Park

We’ve taken a few days over the past couple of months to explore the Natural Park just north of Cascais and south and west of Sintra. In the off-season, you can find some pretty remote spots along this gorgeous coastline.

Steps from the town of Cascais, you’ll find the Boca do Inferno. Popular at sunset with locals and tour busses alike, you can grab an aperol spritz or beer at the kiosk shop by the entrance and watch the sun go down in style while you listen to the waves crash against the cliffs and roar into the “boca” or the chasm cut between cliffs. Beautiful on a serene evening, more dramatic when the sea is angry and tossing.

If you’re headed out from Cascais as we were, your first stop along the way is the first two beaches which you’ll find: Cresmina and Guincho. We’ve already posted about our day trip on foot to these beaches here, so we’ll direct you there and entice you with only some photos below.

Follow along the coastline on the N247 and you (and the tour busses) will arrive at Cabo da Roca. Huge cliffs, a brilliant red lighthouse which you and the masses can enjoy together like one big happy family.

For a mellower scene, just west of Almocageme is the Praia do Adrago. The sea was churning and the waves were depositing piles of sea foam on the beach the day we visited. Small and remote, this was one of the most beautiful beaches we saw.

For a great stop for lunch, visit Azenhas do Mar along the way. We ate at Agua e Sal which had a delicious traditional bachalau (cod) dish and shrimp salad. The town is precariously perched on the cliffs and offers a glimpse into rural life in a small Portuguese coastal town.

Praia Grande is just south of Azenhas do Mar and is, as advertised, grande. Lots of cafes and restaurants dot the roadside and you won’t be alone on a weekend day. Check it out on a weekday for a less busy experience.

One of our favorite beaches we found was Praia do Magoito. This one is hard to find (our car navigation system couldn’t even find the town) but it’s worth it. Dramatic cliffs, including one of fossilized sand as you approach the beach on the ramp, surround this narrow beach while waves crash violently along its other side. Long strips of rock point towards the sea at an angle perpendicularly like ramps running against the waves. A real find on our last day with a rental car.

We also enjoyed tooling around the park in our car checking out the little villages. Colares, a larger town than some, has a great farmer’s market we stumbled across on a Sunday and tiny Azoia (on the way to Cabo da Roca) and Malveira da Serra just past Guincho are worth exploring. Zipping along the winding N247 through farmland, up and down hilltops adorned with Portuguese windmills was a great way to wend away a few days.

Footnote: also check out my more recent post from July 2021 about my hike to Praia da Ursa. This was the one beach on our list in this area we hadn’t visited.

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