Cascais has a privileged position, benefiting both from the open sea Atlantic beaches and from the healthy and fresh air from the neighbouring Serra de Sintra. Its vicinity to Lisbon, gave Cascais the role of maritime guardian of the capital. During the Spanish occupation in parts of the 16th and 17th centuries, Cascais was given several defence fortifications by king Filipe of Spain. After we regained our independence, this work continued, namely with the building of the Cidadela, still an important place in the centre of the village. In 1755, Cascais was almost completely destroyed by the giant earthquake. In 1834, it took a heavy blow with the extinction of the religious orders and, some years after, with the displacement of the army of the Citadel, Regimento de Infantaria 19.
From 1859, with the construction of the roads connecting Cascais to Oeiras and to Sintra, the village starts to grow. But the decisive turning point will be the year 1870, when our king D. Luís elected Cascais as its beach resort. From then on, the royal family arrived in the September and stayed till November, in the Cidadela. With the king, came the nobility and the rich bourgeoise. Besides bathing in the sea, the royal family loved to hunt, namely in the area of Guincho.
In 1889 was launched the first stretch to Pedrouços from the railway Cascais-Lisbon.
In 1940, with the construction of Estrada Marginal (the scenic view road to Lisbon) and of the Casino, Estoril and Cascais became luxury tourist destinations. Portuguese neutrality during WW2 brought thousands of refugees and exiles looking for a safe place. Between the more illustrious are the count D. Juan de Battenberg and Bourbon (father of the Spanish king Juan Carlos), king Humberto II from Italy, Carol II from Romania, archdukes from Austria and Hungary and the Danish royal family. Estoril and Cascais became a rendezvous place for spies from both sides mingling in luxury hotels, like the Estoril Palácio.
Still preserving its roots as a fishing harbour, Cascais is today a very coveted tourist destination and a very pleasant place to live in. And the ideal place to enjoy your Cascais Genial Picnic, filled with local products and treats.
Stroll the narrow streets of the old village of Cascais, up and down. You will never get lost; the place is small and charming. Enter the old stores, such as the haberdashery Marilene or the Drogaria Costa (a mix of hardware and general store). Visit the churches (Igreja Paroquial de Nossa Senhora da Assunção, Igreja de Nossa Senhora dos Navegantes e Igreja de Nossa Senhora da Misericórida, The chapel or Ermida de S. Sebastião, from the 16th century). Take time to enter the museums: Casa das Histórias Paula Rego (with a fine collection of paintings by this world famous Portuguese painter), Museu do Mar Rei D. Carlos I (where you will find the history of all traditions connected with the sea), the Museu do Palácio da Cidadela (Fortress Nossa Senhora da Luz de Cascais where our kings spent part of the summer), Museu Conde de Castro Guimarães). And finally stop at the beach dos Pescadores or in the Parque Marechal Carmona and enjoy your Cascais Genial Picnic. If you feel like enjoying the open air and the sea, take your Cascais Genial Picnic to the beach: Along the road to Guincho you have several, all beautiful and wild, beaches. The road takes you to the final Praia do Guincho, but you can go further to Praia da Adraga