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Quinta, Pedagógica, Armando Villar, Cascais
©Ana Luzia Quinta Pedagógica Armando Villar

The best things to do with kids in Cascais

Cascais is a great place for families to visit. From the land to the sea, from nature to music, here are 18 suggestions for entertaining the children

By Editores da Time Out Lisboa
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Just 30 minutes from Lisbon, the Cascais coastline has wonderful beaches, good restaurants (especially fish restaurants) and even a museum district that you can walk around and learn as you go. And don’t worry if you have to bring the kids too. There is no shortage of things for the little ones to do in Cascais at any time of the year: educational farms, parks, more or less extreme activities, museums and swimming... lots of swimming. The hardest part will be getting them in the car, because it will just be a brief sample: there will be much left for the family to discover.

The best things to do with kids in Cascais

Ohficina
Ohficina
©DR

Putting the senses on alert at OHficina

Kids Active events

OHficina’s nickname is Laboratório de Materiais Improváveis (Laboratory of Improbable Materials), and kids can work with these materials in this former greenhouse in the Parque Marechal Carmona, which has been transformed into a playroom for children of all ages. But playtime is serious, since the project is focused on education, environmental sustainability and art. “Our raw materials are the things some people throw away. The idea is to give these materials a new lease of life and to show people that they can always make something from rubbish,” Maria Peres, one of the project’s founders, told Time Out. OHficina is open to the community and schools on some weekdays, and has a specific programme at weekends.

Parque, Jardim, Parque Palmela, Arborismo
Parque, Jardim, Parque Palmela, Arborismo
©Gabriell Vieira

Canopy circuit at Parque Palmela

Attractions Parks and gardens

Located between Cascais and Estoril, Parque Palmela was built at the end of the 19th century on the orders of the Dukes of Palmela. At that time it hosted many festivals, and the tradition continues with concerts, plays and dance shows in the Lopes Graça Auditorium. While the programme is currently suspended, the park has a canopy circuit and a fitness circuit to encourage participation in outdoor sports. For some serious fun, visit the Pedaços de Aventura site and book in advance. Another way to entertain the little ones is a big game of hide-and-seek – although this runs the risk of not finding them (errr...).

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Marina de Cascais, Praia, Mar, Castelo de Areia
Marina de Cascais, Praia, Mar, Castelo de Areia
©Duarte Drago

A walk through Cascais Marina

Attractions Public spaces

Cascais Marina is located in the bay with the same name, just five minutes walk from the historic center of the village, with pedestrian access via the Passeio Maria Pia or through the main entrance of the Marina. With a privileged geographical location, it is a mandatory stop for all types of recreational boats, the stage for major international events and a noble space for welcoming, leisure and comfort to all who pass through there.

Jubilo Carrossel, Jardim Visconde da Luz, Cascais
Jubilo Carrossel, Jardim Visconde da Luz, Cascais
©Joana Freitas

Jump on the Visconde da Luz Gardens carrousel

Attractions Parks and gardens

This lovely park, right in the heart of Cascais, has for a number of years had a rococo-style carrousel worthy of a fairy tale that lights up at night. It has horses, hens, baskets, an elephant and even a carriage, which is ideal for parents with babies. Needless to say, the Jubilo Carrousel, as it is known, is here to stay and is open every day. There are children who love this ride so much, their parents swear that with the money they’ve spent on it they could have bought it for themselves by now.

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Desporto, Aulas de Surf, Green Wave Cascais
Desporto, Aulas de Surf, Green Wave Cascais
©Green Wave

Surfing lessons

In a town beside the sea, with waves so famous that it has always hosted surfing competitions, it makes sense for the kids to get on a surfboard for some surfing lessons. Green Wave Cascais is a newcomer to the area, but it has done excellent work with children of all ages... including grown-ups. As well as surfing lessons, either private or in a group, it also offers stand-up paddle lessons and takes people hiking in the Serra de Sintra.

greenwavecascais@gmail.com, 91 053 3638

Praia, Estoril, Praia da Azarujinha
Praia, Estoril, Praia da Azarujinha
©Manuel Manso

Go swimming

Miles and miles of sand for fun and games, with no timetable and no entry fee. There is very rarely a green flag allowing lengthy swims off the beaches at Guincho, but the beaches themselves are the most beautiful in the area, and the waves invite surfboards, windsurfing and kitesurfing. On the Line, it is difficult to decide which beach, from Conceição to Azarujinha, to place your towel on. From the Paredão, the best way to choose is: “Eenie Meenie Miney Mo!”

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Quinta do Pisão, Actividades, Passeios de Burro
Quinta do Pisão, Actividades, Passeios de Burro
©DR

Take a donkey ride at the Quinta do Pisão

Attractions Farms

Consisting of 380 hectares in Sintra-Cascais Natural Park. What Quinta do Pisão has to offer children who enjoy nature is not to be sneered at. There are horses, sheep, woolly donkeys and other wild animals, including rabbits and partridges. You can go there and pick your own food, learn more about the area’s flora, go for walks, take a bike ride, or even hire a Segway. What’s most important is to go.

Museus, Museu do Mar D. Carlos I, Cascais
Museus, Museu do Mar D. Carlos I, Cascais
©Joana Freitas

Learn everything about the sea

Museums Natural history

The Museu do Mar Rei D. Carlos is one of the town’s most interactive museums, which can keep the kids entertained for a good two hours. It is not only dedicated to studying the Cascais fishing community, but the art of fishing as a whole, including the species that swim in the open oceans and on the seabed – with impressive life-size models of whales and sharks – as well as the history of molluscs. A wave of learning, if you will

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Museu da Musica Portuguesa, Casa Verdades de Faria, Monte do Estoril
Museu da Musica Portuguesa, Casa Verdades de Faria, Monte do Estoril
©Facebook/Casa Verdades de Faria

Discover the music in every child

Museums Music

The Museu da Música Portuguesa – Casa Verdades de Faria, located in a grandiose house from the beginning of the 20th century, is the right place to stimulate the little ones’ taste for music. The collection takes you on a journey through all kinds of musical instruments, within a house lined with tiles that also tell a story, which can be told on guided tours. In addition, the garden is one of the best places in town to play hide-and-seek, it allows picnics and dogs on a leash, and it is free.

Quinta, Pedagógica, Armando Villar, Cascais
Quinta, Pedagógica, Armando Villar, Cascais
©Ana Luzia

Explore the Armando Villar Educational Farm

Kids Active events

So your children don’t grow up thinking eggs come from the supermarket and not from hens, you should take them on a visit to the country’s first organic educational farm. Here they can learn about windmills, visit vegetable gardens, orchards and herb gardens, feed farm animals and help the staff as they tend to the livestock. There are a number of workshops you can sign up to during the holidays, so you need to keep your eye on the schedule of activities.

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Skate, Park Gerações, Cascais
Skate, Park Gerações, Cascais
©DR

Glide in style at the Parque das Gerações

Attractions Parks and gardens

The Parque das Gerações is sought after by those who like adrenaline but are not expecting a hostile environment. It is increasingly popular with families and also with lots of girls who are becoming interested in skateboarding. And it doesn’t matter if you have no experience, because the best athletes on wheels, as well as those who are new to the sport who can barely balance on their boards, are all welcome here.

Jardim, Passeios, Actividades, Parque Marechal Carmona, Cascais
Jardim, Passeios, Actividades, Parque Marechal Carmona, Cascais
©Duarte Drago

Play in the open air in the Parque Marechal Carmona

Attractions Parks and gardens

The people of Cascais will run to the beach as soon as the sun comes out. But there’s more to the Cascais Line than sea and sand: the Parque Marechal Carmona is also a good place to go on sunny days. It has large lawns, lakes, romantic strolls, a forest with huge trees and a children’s play area in three sections (one for each age group). Ducks, chickens and peacocks wander without fear, waiting for the food their keepers don’t allow people to give them. You might also find them snooping around your picnic basket – so be warned.

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Playbowling de Cascais
Playbowling de Cascais
©DR

Have a party at Cascais Playbowling Centre

Kids Playgrounds

Not just bowling: you can also play laser tag, paintball, bazooka ball, bubble football, try archery or minimoto4 or go horse riding. And if you’re not sure what any of these are, we can help. Bazooka ball is similar to paintball, except the “bullets” are small foam balls that don’t hurt when you’re hit; minimoto4 is for the little racers who can ride small motorbikes while being accompanied and trained by a monitor (with helmets, of course). There is also another, rosier option: Playprincess. And let’s not forgetting the sport after which the centre is named: the art of knocking down bowling pins. 

Biblioteca Infanto Juvenil, Parque Marechal Carmona, Cascais
Biblioteca Infanto Juvenil, Parque Marechal Carmona, Cascais
©Joana Freitas

Get a book from the library

Attractions Libraries, archives and foundations

The Biblioteca Infantil Juvenil (Children’s Library) is in the idyllic Parque Marechal Carmona, right in the heart of the town. It has a vast range of Portuguese-language books you can borrow, and to keep up with the growing foreign community living in Portugal there are also books in English and other languages, for children of all ages. In addition, there is also a play area for babies that also has cardboard baby books.

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Miúdos, Actividades, Pedra Amarela Campo Base
Miúdos, Actividades, Pedra Amarela Campo Base
©DR

Explore the Pedra Amarela Base Camp

Kids Active events

The Pedra Amarela Base Camp, in the heart of Sintra-Cascais Natural Park, is the place for all our readers with an adventurous spirit. Here you can camp in a safe place, go on the zip line, hire bikes to ride the mountain bike course, go abseiling, try archery, follow the canopy trail and also go rock-climbing. It is the perfect place for that energetic child at home, as well as for the mini-environmentalist and the romantic who only wants to wander and wonder.

Compras, Miúdos, Loja, Boque Feliz, Cascais
Compras, Miúdos, Loja, Boque Feliz, Cascais
©DR

Fill your playroom with toys from Bosque Feliz

Kids Sales

Only those in the know can find it easily, but there is an enchanted forest in Cascais that is well worth looking for. Bosque Feliz is full of books, toys and dolls, perfect for your playroom. Alternative pedagogies Waldorf, Pikler and Montessori have a special place on the shelves, as do products made from sustainable and environmentally-friendly materials.

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Miúdos, Actividades, Anima Park
Miúdos, Actividades, Anima Park
©DR

Be entertained for hours at Anima Park

Kids Active events

Just make sure the kids are wearing non-slip socks so they can enter a world of colourful games. At the new Anima Park in Cascais you will find an indoor canopy trail, a climbing wall, a zip slide, a float slide, trampolines and video games to keep the kids entertained. Do you think that will be enough to tire them out? If not, there is also a 175 m2 play area full of obstacles, a labyrinth and slide; and a miniature town with a garage, a supermarket and a kitchen where the kids can pretend to be grown-ups. For the parents there is a lounge bar overlooking the play area, complete with a pool table, pinball machine and petiscos (tapas).

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