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guincho, praia
©Ana Luzia

The best water activities in Cascais

Surfing and kitesurfing, boat rides and sailing lessons, here are the 10 best water activities to do in Cascais

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In a land bathed by the Atlantic Ocean, where even in the winter it feels good to dip your feet in the water, there is no shortage of water activities for the most adventurous. Surfing and kitesurfing, boat rides or sailling lessons, here are 10 ideas to navigate the waters in Cascais.

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The best water activities in Cascais

1. Sup-Paddle Board Ocean Activities

Sport and fitness Cascais

The calm sea of the first beaches along the Cascais “Paredão” - Conceição and Duquesa - may bore wave-riders, but it delights the fans of stand-up paddle (SUP). The technique is easy to learn; then you just have to rent a board, put on a vest, grab the oar, climb on top of the board and practice your balance. But where do you get the board? Meet Dimitar, owner of SUP board company Ocean Activities, a fixture of Conceição beach for a few years. He rents boards at prices from €10 (30 minutes). “We offer some tips, teach customers how to interpret the conditions of the sea, but the main thing is balance”, he says. If you want to join a big group of buddies for a ride, just make a booking and Dimitar will provide the necessary boards.

2. Beyond Boards

Sport and fitness Cascais

Beyond Boards is a SUP board rental business, with classes for those that may need a bit of help. Individual or group lessons must be booked in advance. Once on the board, move away from the beach (safely) and view Cascais from the ocean, getting almost to the fishing harbour and to Ribeira beach - experienced paddlers will venture farther, of course. But there’s more: Beyond Boards has SUP Yoga lessons (€20/ session), which are exactly what you’re thinking: yoga on top of a board in the middle of the ocean. Their site (www. beyond-boards) has a lesson schedule, but you can also make advance bookings.

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3. The Blue Room

Things to do Sport events Cascais

If you’re a surf fan, you will have heard the name Frederico Morais, better known as Kikas, one of the current top Portuguese surfers. The Blue Room is the brainchild of Morais and two of his friends, all of them Cascais natives. Teaching surf, particularly to kids (as young as six years old) is its main mission, but The Blue Room goes beyond a traditional surf school. Here, according to a manifesto of sorts posted on the school’s site, the goal is to “develop the human being, showing all the good sensations this sport has to give, encouraging a healthy lifestyle, the feeling of sharing and giving all the tools necessary for each student to take the most out of every wave”. There’s individual lessons, groups lessons for two to five people and a family experience pack, for parents and children. The school also organizes corporate events.

4. Moana Surf School

Sport and fitness Cascais

Cascais is one of Portugal’s (the world’s?) great surf destinations, and national and world championship events are staged here every year. It’s inevitable that we mention some more schools where you can learn to surf. One of the top ones is Moana Surf School, with a team of multilingual teachers who bring surf to people of all ages, from those who never stepped foot on a board to advanced learners. The school presents itself as a great family with many talents: besides surf lessons (individual, group, family, corporate, all formats), you can also learn how to kitesurf, book fishing boat trips and more. They even have a Flexiplan modality, with a full day of activities, not all of them seabound.

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5. Carcavelos Surf School

Sport and fitness Cascais

And as for surfing in Cascais, you can’t ignore one of the most popular surfer beaches, Carcavelos, with its long sand strip and almost always perfect waves. Carcavelos Surf School is one of the oldest and most important schools there. It has surf lessons for all ages; the school also organizes surf vacation camps and kids’ birthday parties for ages six and up - so they can take up the sport early - where they can learn all they need to get started.

6. Kitesurf Adventures

Sport and fitness Cascais

It is time to recognize a fact about Cascais: it gets windy - Guincho Beach, in particular, is tricky for lying in the sun unless you brought a wind shelter. But look at this from the glass- half-full perspective, as did the people running Kitesurf Adventures, one of the biggest kitesurf schools in Greater Lisbon, whose headquarters are in - guess where - Guincho Beach. You can start with a two-hour kite primer or go deeper and sign up for a 10-hour course, whose final lesson takes place inside the water (the 10-hour course normally lasts three days, but it all depends on the weather). The price includes gear and insurance.

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7. Cascais Naval Club

Sport and fitness Cascais

First of all, happy birthday to the Cascais Naval Club, celebrating its 80th anniversary in 2018 as one of the largest sailing schools in the country, with a prize location in Cascais. The club also has a special needs sailing school for people with reduced mobility, and hosts several regattas throughout the year. Here are two of their departments for you to dive in: Mirpuri Foundation Sailing School and Diving Lessons. Mirupi Foundation has Summer Camps - week-long intensive camps, Monday to Friday, between June 18 and August 31 (every Monday, a new camp starts) - for kids, teens and adults. And the diving lessons are for every level - you can get your OWDs (Open Water Diver) for beginners or advanced learners, you can have freediving and apnea lessons, or you can just go for your first dive.

8. São Nicolau Boat

Sport and fitness Cascais

A boat ride in Cascais is one of those experiences everyone should enjoy at least once in their lives. São Nicolau Boat is one of many companies in town doing boat rides: two hours along the coast, or four hours to get to Estoril, all the way to a full day’s trip to Lisbon. Pick your package, your time slot, the food and drink on board (optional), pray that conditions are favourable, and set sail. It will be an unforgettable ride.

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9. Dolphin Explorers

Things to do Cascais

The name says it all: a boat ride company that takes you to see dolphins, the beautiful cetaceans that swim close to Cascais. The ride is on a board a rigid inflatable boat, departing from the Marina. The boat, captained by a knowledgeable skipper, hugs the coast for about two hours until it finds dolphins. If you get lucky, you might encounter other friendly species. Besides dolphin expeditions, you may also do some fishing for half a day.

10. Dreamboats

Things to do Cascais

This suggestive moniker embodies the company’s goal: to fulfil the dreams of those who climb on board a boat in Cascais. Dreamboats has sports fishing boats, sailing ships, yachts and a catamaran with a capacity of up to 50 people; the company organizes romantic trips, groups trips and anything else you might want. The full menu is available at www.dreamboatsportugal.com, just pick the program you want.

Have fun in Cascais

parque marchal carmona
Fotografia: Inês Calado Rosa

Free things to do in Cascais

Things to do

Let's be honest here. There is nothing better than being able to head out town without breaking bank. So don't worry too much about setting budgets yet, there are many ways of exploring the city without spending one euro. It seems that the best things in life actually do come free - in Cascais at least they do. Whether it be going to museums or enjoying beautiful landscapes. There is a bit for everyone.

Vila de Cascais
Fotografia: Ana Luzia

30 reasons to fall in love with Cascais

Things to do

Firstly, congratulations for choosing to explore such a heavenly destination. Welcome! Prepare to discover a historic town where once kings and aristocrats lived, and which is now the home of people who like to live well and unhurriedly. Before learning what will make you fall in love with Cascais, a warning - you may end up feeling like cancelling your return flight.

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casa de santa maria
Fotografia: Arlindo Camacho

The best way to spend 48 hours in Cascais

Things to do

Cascais is the perfect gateway from the chaos of the city. It is not too far, and has beautiful landscapes. The further you move way from the city the more nature you see. And if your thing is to lay all day under the sun Cascais got you covered. If you want to relax over a nice cup of coffee or sitting at the table at a great restaurant, Cascais is the place to be. If you are more into art, on the other hand, Cascais a whole neighbourhood dedicated to it. If you are looking into something a bit more adventurous, then you've also come to the right place. Either way, there is plenty to do in just 48 hours in Cascais.

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