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Why Cascais, Portugal is the Best Wellness Destination for Solo Travelers

Once a quaint fishing town, Cascais is a gem of the Portuguese Riviera, just over an hour's bus ride from Lisbon’s Campo Martires Patria station.


Feb. 27 2024, Published 12:18 p.m. ET

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What drew me to this city is the balance of culture, beauty, slow living and affordability, making it the perfect destination for wellness solo travelers. International sporting competitions to look forward to in 2024 include the Ironman Triathlon, the Estoril Tennis Open and the highly anticipated, Chefs on Fire food and music "boutique" festival. It is one of Portugal's most sustainable events, showcasing the city's dedication to green living and a healthier environment.

I truly enjoyed the essence of slow travel—everything from lounging on the beach and strolling through the historic center, to its legendary fresh seafood. Cascais is all about healthy living and offers multiple solo activities that blend swimming, surfing and cycling. It offers a serene sanctuary for holistic retreats, healthy dining and invigorating sporting events; all grounded in a firm commitment to sustainability.

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What to Do


My favorite beaches included Praia da Conceição, one of Cascais' largest golden-sand beaches, located a short 6-minute walk from the Cascais train station. I liked that I could rent paddle boards, bike boats or grab a bite at La Brisa Bar, which serves some amazing seafood (vegetarian-friendly and vegan options available). For my dose of vitamin D, beach bed rentals were available for 20-25€ per day (get there before 10 am to beat the crowds). Praia da Duquesa (just a few steps from Cascais City Centre) is well-maintained and surrounded by ice cream shops, bars and an absolutely beautiful spot to watch the sunset. I’ll warn you though that the water gets really chilly.

To capture Instagram-worthy shots of popular attractions, head inland from the beach and walk through the beautiful Old Town. Explore Cascais’ lovingly restored fortress and Cidadela Art District; visit the Boca do Inferno (a set of rock formations known as the "mouth of hell"), and climb to the highest point in Cascais at the Santa Marta Lighthouse. The breathtaking panoramic views here do not disappoint (it gets windy at the top, so I would recommend that you bring a light sweater).

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Where to Stay

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The Hotel Cascais Miragem Health & Spa, a 30-minute drive from Lisbon’s international airport, and 15 minutes from the village of Sintra is definitely my favorite luxury stay in Cascais - ask for a lavish room to indulge in the dreamy view of Estoril and Cascais Bay. You can reach Sintra in 30 minutes by bus, and it only costs 2-4€. The journey in a taxi or an Uber if preferred will take roughly 15 minutes. To relax, head to the water lounge, unwind with some Turkish bath treatments, or dip in the third-floor infinity pool for breathtaking views over the Atlantic.

For a budget-friendly option, consider The Salty Pelican Surf + Yoga Hostel; this surf and yoga hostel offers dorm and private rooms. It's conveniently located near Monte Estoril train station, which is just a 25-minute ride from Lisbon, and offers yoga, surfing, meditation and stand-up paddleboarding classes.

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Where to Eat

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A must-try local speciality is octopus. Visit O Pescador Restaurant, where the seafood is sourced from local fishermen. Although there is no bar seating, it's a great spot for solo travelers who prefer their own space. The seafood paella is my personal favorite. For other options of authentic Portuguese cuisine that won't break the bank, consider dining at Cantina Clandestina and Nicolau Cascais, where prices typically range from 15-25€.

When to Go

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The ideal time to visit Cascais is May through September when the weather is most favorable, during the spring or early summer, before the peak tourist season.

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