One of Portugal’s most luxurious locales is right down the coast from Lisbon. Discover its charm on an Estoril day trip!
Just a few miles west of Lisbon, you’ll find a stretch of coastline unlike any other. It’s known as the Portuguese Riviera, thanks to its storied past and famous residents—not to mention high property values. At the center of it all is Estoril, a haven of luxury with a fascinating history.
This seaside town is one of the country’s most coveted spots to live and vacation, boasting beautiful beaches and all kinds of events. It’s small enough to explore in one day, making it the perfect option for a day trip from Lisbon. Here’s our best advice on how to get there, what to do and where to eat in Estoril!
How to Get From Lisbon to Estoril and Back
Want to know one of the main reasons we recommend an Estoril day trip? It’s easy! You don’t need a car or even much of a plan. All you have to do is make your way to the Cais do Sodré train station, right by Lisbon’s waterfront. From there, take the Cascais line straight to Estoril—it’s that simple.
The train trip from Lisbon to Estoril takes 30 to 40 minutes, depending on the time of day, with a train leaving every 10 to 20 minutes. You can buy tickets at the station for just €2.25 each way (€4.50 round trip). Make sure you bring (or buy) your Viva Viagem card, which can be used on all public transportation in Lisbon.
What to See and Do in Estoril
To fully enjoy Estoril’s charm, it’s obligatory to spend some time by the water. Praia do Tamariz is one of the area’s best beaches, located right beside the train station. Overlooking it is the Forte da Cruz, a stately former fortress from the 17th century. This beach is a popular destination for locals and tourists alike, so be prepared for crowds, especially in summer.
Several other beaches are within walking distance if you feel like exploring. Praia da Rata is another lovely spot, just a 12-minute walk to the west of Praia do Tamariz. Heading in the other direction, you’ll find Praia da Poça and Praia da Azarujinha, two beaches that can be reached in under 15 minutes on foot. If you have the energy, it’s worth it to see them all!
An essential stop on every Estoril day trip is the Casino Estoril, located on the other side of the train station. It’s one of Europe’s largest working casinos, with state-of-the-art technology and several spaces to host concerts, conferences and various events. If you’re not the gambling type, it’s still worth a visit to admire the manicured lawns leading up to the building.
A History of Glamour and Espionage
You’ll appreciate Estoril even more once you know its history. During WWII, Portugal was politically neutral, making it an escape for many Europeans fleeing the conflict. Estoril in particular became a hotspot for high-profile figures, celebrities, royals… and spies. This contributed greatly to its reputation as a gathering place for elite members of society.
It was also the source of the Casino Estoril’s most fascinating claim to fame; it’s where Ian Fleming was inspired to write the first James Bond novel, “Casino Royale.” At the time, Fleming was working as an officer for Britain’s Naval Intelligence Division, based out of the Palácio Estoril Hotel. The people he met and the time he spent there gave him the idea for the classic character. Pay a visit to the hotel to see where it all began!
Where to Eat in Estoril
We all know that any good day trip requires a delicious meal (or several). Estoril has a few spots that come highly recommended, for both their food and their authentic atmospheres.
For a delicious breakfast, light lunch or afternoon treat, head to the legendary Pastelaria Garrett. After drooling over the display case of spectacular pastries and savory snacks, you can either order from the counter or relax at a table and enjoy the elegant ambience.
If you want an upscale spot for an indulgent meal, Cimas is a great option. Open since 1941, this historic restaurant offers traditional Portuguese specialties and refined international dishes. Alternatively, Estoril Mandarim serves some of the world’s most renowned Cantonese cuisine at its location inside the casino.
Not feeling fancy? Take a short walk away from the coast to reach Churrasqueira do Viveiro, a no-frills local favorite serving simple and delicious grilled chicken, meats and seafood. You can even grab some sandwiches to go and head back for a picnic on the beach. Whether you’re looking for luxury or just some time in the sun, an Estoril day trip will not disappoint!
Melissa first moved to Madrid to explore her interests in linguistics and communication, and quickly fell in love with the city’s culture and cuisine. She’s particularly passionate about Spanish vermouth and canned seafood, and makes it a point to drench absolutely everything in olive oil.