6.5km (4 miles) W of Estoril, 61km (38 miles) W of Lisbon
In the 1930s, Cascais was a tiny fishing village that attracted artists and writers to its little cottages. But it was once known as a royal village because it enjoyed the patronage of Portugal's ruling family. When the monarchy died, the military replaced it. Gen. António de Fragoso Carmona, president of Portugal until 1951, once occupied the 17th-century fort guarding the Portuguese Riviera.
To say Cascais is growing would be an understatement: It's exploding! Apartment houses, new hotels, and the finest restaurants along the Costa do Sol draw a never-ending stream of visitors every year.
However, the life of the simple fisher folk goes on. Auctions, called lotas, of the latest catch still take place on the main square. In the small harbor, rainbow-colored fishing boats share space with pleasure craft owned by an international set that flocks to Cascais from early spring until autumn.
The town's tie with the sea is old. If you speak Portuguese, chat up any of the local fishers. They'll tell you that one of their own, Afonso Sanches, discovered America in 1482. Legend has it that Columbus learned of his accidental find, stole the secret, and enjoyed the subsequent acclaim.