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Anyone been to Estoril or Cascais in Portugal?

(27 Posts)
littlestar Tue 06-Jun-06 11:11:11

The west coast of Portugal has been recommended to us as a nice, not-too-hot place to take our 15mo DS at the beginning of July. Has anyone else been? And can you recommend anywhere in particular to stay (we don't mind whether it's a hotel or self-catering)?
Our dream would be somewhere all-inclusive with a creche but our budget won't stretch to Mark Warner prices unfortunately!

thorntons Sat 10-Jun-06 18:03:49

Hi littlestar .I have stayed in Cascais .Really lovely ! Sandy beach .Nice shops and reataurants. Only a 40 min train ride from Lisbon too which is great .We stayed at Hotel Albatroz which is lovely
Not cheap but lovely, hotel . Would recommend website for accomodation recommendations. Have a fab time wherever you decide to stay

chocolatequeen Mon 12-Jun-06 22:00:07

ooooh, my area of expertise!!! I LIVE HERE!!!!

It´s great, especially for kids. Can be hot though, although has a nice breeze to cool it most of the time. Beaches in Cascais are calm watered, but busy. Beaches outside are Atlantic (obviously) and very exposed, not very good for swimming, although are beautiful, clean and long.

Perfect place to stay is called Vila Bicuda - like a small holiday village with small houses with all mod cons. It´s lovely, beautifully done, not touristy at all (even the ex pats take a while to find it). It has a little supermarket, the best coffee and cake shop in the world, a paper shop that sells all the brit papers, and a lovely italian restaurant. It also has a creche, where you can leave your DS for a few hours, half a day, all the time, whatever you like! We used Vila Bicuda as a base when we moved here, and still go there often for coffee and cakes. Has a lovely pool too and a playground. It´s about 10 mins outside centre of Cascais, easier with a car but a bus stops there every 30 mins i think, or taxis are pretty cheap. I have a feeling they have a babysitting service too (if not, let me know and you can borrow our english speaking one!)

In Cascais itself, there isn´t much going really - lovely town, but for places to stay it will tend to be room only no swimming pools or kids clubs. Hotel Baia is very central and relatively cheap, Albatroz more expensive.

Penha Longa is fab, but very expensive I think. Where Posh and Becks stay. And flashy to boot.

For villas and stuff, try

Areas around Cascais that are nice are Estoril, Mont Estoril. Sintra is lovely but not near the sea.

Antyhing else you want to know, I can help!


littlestar Tue 20-Jun-06 14:25:25

Thanks Chocolatequeen (great name, by the way!) I have only just read your message. Vila Bicuda looks amazing but I don't know if our budget will stretch. I will look into the other places you have suggested and I will definitely come back to you if I need more info! x

ggglimpopo Tue 20-Jun-06 14:28:16

Message withdrawn

BudaBabe Tue 20-Jun-06 14:46:41

Hey chocolatequeen - heading to Cascais on Thursday and will be looking at Vila Bicuda with a view to buying there! Staying with some friends and meeting up with another friend who already owns in Vila Bicuda - small world!

chocolatequeen Wed 21-Jun-06 21:39:56

Oooh, it´s a small mumsnetty world isn´t it!! Am going to be doing the secret mumsnet sign!! Budababe, you must let me know if you do buy - are you coming permanently or just looking for a holiday home? Hope you have a successful trip - will keep an eye out for you tomorrow......!

ggg - think we must be leading parallel lives, have strong connections to SW France, spent all of my school holidays there from the age of 7, my parents now live there permanently. Near Bergerac/Marmande way - how about you? Only realised when I saw you on the thread about formula.....

littlestar, I think another place that maybe worth a try is the Eden Aparthotel in Estoril - good location, nice pool I think. Think that´s the place I´m thinking of. Near a lovely little park too. Will ask around for more ideas too.

Try googling casa de cascata - further north, but looks lovely, self catering, quite cheap, cute pool. Don´t know the area at all, but have it bookmarked for us for a weekend away. think it´s on the website, under rentals. Maybe a bit out in the sticks though.

chocolatequeen Wed 21-Jun-06 21:41:14

Estoril Sol is derelict. Very sad, as very funky building. Due to be revived though, so living in hope.....

littlestar Thu 22-Jun-06 07:49:17

Thanks chocolatequeen, I think we are about to book Vila Bicuda as it's on a par price-wise with most of the hotels we have looked at, and seems to have a bit more to offer. Thanks for telling me about it, I don't think we would have found it otherwise.

Any recommendations of places to go, things to see etc would be much appreciated - I'm getting really excited!!!

littlestar Thu 22-Jun-06 10:37:21

ooooooh, chocolatequeen... I've just checked out Casa de cascata and it looks lovely - and it seems to be available. I'm now a bit torn between that and bicuda. I guess bicuda slightly has the edge for being closer to the beach and having amenities, although we will have a hire car all week. Which one would you choose?

chocolatequeen Thu 22-Jun-06 13:54:38

On balance, I would say Bicuda - I don´t know the area round Cascata very well, but think it is probably rural and quiet. I think Vila Bicuda is probably better, especially if it´s your first time in Portugal. Also will be more of a holiday if you can get childcare, babysitters etc etc. Mind you, Cascata will be more peaceful, not so many people around. You´ll love Vila Bicuda though.

Things to do: Guincho beach is lovely, big and sandy. Market on a Wed and Sat mornings is lovely, cheap gypsy clothes at the back on a Wed, great things very cheap! Nice chicken and chips place in centre of Cascais called Dom Manolos, very friendly, good with kids. Chicken and chips and salad for about a fiver, great for lunch. The Marina is fantastic, has nice indoor play area open all day which is usually deserted. Friday mornings is the expat group morning at the play area. Nice restaurants in there too, all very child friendly. Very busy though at the weekends.
Cascais park is opposite the entrance to the marina, probably one of the best parks in the world!! Beautiful big yellow house/museum in it, worth a quick wander round, duck ponds, fountains, rose gardens, sandy play area, safe floor play area, lots of grass and trees, cute cafe. Great for kids, very clean and safe and nice.
Further afield, Sintra is a must - fabulous town high in the hills, castles to see. Take sweaters though - it can be 35 degrees in Cascais and covered in cloud and wet in Sintra - has this wierd micro climate thingy......
Mafra is fantastic too if you like architecture/culture. Beautiful monastery churchy thing worth seeing, about an hour in the car I would think.
Lisbon - you must do Expo98, fabulous with kids, lovely for buggy pushing, lots of nice restaurants to eat looking out at the river.
Belem - an area of lisbon, again big church with lovely park in front of it, and a very famous blue tiled custard tart shop.
Trams in lisbon are fun, but tricky with a buggy....
We´re away first week of July, what dates are you here, maybe we could meet up?
Will add things as I think of them!

littlestar Fri 23-Jun-06 12:59:05

Thanks chocolatequeen, I would love to meet up! We will be there for a week from Saturday 8th July. I have just booked Bicuda as Cascata was already booked anyway, and I think it has everything we are looking for. It sounds like there are lots of things to keep us busy, and we get to meet a fellow MNer into the bargain!

Shall I CAT you my details? I've never done it before so am not really sure how it works.

chocolatequeen Fri 23-Jun-06 13:30:55

ooh, this is so exciting!!! Don´t know how to CAT, haven´t done it before either..... Will have a look and try to send you my details, if it doesn´t work, see you back here!

Not usually on MN much over the weekend, but will keep checking in!


chocolatequeen Fri 23-Jun-06 13:47:04

just checked the CAT thing, am now registered but need to pay, will go and find card.....

chocolatequeen Fri 23-Jun-06 13:47:08

just checked the CAT thing, am now registered but need to pay, will go and find card.....

littlestar Fri 23-Jun-06 19:55:16

I think I might be registered if you want to CAT me, although I don't recall ever paying anything...

chocolatequeen Mon 26-Jun-06 14:28:29

Sorry littlestar! Back again after weekend, haven´t been on much and still haven´t done the CAT thing. Will do it tonight when boys in bed!

chocolatequeen Mon 26-Jun-06 20:38:25

Not accepting card. Do you want to try to CAT me and see if you can do it?

treacletart Mon 26-Jun-06 20:56:55

<sigh!> we spent our honeymoon here
in Sintra. It overlooks a beautiful valley and the Pena palace

swedishmum Mon 26-Jun-06 21:14:10

What a lovely place to live! Stayed here with dh on business a few years ago and he was called away - still a great place on my own with 3 kids. V friendly fish restaurants on the coast.

littlestar Tue 27-Jun-06 12:31:14

Hi chocolatequeen, I have just CAT'ed you - let me know if it works x

chocolatequeen Thu 29-Jun-06 21:31:24


It worked! (will my wonder at technology ever cease....). Have replied this afternoon. x

BudaBabe Sun 09-Jul-06 06:43:03


We had a lovely time. Ended up looking at lots of properties - no decisions just yet. It would be an investment/holiday home.

Visited a friend who has a house in Bicuda - it is a lovely resort.

Went to Sintra on the Sunday but didn't have much time. Looking forward to going back again and exploring some more.

Hope littlestar is enjoying herself! She should be there now I think.

chocolatequeen Tue 18-Jul-06 21:43:06

Are you all back safe and sound littlestar?

Sounds like it´s hotter there than here at the moment.....


littlestar Wed 19-Jul-06 20:57:34

Yes thanks, back safe and sound and sweltering in the stifling London heat! Our return trip was very quick and easy and I had Sunday to wade through piles of laundry before going back to work and reality on Monday.

Thanks again for all your advice chocolatequeen. The accommodation was perfect, I can't remember when we stayed anywhere so spacious, well-equipped and well looked after. We had a perfect mix of chilling out by the pool, lazing on the beach (not quite so successful!) and some interesting day trips - particularly Sintra, which we loved. I'd definitely recommend Bicuda to anyone with young children.

It was lovely to meet up with you, it has confirmed my opinion that mumsnetters are a great bunch! Thanks also for lending us your babysitter, it's hard to believe that almost a week ago we were sipping cocktails and watching the sun set over the sea (sigh). Let me know next time you're in London and we can get together for coffee & cakes

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