This former fishing village ('Kush-KAISH') has been tuned in to tourism since 1870, when the royal court first came here for the summer, bringing a train of nobility in its wake. It's now the liveliest beach resort on the Estoril Coast, attracting a young and international crowd.
For a hint of Cascais' former life as a fishing village, head for the fish market, between Praia da Ribeira and Praia da Rainha, where an auctioneer sells off the day's catch in an unintelligible rapid-fire lingo.
The atmospheric back lanes and alleys to the west of the câmara municipal (town hall) are also worth exploring. In a shady square southwest of the câmara municipal is Igreja de Nossa Senhora da Assunção, decorated with azulejos predating the 1755 earthquake that destroyed most of the town.
For exciting waves head to Praia do Guincho, 9km (5.58mi) northwest of Cascais. This long, wild beach is a surfer's and windsurfer's paradise with its massive crashing rollers. Beware of the strong undertow which can be dangerous for swimmers and novice surfers.