Exterior of Artsy Cascais, Cascais, Portugal

Artsy Cascais
Cascais, Portugal


A charming fishing town on the outskirts of Lisbon, Cascais is an essential stop for the in-the-know traveller. It’s a mere twenty-minute drive or train ride from central Lisbon, but feels a world away from the urban hustle of the historic capital. As for the best place to stay in town? That title might just go to contemporary-cool Artsy Cascais.

In pretty Cascais, you’ll find calm and tranquillity by the beaches and cliffs. You’ll stroll past historic buildings and have fish freshly caught from the Atlantic, which laps the shore. Arguably the coolest place to base yourself during your stay is the appropriately named Artsy Cascais.

We found it a short walk from the town centre, across the street from a citadel with perfect views of the bay. A 19-room boutique hotel with a beachside location, Artsy sets its stall out early with a name like that – and it doesn’t disappoint. Inside there are cool neutral palettes jazzed up by striking art pieces, which makes for a beautiful blend between creative expression and a luxurious feel. History, art and modernity collide here, and the hotel even has its very own scent, a blend of orange, burnt wood, basil and cedar, created by renowned ‘Sensorialist’ Lourenco Lucena.

We had our check-in over tea in the library full of the kind of hefty art and photography books you wish you had a house big enough to collect.

The hotel is comprised of a refurbished 19th-century palace and a new modernist building featuring a mottled exterior by famous street artist Vhils. Light pours through the gaps in the piece, illuminating the bedrooms. Ours was in the modern section of the Artsy Cascais. To access it, we took a winding central staircase, which impressed us with high ceilings and plenty of natural light. A large, well-stocked bathroom with a monsoon shower led to the bedroom with floor-to-ceiling windows and a large, Chromecast-enabled flatscreen TV.

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While you’re Out There
Try some nozes, a local confectionary made from walnuts with a glazed coating, from Bijou de Cascais. Then do your best to burn it off at the outdoor gym near Casa da Guia. Excellent tapas are also available, at Taberna Clandestina. We ate right on benches on the street as the night was in full swing… great for people-watching and eavesdropping.

The rooftop is small but perfectly laid out, with a pool more for cooling down than swimming lengths, and sun loungers to get away from the crowd and chill out or have a drink from the honesty bar.

Service was very good with helpful, local staff, who are happy to organise historical tours, wine tastings, boat trips and more (and you should most certainly take them up on the offer!).

The restaurant, Art, offers Portuguese specialities with an emphasis on seafood from Chef Daniel Estriga cooked in sight in its open kitchen. We had the king crab tortellini and the pork cheeks with eggplant salad. This being Portugal, the wine selection was also expectedly excellent. As for breakfast, we had this in the room and a la carte – a fine spread of fresh fruit and yoghurt, granola and pancakes.

Turn right out of Artsy and there’s a beautiful 17-minute walk along the bay to Boca do Inferno, a rocky cliff face where tourists gather, buskers sing and waves crash far below. Even closer but in the same direction, there’s a perfect, serene bathing spot overlooked by a footbridge from which we saw some teenagers jumping somersaults into the green waters below. Spend an afternoon here sunning yourself on the rocks before cooling yourself off with a swim. This gives an excellent view of the beautiful architecture along the coast, including the striking and eclectic Museo Condes de Castro de Guimarães.

A left turn from the hotel takes you directly into the town centre, where bustling bars and restaurants populate a central village square. When we were there, a jazz guitarist played and sang into the night. 

In a town where tourist numbers are growing annually, Artsy Cascais is a much-needed stylish addition to the local scene and the clear standout in the area when it comes to high-end travel. If you’re going to be in Lisbon at all, a visit to Cascais should be high on your list – especially now you know where to stay, as well.


Photography courtesy of Artsy Cascais

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