Estoril Coastline / Costa do Estoril
A short stroll from Cascais is the stylish resort town of Estoril. Located at the heart of the Portuguese Riviera, a glamorous region historically known as the summer residence for royals, nobility and wealthy ‘Lisboeatas’.
With its casino, golf courses, luxurious spas and fine dining restaurants, Estoril maintains its exclusive reputation today, however there is also plenty to enjoy for those seeking a more relaxed destination. The beautiful beaches along the Costa do Estoril, recreation activities, water sports, historic towns and enjoyable day trips provide much to explore.
The Estoril Casino
Symbol of Estoril’s golden years is the grand Hotel Palacio Estoril, and surrounding park. Built in 1930, it is known for being the home and refuge for European royal families in exile at the time of World War II. The Casino Estoril next to the hotel was also an infamous meeting point for spies and secret negotiations, which provided the inspiration for Ian Fleming to create the James Bond character and his first book Casino Royal. They also used the casino as a location to shoot the 1970s movie On Her Majesty’s Secret Service.
Famous Visitors to Estoril
Among the famous visitors of Estoril was also the king of Spain D. Juan Carlos, who came here on a voluntary exile, and many intellectuals, politicians, artists, and Jewish traders escaping the nazi regime during World War II.
The Grand Real Villa Itália hotel, former home of the exiled King Humberto II of Italy in 1946, is now a 5 star hotel featuring the Real Spa Therapy spa. Inspired by Roman Baths, you can indulge in this haven for health and wellbeing and experience their Thalassotherapy saltwater circuit. The original building of the Termas do Estoril’ (Estoril’s thermal springs) was built in the early 20th century, and the waters are known since the 18th century for its therapeutic benefits, now housing the Estoril Wellness Center and the Banyan Tree Spa.
More History of Estoril
Estoril was previously known for the several forts along the coastline which were built to defend Lisbon, and for the beautiful 16th century Retreat home of the Mendicant Order of Franciscan Friars, now the Salesian College, a private school also offering courses in Performing Arts.
The other main attractions of Estoril include the Autódromo do Fernando Pires da Silva motorsport race track, which is also used for the Moto GP championship. The area is also known as an all year round golfing destination, with five world-class courses located in the region including the Oitavos Dunes, the Quinta da Marinha, the Club de Golf do Estoril, the Penha Longa and the Pestana Beloura.
Beaches of the Portuguese Riviera
Surrounding Estoril are two very contrasting coastlines. To the east is the beautiful Costa do Estoril which stretches between Lisbon and Cascais, offering family-friendly beaches with golden sand, calmer sea and the traditional resort towns of Cascais, Estoril and Oeiras. While to the north are wild and rugged beaches facing the Atlantic Ocean.
São João do Estoril connects to the neighbouring town of Cascais by a big wall, “paredão”, offering a scenic coastal walk from Azarujinjha beach in Estoril all the way to the Conceição beach in Cascais. The promenade stretches 2750 metres, passing restaurants, decadent villas and beach coves along the way including the Praia de Rata, family friendly Praia do Tamariz and Praia da Poça along the way.
Travelling further East, going towards Lisbon you will find a coast filled with beaches, including the Praia de São Pedro do Estoril and Praia de Carcavelos offering a beautiful setting for a relaxing beach day and very popular among the citizens of Lisbon escaping the Summer heat on the weekends.
If you tire of the beaches, there are many entertaining activities and day trips around this area, exploring the dramatic scenery further north along the Atlantic Coast, the hiking trails of the Serra de Sintra hills or enjoying a wine tour in one of the vineyards in the Sintra region.