Enjoy a honeymoon or romantic getaway in Estoril, a popular, upmarket resort frequented by the rich and famous on Portugal’s chic and elegant Costa do Sol.
Once the playground for World War II spies, deposed 20th century European royalty and the idle rich, Estoril continues to offer a string of attractions.
Enjoy golden beaches, luxurious hotels, fine dining restaurants, challenging golf courses, a grand casino and countless bars and nightclubs – all just a 20-minute train ride from the centre of Lisbon.
Sunbathe on the golden sands of Praia do Tamariz or head north to windy Praia do Guincho, a popular spot for surfing and windsurfing, 11km to the west. Stroll Estoril’s seaside promenade to the nearby resort of Cascais or wander through the manicured palm-lined gardens of the subtropical Parque do Estoril until you reach the casino.
Discover spectacular coastal views when you tee-off from the Quinta da Marinha course or play one of the two championship courses at the Clube de Golf do Estoril, founded in 1940 and located in the foothills of Sintra, just a five-minute drive from Estoril.
Several other challenging golf courses lie scattered in the region, including the Estoril Sol, Penha Longa and Quinta da Beloura courses. Meanwhile, tennis fans have more than 20 courts to play on at the Clube de Tenis do Estoril.
After dark, choose from numerous bars and discos found along the Praia do Tamariz esplanade and at the adjoining resort of Cascais. Or enjoy a glitzy cabaret show and try your luck at the gaming tables of Casino Estoril – one of Europe’s largest casinos and the inspiration for Ian Fleming’s 007 novel Casino Royale.
A choice of must-see attractions lie in and around Estoril on Portugal's Costa do Sol, including…
Lisbon’s bustling seaport and compelling labyrinth of cobbled streets and picturesque squares are best explored on foot. However, you may wish to tackle the steeper gradients of the city on the trams and funiculars that rise effortlessly up steep hillsides overlooking the Tejo Estuary.
Discover numerous cultural gems in this likeable city, including the moated Castelo de São Jorge, with its Moorish-built walls overlooking the medieval Alfama district, the Romanesque Sé (cathedral), the 16th century Mosteiro dos Jerónimos at Belém and Igreja da São Vicente de Fora church and its display of unique wall tiles.
Admire superb collections of ancient and modern art at the Fundação Calouste Gulbenkian and the Museu Nacional de Arte Antiga. Elsewhere, explore avenues and squares crammed with churches, museums, art galleries, chic bars, cafes, restaurants, shops and a huge choice of accommodation options.
The beach resorts of Estoril and Cascais are just half an hour away by train or car to the west, while to the south, along the Costa da Caparica, lie kilometres of sand dunes and idyllic coves near Sesimbra – an easy day trip from Lisbon. To the northwest sits the enchanting hillside town of Sintra.
Explore this magical hillside town surrounded by lush green landscape and crammed with an array of architectural gems including richly-adorned palaces, medieval monasteries and manicured gardens overlooked by a Moorish castle.
This former summer retreat of Moorish sultans and Portuguese kings has inspired millions of visitors over the centuries, including writers such as English poet Lord Byron, who extolled Sintra’s beauty in his autobiographical travelogue, Childe Harold's Pilgrimage. Sintra is listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Centre.
Admire the twin conical chimneys of the Palácio Nacional, a mix of Moorish and Baroque architectural styles begun in the 14th century and finished in the 16th, then explore the palace’s many rooms crammed with paintings and tapestries.
Visit the Palácio da Pena, a fairytale romantic palace built by King Dom Fernando II in the mid-18th century on a 450m-high plateau overlooking the sea. Then stroll through the exotic trees and plants of the surrounding Parque da Pena.
Savour panoramic vistas overlooking Sintra and the Atlantic coastline from the crenellated battlements of the hill-top Castelo dos Mouros, an 8th century castle that was besieged then captured from the Moors by Crusaders in 1147.
Tour the magnificent 19th century Quinta da Regaleira, a fusion of Gothic, Manueline and Renaissance architectural styles, crammed with antiques and mythological symbols. Don’t miss peering into the tiny cork-lined cells in the Convento dos Capuchos, built in 1560 to house 12 monks.
Come on a day trip or stay longer at one of the most luxurious hotels in Portugal – the Tivoli Palacio de Seteais. Or stay at the Penha Longa Hotel, a palazzo-style building set amid rolling hills overlooking two world-class golf courses designed by Robert Trent Jones, Jr.
Sintra is 13km from Estoril and is easy to reach by car and train from Lisbon, just 24km away.
The beaches of Estoril and Cascais are ideal if you want to stay close to Lisbon. However, for better sand, cleaner water and fewer beachgoers, head west to Praia do Guincho, north to Praia das Maçãs or south to the Costa da Caparica and secluded Praia da Adraga – ranked as one of the best beaches in Europe.
Here is a selection of the best beaches around Estoril, all less than an hour’s drive away.
(Estoril) – Promenade alongside the rich and famous on this picture-perfect, 400m-long golden-sand beach overlooked by a fairytale castle owned by the royal family of Monaco. Facilities include thatched parasols and sun loungers for hire, toilets, showers and a saltwater swimming pool.
The seafront promenade stretches all the way to Cascais – an easy 20-minute stroll – and is lined with restaurants and bars. If you plan to visit from July to mid-September, don’t miss the free fireworks display over the beach every Saturday at midnight.
Discover one of the best surfing, kite and windsurfing spots along the west coast at this kilometre-long beach edged by soft, golden sand dunes. Strong undertows make the waters here dangerous for swimmers and novice surfers. Just 11km from Estoril, there are no facilities on this beach. However you can discover a range of creature comforts at either the Hotel Fortaleza do Guincho – a grand Moorish-style hotel overlooking the beach, or at the oceanfront Estalem Senhora da Guia.
Unwind on one of Europe’s finest beaches – a 400m-long stretch of pristine golden sand surrounded by soaring black cliffs and facing clean, blue waters that swirl around a series of impressive rocky outcrops. There are no facilities here so take your own food and drink.
Hiring a car is the best way to reach this secluded spot on the west coast, lying around 12km west of Sintra and 23km northwest of Estoril.
(Sintra) – Relax on this wide but small 250m-long, family friendly beach that sits beneath a tree-covered headland and a pretty whitewashed fishing village of the same name. Sunbathe on the golden sand or follow walking trails over the headland to nearby Praia Gande.
Facilities include parasols and sun loungers for hire, showers, toilets and lifeguards. There is a range of bars, restaurants and hotels nearby.
(Sintra) – Unwind on the golden sand of this 1.4km-long beach framed by dramatic cliffs and offering excellent swimming and surfing conditions. Facilities include parasols and sun loungers for hire, lifeguards and a beachfront Olympic-sized swimming pool. A choice of bars, restaurants and hotels stand nearby. Praia Grande is 24km from Estoril and around 46km from Lisbon.
(Ericeira) – Discover one of Europe’s top surfing destinations at this wide but small 200m-long beach that nestles beneath grass-covered cliffs. This beach has hosted the pro-World Surfing Championship since 1985. Facilities include lifeguards during summer and a beachside bar and restaurant.
Follow the cliff-top path south to the village of Ericeira. Here you can stroll narrow streets lined with whitewashed and pastel-painted houses to the magnificent Palacio Nacional de Mafra, with its domed basilica and treasure trove of priceless contents, including a 40,000-book library dating back hundreds of years.
Come for a day or stay longer at the luxurious 4-star Hotel Vila Galé. Ericeira is located around 50km northeast of Lisbon and 64km north of Estoril.
Choose from several beaches that merge together on this popular 30km stretch of coast, flanked by sand dunes and towering sandstone cliffs further south.
For the best beaches with the most facilities, head to Praia da Cabana do Pescador, Praia da Morena and Praia da Sereia: all offer soft golden sand for sunbathing; clean, calm water for swimming; sun loungers and parasols for hire; and beachside bars with music, sofas and even massages.
Come for a day or stay longer at the Costa da Caparica Hotel or the Vip Praia do Sol Hotel.
Costa da Caparica offers the best beaches close to Lisbon and is located on the south bank of the river Tagus, around 17km from the city. Caparica town, which is only a five-minute walk from the beach, has a frequent bus service from Lisbon's Praça de Espanha terminal.
From June through September a small, open-air, narrow-gauge train travels along an 8km coastal route, making 20 stops at beaches along the way.
Discover a wide golden-sand beach that offers a choice of swimming in the sea or in the calm waters of a sheltered lagoon surrounded by bush-clad sand dunes. Other than a bar-restaurant, there are no facilities on this unspoiled beach. Lagoa de Albufeira is located just south of the Costa da Caparica, around 36km south of Lisbon.
Flanked by low cliffs and sand dunes, this long stretch of secluded, unspoiled beach shelves into a turquoise sea perfect for swimming. Facilities include parasols for hire, a beachside bar and a restaurant. The beach is easily reached from Lisbon by bus via the nearby village of Santana. Praia do Meco is around 40km south of Lisbon.
Sunbathe on this idyllic, 900m-long, golden-sand beach that shelves gently into the crystalline blue waters of a calm bay perfect for swimming, snorkelling and diving around the bush-clad headlands. Facilities include parasols, sun loungers and sea kayaks for hire in summer. A selection of bars and restaurants compete for trade at the west end of the beach.
Follow a hilltop path east to the tiny and secluded Praia Coelhos, then continue on around another forest-clad headland to the picture-perfect white sands of Praia Galapinhos. Together these beaches make up one of the most scenic beach areas around Lisbon. They are located around 48km away from the city – an easy 50-minute drive.
Pick your spot to sunbathe on this 2km-long beach that curves around a calm bay beneath the whitewashed town of Sesimbra. Facilities include parasols, sun loungers and sea kayaks for hire, as well as the services of lifeguards. A choice of nearby bars, seafood restaurants and hotels line the beachfront promenade. The attractive hillside village of Sesimbra is around 38km south of Lisbon.
Estoril offers a range of honeymoon accommodation options to suit all budgets, including the ornate Palácio Hotel (legendary as a retreat for exiled royalty) and the Amazonia Lennox Estoril, located in a pretty garden on a hillside just 2km from the Clube de Golf do Estoril.
The best time to visit Estoril for hot-weather activities is from mid-July to early-September, and for general outdoor activies – such as walking and hiking – the best time is during spring and autumn.
However, anytime is good to visit Estoril: the region sees little rainfall and lots of sunny days throughout the year, including winter.
Estoril has a temperate climate, with mild, wet winters and warm, dry summers.
More about Estoril weather…
Estoril is located on the west coast of Portugal overlooking Cascais Bay, around 27km (16.7mi) west of Lisbon.
The Costa do Sol stretches along a 32km (19.8mi) seafront from Lisbon to Cascais.
The most convenient route to Estoril is by air to Humberto Delgado Airport (LIS), also known as Lisbon Airport or Portela Airport, located 7km (4.3 mi) from the centre of Lisbon.
Electric trains leave from the waterfront Cais do Sodré station in Lisbon every 20 minutes for the half-hour trip to Estoril.
Humberto Delgado Airport (LIS) is located 7km (4.3 mi) from the centre of Lisbon. A frequent bus service, every 5 mins, links the airport terminal with the main downtown train station taking just 18 minutes.
Taxis and hire cars are available at the airport.
More about how to get to Estoril…
Latest update: Estoril: 18 January, 2023