Our first proper trip as parents is in the books and, whilst definitely different, it was a lot of fun. We were determined to keep on traveling so, for Thanksgiving, we looked for some sun in Portugal.
We rented a villa with two other couples with kids and stayed in Cascais: a beach town 30 mins west of Lisbon. An old naval town with loads of character, it’s a great base to explore the Lisbon area. You can easily get into town on the train and enjoy the local beaches and historic sites.
From Cascais you can walk along the promenade to Estoril. A beautiful walk (3km) with superb views of the Atlantic. There are cafes along the route for a respite and you can take the train back if the little one is playing up.
We took a few trips into Lisbon and loved its European charm – packed with cafes and kiosks selling coffees and cakes and narrow cobbled alleys with hidden bars. Both times we started off at the Time Out market opposite the station, sampling as many local treats as we could stomach.
Our first real adventure was to Sintra. A pretty touristy place, but a true must see in the area. Sporting ancient fortified ruins and a Disney-style palace at the top of a hill it’s a great day out (€16). It’s tricky with a pushchair so we opted for the baby carrier. Also, the food in town is average: plan accordingly.
From there we walked uphill (you can tuk-tuk or bus it) to Pena Palace. This place is so amazingly over the top it’s hard to believe it’s real. So brightly painted, Disney’s editors would’ve even nixed these designs, but the king pushed ahead.
Cascais is also close to Guincho beach, one of the best in the country, and a very scenic coastal road links the two. There are coastal walks amongst the dunes and panoramic restaurants, but we spent our day at Bar do Guincho: a surf school with bar/restaurant which would be all the rage in Montauk.