Top 5 Things to Do in Estoril
Estoril, yep, it also has history
If someone mentioned movie stars, Europe’s oldest casino, Formula 1 track and championship level golf, you might think of Monaco, but you would be wrong. It’s actually Estoril in Portugal that we are talking about here.
Estoril is a small town on the coast of Portugal, only 25km from Lisbon. It’s where the rich and famous come to hang around in the summer months. However in the autumn and winter months it is a different story, and you can get a luxury hotel for a fraction of the normal cost.
Cascais, sort of big brother of Estril, is within walking distance. It offers more restaurants, cafés, pubs, and basically everything, but I still prefer Estoril; it feels smaller, cosier; and you can always walk to Cascais when you want to visit an Irish pub (which there are too many of in Cascais).
So why would you go to Estoril then I hear you asking.
And I’m glad you asked, for I have five things worth doing in Estoril.
1. Hit the Casino
This should be a no brainer; The Estoril Casino is the oldest in Europe and still one of the biggest ones around. While in the winter months the poker tables might be a bit slow, there is still plenty of blackjack and other games on the table. And when you get bored of gambling, the lounge bar has an excellent choice of cocktails; of which I can recommend most.
Casino Estoril – only photographed from outside, damn casino rules
2. Play a Round of Golf (or Nine)
Alright, so this was the reason we were in Estoril. There are plenty of excellent golf courses within driving distance from Estoril (golf pun intended), including Oitavus Dunes Golf, currently ranked as 69th best of golf course in the world.
We obviously played a round there, after we managed to find it; our navigator wasn’t very helpful. It’s an open course set on the coast, giving you beautiful view of the sunset over the sea from the clubhouse. Of course being on the coast, on a windy day it can become a nightmare even for seasoned golfers; which is one of the reasons people like it.
We were told to come back on a windier day for a more authentic experience of the course.
This is the reason I play golf – it’s a nice walk in pretty park
Sunset at the Oitavus Dunes clubhouse
3. Sea Food
As Estoril is a coastal town with harbour in Cascais, there is no shortage of fresh sea food nor restaurants serving it. So sit down in one of the places, order a bottle of house wine, some shrimps, crab and whatever else the fisherman have hauled up that day. It really offers great value for money.
Shrimps in garlic and butter, can’t really go wrong with that
4. Take a Stroll on the Beach
Imagine it’s a warm summer day; you’re walking down the beach boulevard from Estoril to Cascias. You can feel the heat of the sun on your face as your eyes take shelter behind your shades. There are thousands of people on the beach, enjoying the sun and the cooling sea.
Now imagine it is fifteen degrees colder, with nobody laying down on the soft sand. I mean, it’s November, I don’t know what we were expecting. But if you go during the summer, it is going to be quite a different experience.
Cold beer at the beach is always nice, no matter what the weather
5. Pastel de Nata and an espresso
This is Portugal after all. So it would be wrong not to have the famous cream egg tart with an espresso at least twice a day. I mean, it’s less than two euros; and that’s what you do here, you sit around cafés waiting to hit the casino later.
Pastel de Nata with an espresso… I could do this every day
During off season it’s not going to be the most vibrant of places, but if you are looking for a place to stay during a late golf holiday, you could do a lot worse. Or if you just want a relaxing weekend getaway but don’t quite fancy the country side, then Estoril might be a good choice.
Nearby Cascais is also worth the visit
What’s your favorite place in Portugal?