Marvel at the rich decor of the palace and chapel, take in the bay views and visit the museum in this 15th-century landmark that has withstood the test of time.
Cascais Fortress (Cidadela Cascais) is a major historic landmark. Spend an hour or so exploring its opulent palace rooms, ornate chapel and small art and history museum.
The original 15th-century Cascais Fortress was converted to a summer palace for King Luis I and his family in the 19th century. This gave Cascais a much-needed image boost and the formerly sleepy fishing town soon transformed into a popular seaside resort. Most recently, part of the fort has been refurbished to house a contemporary luxury hotel with indoor pools and marina views.
Fortunately for those who can’t afford to stay there, the other sections of this fascinating fortress are still open to the public. Before you step inside, take in the formidable presence of the fortress. Note how the defense tower at the forefront of the building provides commanding views of the Atlantic Ocean.
Enter the fortress to visit its public viewing areas. Start with the Chapel of Our Lady of Victory, a small but very ornate on-site place of worship. Marvel at the gold cladding and level of detail in the ceiling and admire the religious ornaments and images.
Stroll to the on-site Cascais Citadel Palace to view its period rooms spread out over three floors. After Portugal became a republic in 1910, the former royal buildings were still in use but slowly fell into disrepair. An extensive renovation project that lasted 7 years was completed in 2011. Color and detail now bring the opulent rooms to life once again. First admire the reception areas and then head upstairs to see the very comfortable living quarters and private bedrooms. Note the stylishly plastered ceilings, resembling artworks with their beautiful colors and patterns.
In the citadel museum next to the palace you can browse temporary and permanent art exhibits and learn about the interwoven history of Cascais and its fortress.
Cascais Fortress overlooks the Cascais Marina and is just a short walk from the train station. There is a car park located near the entrance. There is a fee to enter the fortress, which is closed on Mondays and Tuesdays.