Estoril Travel Guide
Beach House © Osvaldo Gago
Sixteen miles (26km) west of Lisbon is the trendy resort town of Estoril, a cosmopolitan holiday destination with a promenade along three narrow coarse sandy beaches, luxury hotels, championship golf courses and some excellent restaurants. During World War II exiled royalty from all over Europe took refuge here and whiled away their time gambling in the Estoril's casino, which is one of the largest in Europe. The town is also known for its summer handicraft fair, and the nearby Estoril Autodrome, which draws motor racing enthusiasts.
Shopping is limited in Estoril, mainly confined to mini-market grocers serving the locals with a few craft shops and vendors along the beachfront. Souvenirs are available but for a real shopping spree while on holiday, visitors have to head for the large Cascais Shopping Centre a few miles away.
The Estoril resort has a modest selection of restaurants serving both local dishes and international fare, but most tend to be rather upmarket and expensive. There are some laid-back cafes around the casino, and casual eateries along the promenade. For a superb dining experience one cannot beat the Four Seasons in the Palácio Hotel, Rua do Parque, where the gourmet menu extends from sole meneure to wild boar cutlets. An excellent fish restaurant, next to the casino, is the Costa do Estoril, a good place to indulge in the Portuguese favourite codfish.
The main drawcard after dark in Estoril is the famed casino, which not only caters for gamblers and slot machine addicts, but also offers a flashy cabaret show. When it comes to clubs and pubs, the options are better in nearby Cascais.
Besides the beaches (which can become very overcrowded in summer) Estoril is not short of things to do while on holiday. It is particularly well equipped for golfers, and therefore draws plenty of visitors who enjoy the old, established championship golf course. Tennis has also put Estoril on the map, its annual Tennis Open in April having ensured that the local tennis club offers plenty of state of the art courts, which guests can enjoy. There is a music museum to browse through in the town, and boat excursions on offer. When Estoril's attractions start to pall, visitors can enjoy a walk along the esplanade to Cascais to see what is happening in this lively neighbouring resort.
Estoril is a sedate seaside destination, not suited to children or young party animals.