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Guincho beach in Cascais, Portugal
Guincho beach in Cascais, Portugal
Guincho beach in Cascais, Portugal

Cascais, Portugal

By Betsy Burlingame

Last updated on Sep 05, 2022

Summary: Expats, digital nomads and retirees talk about what it is really like living in Cascais, Portugal. They offer advice about meeting people, cost of living, finding a home and more.

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What do I need to know about living in Cascais?

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When we asked people what advice they would give someone preparing to move to Cascais, they said:

"Don't live in the old town unless you want to deal with an influx of tourists in the summer. Be aware that housing is expensive. Get involved with clubs and organizations as soon as you can. Be aware that living here may spoil you because it's so beautiful and wonderful," added another expat who made the move to Cascais .

"After basic research using internet sites, so you understand the cost of living and ease of speaking English, spend time here--two weeks or so--before making any commitment. Renting for a few months or longer is most common and affords the flexibility to try other towns, as the life style varies quite a bit between city and village or rural life. This is not a dirt-streets beach town; it is historic, relaxed, casual yet chic," explained one expat living in Cascais, Portugal.

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How do I meet people in Cascais?

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When we asked people living in Cascais about club and activities where newcomers can meet others, they responded:

"International Women in Portugal, Women's Royal Volunteer Service and Royal British Club," commented one expat who made the move to Cascais .

"Americans in Portugal ( and on facebook) offers social activities to mark the US holidays and some informational meetings on taxes or similar topics during the year; International Women in Portugal is also helpful on a broad basis related to settling in," remarked another expat living in Cascais, Portugal.

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Will I be able to find a job in Cascais?

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When we asked people about industries and career opportunities in Cascais, they reponded:

"Tourism is quite a large industry. As I'm retired and generally know mostly retirees, I don't know how most people find jobs," commented one expat who made the move to Cascais .

"Tourism is the major industry across Portugal. Jobs are posted at the facebook site "Job Opportunities in Cascais" as well as at restaurants or shops seeking help. International teachers are also in demand and Cascais is close to the NATO headquarters. Housecleaners and nannies / babysitters are often requested. Due to the economy and bureaucracy, it isn't easy for a foreigner to come here and start a business--yet there are many who've accomplished that," remarked another expat living in Cascais, Portugal.

What is life like in Cascais?

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When we asked people living in Cascais what life is like and how people spend their time, they said:

"All of the things you mention. There is a wide range of social activities and sports but a lot of young families with children. The city provides many fun activities and festivals during the year," explained one expat living in Cascais , Portugal.

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What do expats in Cascais appreciate most about the local culture?

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"The slower pace of life, the rich history, the kindness of the Portuguese people, lack of guns, safety, frequent farmer's markets and heritage festivals (pre-Covid-19)," said another expat in Cascais .

"Kind, helpful and genuinely friendly Portuguese people. The beautiful and, mainly, pristine beaches, forests, villages, towns, rivers and ocean," added another expat who made the move to Cascais.

What do expats find most challenging?

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"Pace of life and government bureaucracy. Pace of life is easy to adjust...slow down and enjoy. When dealing with government agencies just be prepared for extreme bureaucracy," said another expat in Cascais.

Is there a lot of crime in Cascais?

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We asked people if there is a lot of crime. They answered:

"Really no crime to speak of in this area. There are some reports of pickpocketing in the downtown, touristy areas, but very few. Lisbos also has some pickpocketing and other tourist crimes, but it's rare to hear of more serious crimes being committed," added another expat in Cascais.

"Little crime in Cascais. in Lisbon there is a fair amount of pickpocket crime but only in certain areas," remarked another expat who made the move to Cascais.

Is there a lot of diversity? Are people in Cascais accepting of differences?

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"The city is definitely racially diverse. Not certain about religion. The cultural activities are pretty focused on the Portuguese culture, which is appropriate IMO. They are accepting of immigrants and expats in my experience but I am not a minority so can't speak to that," commented one expat who made the move to Cascais .

"Portuguese are intrinsically accepting of others, so they embrace diversity. They respect American, British and Scandinavian persons highly among foreigners; they will not embrace 'Gypsies' but won't go out of their way to disrespect them. A good size foreign population lives here, representing all of Europe, South Africa, Asia, Middle East and South Americans," remarked another expat living in Cascais, Portugal.

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What are the schools in Cascais like?

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"Go and visit; it might not be for you if you are against your child learning the Bible. We are Christians, so we like that. There are many other non-christian families though that appreciate the good morals that are encouraged here," remarked another parent with kids at International Christian School of Cascais in Cascais.

What are the pros and cons of living in Cascais?

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Expats, digital nomads and retirees living in Cascais responded:

"We love Cascais. We can get into Lisbon in about 30 minutes...so we have all the culture we could hope for. The city has dozens of museums, and concerts are also available in Cascais and Estoril only a 4-minute train ride away. We live in Centro so we are just a 6-minute walk from the Mercado da Vila where we get fresh vegetables, fruits, eggs, and fish for a lot less than in the states. Also, the quality of the food is so much better! Once you have a fresh egg from a happy hen you can never go back to the supermarket fare we were buying in the states. Though we live in the "city" it Is very safe and clean. (except for dog poop) and we are just minutes from the beach. We love our 1-2 hour walks on dedicated paths that run along the beach. Cascais also offers many benefits to residents ...like free use of the 31 bus routes. We also bought a discounted train pass because we are over 65. Finally, this is an easy place for an American with limited Portuguese language skills to land as nearly all of the population speaks English," mentioned another expat living in Cascais.

"Cascais is that unusual combination of a picturesque village and vibrant community, a mix of old and new architecture, of cultures, of nationalities and ages. Museums, parks, concerts and restaurants attract us night and day, along with international sailing and equestrian competitions almost all year long. We have single men and women, a welcomed LGBT community, students to seniors who mingle and form life-long friendships.," said an expat in Cascais.

"Love the location, beauty of the city, sea, etc. Love that it's so easy to assimilate without knowing the language. Very easy to meet people and make friends. Pre covid - lots of fun activities sponsored by the city of Cascais and in Lisbon. Public transport is great here in Cascais and in Lisbon. Train is easy and inexpensive to get between the cities. Lots of cultural activities here and even more in Lisbon. Good medical services with English speaking doctors. Love that Cascais is small enough to get acquainted with shop keepers and restaurant staff and owners. The climate is quite good a significant portion of the time. Easy to fly to other parts of Europe inexpensively and quickly. Lots of places within Portugal to explore. The seafood and wine. Movies and TV programming in English. Portuguese people are welcoming and tolerant of expats. Shopping at the Mercado for fruits and veggies - and fish, is great. Fruits and veggies taste so much better than in the States. The city of Cascais goes to great effort to keep the city clean, flower beds fresh and everything looking beautiful. Free bus service for residents. Negatives - in normal times the tourist density is bad during the summers. Women's clothing that I like is very scarce. Vitamins and minerals are very expensive. OTC medications are only sold in very small amounts," remarked another expat in Cascais.

What type of social life can someone expect in Cascais?

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When we asked expats and global nomads about their social experiences in Cascais, they replied:

"It is a difficult issue for me since I am an introvert and love to stay home. But I can say Portuguese are very friendly and welcoming. They are optimistic, positive people, and have a great History as people. I love being here," said one expat living in Cascais.

"Since we arrived on 31 Dec 2020, we have been in lockdown for most of the time. However, we have found people to be very friendly and expect our social life will improve shortly," mentioned another expat inCascais.

"A thoroughly international community where English is the common language. We plan cocktail hours, coffee mornings, have clubs for every interest and also just gather serendipitously in the normal course of a day," commented one expat who moved to Cascais, Portugal.

"Portuguese are always willing to help, and the majority knows English enough to keep a conversation," mentioned another expat living in Cascais.

"It is impossible not to be friends with the local Portuguese--they rather 'adopt' us and help us resolve any type of issue. We are a well integrated mix of natives and immigrants," said an expat in Cascais.

What advice to expats in Cascais have about housing?

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"Rental opportunities abound...but at some point, your age prompts you to want a secure spot for 'the rest of your days'. That means you need to buy," remarked another expat in Cascais.

What are medical services in Cascais like?

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When we asked expats and global nomads about the quality of medical care in Cascais, they replied:

"Public care is available to all...it's just slower and more crowded. Easily affordable private care is like 5 star service," mentioned another expat inCascais.

About the Author

Betsy Burlingame Betsy Burlingame is the Founder and President of Expat Exchange and is one of the Founders of Digital Nomad Exchange. She launched Expat Exchange in 1997 as her Master's thesis project at NYU. Prior to Expat Exchange, Betsy worked at AT&T in International and Mass Market Marketing. She graduated from Ohio Wesleyan University with a BA in International Business and German.

Some of Betsy's articles include 12 Best Places to Live in Portugal, 7 Best Places to Live in Panama and 12 Things to Know Before Moving to the Dominican Republic. Betsy loves to travel and spend time with her family. Connect with Betsy on LinkedIn.

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Guincho beach in Cascais, Portugal

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Get a Quote

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