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Neighbourhood Guide: Estoril, First Came The Spies, Then The Tourists

Neighbourhood Guide: Estoril, First Came The Spies, Then The Tourists

Estoril is just next to the town of Cascais and 25 minutes away from Lisbon, the Portuguese capital. The first thing you notice when you get to Estoril is the architecture and the surroundings. Palaces by the sea, nice century-old houses neighbouring others with sophisticated and modern architecture, and a huge Casino are just some of the things you’ll encounter here. Yes, it does look as good as it sounds!

Estoril: Land of the Spies

During the Second World War, the entire region was crawling with spies and diplomatic secrecy, turning Estoril into a cosmopolitan and sophisticated place. After the war, Fausto Cardoso de Figueiredo and his business partner Augusto Carreira de Sousa, transformed Estoril into the international tourist destination it is today.

At the time, several dignitaries and exiles moved to Estoril: Miklós Horthy, the regent of Hungary; the Infante Juan, Count of Barcelona (father of Juan Carlos I of Spain: you can see his statue and a roundabout named after him in Estoril); Umberto II of Italy and Carol II of Romania. It was also here that former Portuguese dictator António de Oliveira Salazar had a summer house.

So if you’re Greek, Italian, Hungarian or even British (two of 007 special agent James Bond’s movies were  filmed in Estoril: Casino Royale in the 50s, and On Her Majesty’s Secret Service in 1969) you can be the next VIP moving to Estoril.


Estoril in 1953
in 1953, 007 – Casino Royale, at Estoril’s Casino.

Getting around Estoril

Estoril is connected to Lisbon via the coastline railway. This line goes all the way from Cascais to Lisbon’s Cais do Sodré station, with regular services every 12 minutes. You can also use the local bus network for shorter distances, but you still have the seaside walkway. If you just want to go for a run, the “paredão” linking São João to Cascais is a nice place to do so, as it has a great view.

007 in Estoril (1969).
in 1969, 007 – On Her Majesty’s Secret Service, outside Hotel Palácio in Estoril.

Living in Estoril: rental rates

Estoril can be a little bit too expensive due to tourism. However, you can find places on Uniplaces for around €650 for a 2-bedroom apartment, which is quite affordable.

Fact sheet: Estoril

One place to eat:

Di Casa, an affordable and delicious Italian place. Try their thin pizzas or their juicy pastas! Really tasty!

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One place to drink: In the summer, you have to go to Tamariz. The most amazing Club in Portugal. It’s on the Tamariz beach and it has a super cool environment. If you’re not that into clubs, you can try a cosy bar called 1Bar.

Drinks in Estoril

One place to study: The best place to study in Estoril is definitely by the sea! However, if you want to study indoors, try going to Garret. Here you can eat some of the tastiest  pastries of the country.


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