Travel writer Tommy Walker, aka the Wandering Walker, has spent the last six years travelling the world. In his latest article, he visits Cascais, in Portugal to see what’s on offer.

GIVEN the recent surge of snowy weather in the UK, I think it’s best to chat about warmer climates at the moment. Whether you’re one who looks out of the window at the snow, dreaming of sunnier climes, or you’re at work looking forward to that next holiday, we all deserve and need a sunny break at least once a year.

The Northern Echo: RESORT: Cascais comes highly recommended

RESORT: Cascais comes highly recommended

One place to consider, that I had the pleasure of visiting late last summer is Cascais in Portugal. As far as summer holidays go we’re no strangers to the Latin countries in Europe. Portugal, like Spain has been one of our go-to destinations for years. While Cascais certainly falls into the bracket of having a warm destination fairly nearby, this resort city isn’t as well known, as it should be.

And that’s exactly why you should visit.

About a 45-minute journey away from capital Lisbon, Cascais has a bunch of things to do. From some small yet pretty beaches, natural rock formations, a busy marina, a medieval old town and historical attractions, it’s difficult to get bored. I visited last year on a rare trip with some family members and it was a perfect getaway in many aspects. In comparison to other notable hotspots in Portugal, like the ever-popular Algarve, Cascais is more quaint and quiet. Whilst some holiday resorts destinations can certainly feel like a place with too much alco-pop, Cascais is more the fine wine hotspot.

Some of us decided to sit by the beach and just lie enjoying the sun, sand and sea. Just to note, the main beaches (that are essentially joined) are Praia da Conceicao and Praia da Duquesa – Praia meaning beach in Portuguese. The water is cool but a delightfully dark turquoise colour that you can dip your toes in or go for a refreshing swim. With the old town just behind, this is where you’ll probably put your feet up first.

Praia da Rainha gets my vote though. It’s not exactly a secret but with its enclosed setting it feels more a secluded beach spot.

There are a couple of historical sights to check out around town such as the Palace of Cacais Citadel and the Lighthouse Museum of Santa Marta, amongst others. I decided for a little more adventure and hired a scooter from Scooter na linha. I rode around for complete freedom, including up to Cabo de Roca, a rugged headland cape once thought to be the end of the world by the 14th Century.

Back in town, the Mercade da Vila (Vila Market) is a popular option for locals and travellers alike. On one side is a row of mini cafes with outdoor seating perfect for a quick pint. On the other, is a frantic collection of market stalls and tables selling everything from fresh seafood to the most succulent of green olives to cured meats. If you want to cook for yourself whilst you’re holidaying here, this really is the place to do your shop.

Eating out is part and parcel of any trip though, and in Cascais centre there’s a few great options to choose from with indoor and outdoor seating restaurants. The Portuguese love their sardines, so don’t be surprised if that’s a popular choice as a main. Rather than served in tins or in your sandwiches, these sardines are cooked and on your plate wherever you go – they are quite the dish! For home comforts head to the John Bull for a old-English British themed restaurant. With too many restaurants to recommend, on our last night across from the Centre Square we chose Restaurant Martimo, a small, quirky spot with character. Highly recommended!

For TripAdvisor bucket lists, and Cascais’s #1 attraction. Boca do Inferno (Hells Mouth) is a unique rock formation cave that has emerald pools within its jaw. Gorgeous for a view on sunny day, you might find yourself wandering here more than once – I did.

Essentially, Cascais is an alternative getaway. It doesn’t have the bling that other known resorts may have created over the years, but with plenty to see and do it might be worth taking a trip here for your next summer break. Remember, travel with an open mind. Every new place is a good place.