On WithPortugal.com, we are starting a series of articles about municipalities in Portugal where foreigners like settling so much. The first on our list is Cascais, an oceanfront suburb of Lisbon.. The first on our list is Cascais, an oceanfront suburb of Lisbon. According to the 2021 census, more than 34.000 foreign nationals lived in the municipality. This article contains practical information for those who have just arrived or are about to settle there.
Cascais is known for its beaches, a promenade that stretches for kilometers, a picturesque road along the ocean, and places to spend time for every taste and budget. There are a wide variety of restaurants, as well as discos and even casinos. Active lifestyle enthusiasts can find places to play golf, surf, sail or go horseback riding.
The municipality prides itself not only on the infrastructure it is constantly improving for of its residents, but also on its high level of security. Cascais attracts foreigners, among other things, because of the atmosphere of openness and friendliness that prevails there.
Administrative division of Cascais
In the beginning, let's define what we call Cascais. First, it is a municipality of the Lisbon agglomeration (Portuguese município) with a total area of 97.4 square kilometers and a population of 214.158 people (2021 census data).
The municipality includes 4 districts (freguesias): Alcabideche, Carcavelos e Parede, Cascais e Estoril and São Domingos de Rana. Before the administrative reform of 2013, there were six districts, as Cascais, Estoril, Carcavelos and Parede were autonomous entities. So, as we can see, Cascais is not only a municipality, but also a separate district within it.
In turn, municipal districts cover several geographically defined places that have no administrative significance. Some settlements are located in two districts and sometimes even in different municipalities.
The population density in the municipality of Cascais is almost 2.200 people per square kilometer. The share of the foreign population is 15.9%, which is quite high compared to the Portuguese average of about 5%.
The population of the municipality's districts, according to the 2021 census, is distributed as follows:
- Alcabideche - 44.102
- Carcavelos e Parede - 46.535
- Cascais e Estoril - 64.310
- São Domingos de Rana - 59.187
Assistance to immigrants
Anyone who intends to reside in Cascais temporarily or permanently faces the need to receive information support. For this purpose, there are:
- The local migrant assistance center, CLAIM, whose contacts can be found on this page.
- The Gabinetes Mais Perto Community Support Centers, which provide prompt information support and help to resolve issues related to housing, family dynamics, healthcare, transportation, kindergartens and schools, necessities, legalization, employment, and training to the best of their ability. The addresses of the centers are here.
The Português para Todos program (levels A1/A2 and B1/B2 with the issuance of a certificate that can be used as proof of language proficiency when applying for citizenship):
- Frei Gonçalo de Azevedo School in São Domingos de Rana firstname.lastname@example.org
- Centro de Formação Profissional de Alcoitão (waiting list required: tel. 215802870, email@example.com).
Portuguese courses (beginner, intermediate and advanced) without a certificate:
- SEA - Agência de Empreendedores Sociais, в Alcabideche: тел. 214605038, 961467274; firstname.lastname@example.org
- Gabinete Mais Perto do Zambujal, São Domingos de Rana, email@example.com, тел. 214815684/5
- Gabinete Mais Perto Trajouce, em São Domingos de Rana, firstname.lastname@example.org, тел. 214815670
- ARESCTires: тел. 965345562, email@example.com
- Clube Gaivotas da Torre в Cascais: тел. 214841195, firstname.lastname@example.org
Of course, there are many private schools in the municipality that teach Portuguese as a foreign language to adults. You can easily find them by searching for "português língua estrangeira Cascais" in Google.
Let's look at the 5 largest industries in each district of Cascais according to Infoempresas.jn.pt.
Cascais e Estoril
- Real estate activities — 1,347 companies
- Consulting, scientific, technical and similar activities — 1,017 companies
- Wholesale and retail trade; repair of cars and motorcycles — 790 companies
- Hospitality industry — 713
- Healthcare and social support activities — 465
Carcavelos e Parede
- Consulting, scientific, technical and similar activities — 453 firms
- Real estate activities — 404
- Wholesale and retail trade; repair of cars and motorcycles — 378
- Health care and social support activities — 302
- Hospitality industry — 299
- Wholesale and retail trade; repair of cars and motorcycles — 435 companies
- Consulting, scientific, technical and similar activities — 362 firms
- Real estate activities — 334
- Construction — 240
- Hospitality industry — 197
São Domingos de Rana
- Wholesale and retail trade; repair of cars and motorcycles — 507
- Construction — 343
- Consulting, scientific, technical and similar activities — 294
- Transportation and storage — 286
- Real estate activities — 251.
Of course, these lists should be used as an indicator of which industries are most popular in the districts, but nothing more. There is a massive variety of businesses in each of the counties, and there are probably several companies that would be interesting as employers. But how much they will be interested in immigrant workers is another question.
The Municipality of Cascais runs programs to support residents in the areas of employment and entrepreneurship. The links below provide additional information about these programs and how to contact these organizations:
- Employment department
- Bureau of Professional Integration
- Gemte, a network of organizations and companies that work together to promote training and socio-professional integration for all residents of the municipality.
The development of entrepreneurship and innovation in the municipality is managed by DNA Cascais, a non-profit association that aims to promote, encourage and develop entrepreneurship in general and youth and social entrepreneurship in particular.
DNA Cascais owns Ninho de empresas, an innovation space that aims to promote and accompany entrepreneurs and their projects in their initial phase. It is an association of newly created companies with the aim of providing them with the conditions necessary for the initial success of their business, such as a business incubator, workplace rental, an auditorium with a capacity of about 80 people, training rooms, conference rooms, reception rooms, security equipment, and parking.
You can apply for Ninho de empresas services on this page.
There are 3 forms of presence in the business incubator: physical presence in the incubator, incubator at the workplace, and virtual presence in the incubator.
Buying or renting a residence
You can get some idea of the state of the housing market in Cascais from the reports on Lisbon, which are regularly published on our portal. According to them, in terms of rental prices, Cascais is on par with Lisbon, but in terms of purchase prices, it still lags the capital.
Foreigners in Portugal usually use the Idealista.pt website to search for real estate. Currently, (October 2023), it has 812 rental ads and 4.451 ads for the sale of houses and apartments. For example, let's take a look at the cheapest options on offer.
550 euros per month
The house is 60 square meters. The plot is 100 square meters. The house has 1 bedroom and 1 bathroom. Available for rent with furniture. Cascais e Estoril neighborhood.
800 euros per month
Studio of 35 sq.m. on the first floor of the house. Bathroom, balcony, fitted wardrobes. Available for rent with furniture. Cascais e Estoril neighborhood.
Listings for sale start at 12.000 euros for the time-sharing option, i.e., the right to use the apartment for several weeks during the year. The most affordable option for sale for your own permanent residence is:
One-bedroom apartment with an area of 44 sq. m. on the first floor. Energy efficiency class C. São Domingos de Rana district.
Two-bedroom apartment with an area of 72 sq.m. 2 bedrooms, 1 bathroom. Requires renovation. Energy efficiency class E. Alcabideche district.
As we can see, the prices are not low at all, and the options for this money are far from ideal. Given the popularity of Cascais, property owners, regardless of what condition it is in, will try to maximize their profits. To find a suitable option that is worth your money, you can turn to specialists who will help you rent an apartment for a long term or buy a house or apartment.
Medicine and healthcare
There are more than 1,300 registered medical institutions in Cascais, most of which are private clinics, mostly dental. With such a concentration, it is not difficult to find a clinic close to home, wherever you live.
In this article, I will list only state institutions and the largest ones:
- Dr. José de Almeida Hospital in the Alcabideche district is the main hospital in Cascais,
- The rehabilitation medicine center is also in the Alcabideche district,
- Sant'Ana Orthopedic Center in Parede,
- Private hospital CUF in the Cascais e Estoril district.
The municipality also has 6 public polyclinics, the addresses of which can be found on this website.
Starting in January 2020, these lines will be free for those who live, study or work in Cascais and have a Viver Cascais card. Those who do not have a Viver Cascais card will have to pay 2 euros when buying a ticket from the driver, or 1.5 euros on the MobiCascais app.
To get the card, you need to prove your connection to the municipality. The card is issued under the following conditions:
- For residents of the municipality — for 2 years and is renewed upon presentation of proof of address;
- For students — for 1 year and is extended upon presentation of proof of enrollment in the course;
- For those working in a municipality — for 1 year and extended upon submission of a confirmation from the employer.
You can order a Viver Cascais card by following this link. The card can be physical or virtual. The physical card costs 7 euros and can be used when traveling in the Lisbon district outside Cascais, purchasing trips from other transport operators with it. The virtual card allows you to travel only within the municipality.
To travel outside the municipality, you can use, for example, the buses of the Carris Metropolitana network. This is a brand of the Lisbon Metropolitan Transportation Company (TML), which operates intermunicipal public transportation in the Lisbon metropolitan area. You can find out where you can go on Carris Metropolitana and plan your route on this website.
You can also get from Cascais to other cities in Portugal by bus, which this time belongs to the Rede Expressos company. The departure point is located in the Alcabideche district.
Lisbon can also be reached by suburban train. The Cais do Sodré - Cascais line operates, with trains running daily at 20-minute intervals (except for the first and last hour when the interval is 30 minutes). The route starts at 05:30 am and ends at 01:30 am (last departure from Cais do Sodré and Cascais stations).
The timetable is available on the Portuguese Railways website. A full ticket costs 2.30 euros. Travel time from the start to the end station is 30–40 minutes.
Currently, (October 2023), the railroad is undergoing repair work, so buses are running instead of trains on nights and weekends on part of the route.
You can easily reach both the center of Lisbon and Lisbon Airport by public transportation. The trip will take between an hour and an hour and a half. Cascais itself, by the way, also has an airport, but regular flights from it fly only to a few other cities in Portugal.
All Viver Cascais cardholders are entitled to free use of MobiCascais electric bicycles available at 12 bike rental stations. Activation must be performed using the MobiCascais app.
Bicycles can be rented at bike sharing stations in kiosks. Bicycles rented at the exchange stations can be used for no more than 60 minutes at a time. After 60 minutes, you can deliver the first bike to any of the stations and pick up a new one, which also cannot exceed 60 minutes. This rule is in place to ensure the rotation of users. The location of the exchange stations can be found here. The exchange stations are open from 7 am to 8 pm.
If you rent a bike at a biCas kiosk, you can use it throughout the day. Find the location of the kiosks here. The kiosks are open from 8 am to 8 pm
Bicycles and scooters from other companies (Bird and Superpedestrian) are available in several locations and have their own rates. Free use of bicycles applies only to MobiCascais bicycles.
The website of the municipality of Cascais offers a map of parking lots. To see it, you need to follow the link, select the Equipamentos e serviços section and check the Parques estacionamento box in the lower right part of the map legend.
The status of a municipality resident allows the owner to park their car in duly designated places in the territory corresponding to their place of residence without any time limit.
For each dwelling located in a restricted parking zone, up to 3 parking permits can be allocated in this zone. The status of a municipality resident is virtual, i.e., no stickers need to be placed on the car window. You can read about the conditions for obtaining the status of a municipality resident and the rules for using parking lots here, and apply for this status here.
Cascais has more than 6.000 on-street parking spaces, located in 25 parking zones and in 3 zones of the historic center. Payments can be easily made using the MobiCascais app.
Residents of the municipality can enjoy a privilege that allows a car owner to use 100 minutes of free parking per day in on-street parking zones with a limited validity period, subject to availability, and except for a number of streets. The privilege does not apply to covered parking lots. If the user has several vehicles, 100 minutes are "issued" per user, not per vehicle. Unused minutes are burned at the end of each day and are not accumulated. To use this benefit, you must be a registered Viver Cascais user and fill out an application on the website.
Covered parking lot
Cascais Próxima, the municipal company that owns MobiCascais, owns 9 enclosed parking lots, the locations of which can be found here. They have a total of 1.500 spaces. The MobiCascais app allows you to check how many spaces are currently available in each parking lot. All of them accept cash payments and some accept credit card payments.
If you want to use covered parking for a longer period of time, you can do so at special discounted prices. To accomplish this, you need to send a request to email@example.com, indicating which parking lot you are interested in and what hours you intend to leave your car there. After receiving the request, the company will assess the availability of your parking space and contact you.
Special rates for those who work in the municipality
If a person who works for a municipality wants to park on more favorable terms, they can switch to monthly payments electronically. Each person can be assigned only one parking permit on a specific highway designated for this purpose and associated with a specific vehicle.
There is no guarantee that there will be free spaces in the selected zone. In this situation, the person will have to park on another highway and pay the parking fee charged there.
The monthly cost is from 15 to 50 euros, depending on the tariff level and location. You can apply here.
There is a massive variety of sports activities in Cascais. To at least begin to get an idea of what the municipality has to offer, I suggest studying the map on the official website of the municipality.
On the right side of the map, you need to select the type and subtype of sport, in my example, these are Desportos de patins (roller skating) and Patinagem artistica (figure skating), respectively. Points with the location of sports facilities will appear on the map. After clicking on each dot, I got the name and contact information of the institution.
A similar card is available for outdoor sports activities that the municipality promotes as part of the CASCAIS ATIVO program. On this map, you need to choose both the type of activity and the month in which you want to do it. The map will show you the location of the training, where you can click to find out whether the training is paid or free and whether you need to schedule an appointment.
Kindergartens and schools
Next, I will provide information on how many public and private educational institutions are located in each district and provide links to the lists of these institutions.
Let's start with kindergartens.
Individual state kindergartens in the municipality are distributed as follows:
- Alcabideche - 4 kindergartens
- Parede -1 kindergarten
- Cascais - 1 kindergarten
- Carcavelos - 1 kindergarten
- Alcabideche - 10
- Carcavelos - 12
- Cascais - 21
- Estoril - 13
- Parede - 8
- São Domingos de Rana - 11
Kindergartens at schools
- Alcabideche - 6
- Carcavelos - 3
- Cascais - 5
- Estoril - 4
- Parede - 1
- São Domingos de Rana - 8
Secondary schools, grades 1-9 (escolas básicas)
- Alcabideche - 4
- Carcavelos - 2
- Cascais - 3
- Estoril - 2
- Parede - 1
- São Domingos de Rana - 2
- Alcabideche - 2
- Carcavelos - 2
- Cascais - 2
- Estoril - 3
- Parede - 2
- São Domingos de Rana - 2
Secondary schools, grades 10-12 (escolas secundárias).
- Cascais - 1
Secondary schools, grades 1-12 (escolas básicas and secundárias).
- Alcabideche - 3
- Carcavelos - 1
- Cascais - 1
- São Domingos de Rana - 2
- Alcabideche - 1
- Carcavelos - 2
- Cascais - 2
- Estoril - 2
- Parede - 1
- São Domingos de Rana - 1
The above lists and numbers are taken from the municipality's website. It is striking that there are more private schools and kindergartens than public ones.
There is also a fairly large list of private schools on this website. In my experience, it is much larger than the list compiled by the municipality.
There are much fewer higher education institutions in Cascais. For example, the Nova School of Business and Economics campus is located in Carcavelos, and the Escola Superior de Hotelaria e Turismo is located in Estoril. But with Lisbon practically at hand, potential students have a considerable choice.
Clubs and sections for children
You can find a lot of this in Cascais, but you will most likely have to search on Google, social media, and outside the Internet.
For example, I entered the search query "escola de música Cascais" on Google Maps, looked at all the schools marked there, and wrote down all those that had a website. I came up with 7 of them. Not a bad result, you must admit.
If anyone is looking for children's music schools, please consider using this:
You can find many other activities for children in the same way, but it makes sense not to rely entirely on the Internet, but also to ask teachers and parents at your secondary school.
Instead of a conclusion: Cascais for a comfortable life in Portugal!
I really hope that the information provided in this article will help you to quickly find your way around Cascais when and if you settle in this wonderful municipality. In addition to the huge number of links I have given before, I would also like to recommend the official website of the municipality, where you can find a lot of useful information and important news, as well as another useful website with a poster of cultural and entertainment events.
Whether you are going to settle in Cascais or in another municipality in Portugal, WithPortugal.com offers a lot of useful information.