Cascais has always been sea-oriented. Its geography with a relatively sheltered cove and the marine richness, which is due to the diversity of fish species, has given Cascais a natural harbour of refuge that became an important fishing centre. It was at sea that its inhabitants found their natural source of food and it was from the sea that this territory, which was granted the town status in 1402, got its name from. Wooden troughs, known as casqueiros, abounded on the well-known beach of Ribeira (or dos Pescadores) and served for the infusion of shells and leaves of lentiscus (a plant) in order to harden the fishing nets. Even today, this local identity associated with the fishing activity still exists.
Over the centuries, the coast between Carcavelos and Cabo da Roca was the scene of important historical events. Dozens of maritime fortifications, which are currently the brand image of the municipality of Cascais, were erected. The maritime fortresses of the former Coast of Santo António, better known as Costa do Estoril, were key elements in the defence of Lisbon and of the Tagus River shoal. There are about 30 km of coastline with a diverse landscape where people can enjoy from the beach to nature and where tourism and maritime activities have great historical relevance. Cascais, «Land of Kings and Fishermen», became part of the royal family’s holiday circuit, from 1870 onwards, thus making it one of the most beautiful and best-equipped places in the country as a seaside resort. Cascais witnessed the appearance of an exotic and ostentatious summer architecture at the beginning of the twentieth century which is now patrimony and an appreciated and striking touristic route of the town. In the thirties, the then known area as Costa do Sol was marked by a panoramic route along the coast – the Marginal Road – that connects it to Lisbon in 20 minutes. Today, Cascais imposes itself as a haven of tranquillity and beauty at the gates of the Atlantic.