Stunning azure water, yachts gliding through the breeze, gated multi-million dollar estates balanced delicately above the sea. A place to aspire to, a place to be seen, Sintra's neighboring municipality of Cascais, is where Lisbon's high society spends luxurious summers and weekends.
What was once a small fishing village and summer vacation destination for the Portuguese Royal family was transformed in the 1930s when a casino was built. Perhaps you've heard of Casino Royale, as in Ian Fleming's James Bond novel? The book was based on this casino which subsequently turned Cascais into a playground for Portugal's high society and other European elite.
Portugal managed to remain neutral during WWII and as a result received many European exiles, particularly from Spain and Italy. In Casais, these former monarchs built sprawling seaside estates riding out the war in seaside luxury. With the beautiful weather and casinos, Cascais became Europe's new riviera.
Today, Cascais is full of luxury resorts and homes. Elaborate golf courses sit at the base of mountains, encircled by palm trees.
The descendants of the Portuguese aristocracy still call Cascais's 5th Quarter home.