Belém is the closest to Lisbon of the three towns (about 30 minutes from Lisbon center). For less than two euros, take a toy train to the town from where Vasco da Gama sailed to India. Some of the highlights of this pleasurable place include its seaside views, clean air, and architectural pieces. Visit for example, the Torre de Belém which is famous for being the ceremonial gateway to Lisbon. Also see the beautiful Monastery of Geronimo which was commemorated for Vasco de Gama´s return. If you are on a tight budget it is ok to pass entering inside the monastery, but make sure to explore inside the building’s cathedral. Even after seeing the impressive Spanish cathedrals and churches, the cathedral here impressed me with its elaborate details and original designs. Also, don’t forget to try the famous pastels de Belém (mentioned in a previous blog).
A day in Cascais is perfect if you are looking to get a tan and some rest and relaxation. The Cascais beach is a panoramic spot to paradise in. Cascais beach is nice in that it has a long strength of clean sandy. I ended up spending my last night in Portugal in the Cascais Beach Hostel. For only 20 Euros I got a room to myself (it was low season). The hostel is centrally located, has free internet connection, an pool outside, barbecue area, cozy salon, security lockers, individual bathroom per room, and friendly staff. I highly recommend staying here if you want to spend a few days on the beach.
Finally there is Sintra. Of all the places I visited during my stay in Portugal, Sintra has been my favorite by far. It is a romantic and historical town with many picturesque spots. The town is 45 minutes outside of Lisbon, and you must change transportation twice. Yet I assure you, it is worth the trip. There are many castles, fortresses, and gardens throughout the territory. I put it at number one on my list of places to visit when in Lisbon.