Breathe in Cascais’ Nature


From the long-list of attributes given to Cascais, its natural beauty is clearly at the top of everyone’s mind.

With the Atlantic Ocean bathing its coast and the luxurious mountains of Sintra as neighbour, you’ll surely find all you need to live nature at its fullest.

Discover everything the Sintra-Cascais Natural Park has to offer you.

Sintra mountains are located on the western foremost point of the European mainland and its location and dimension encloses the councils of Sintra and Cascais. This was the main reason why its more than 14.500 hectares were considered for the project of the Sintra-Cascais Natural Park Project.

Throughout the park, besides being able to find evidence of a rich historical and architectonical heritage you will also be connected with its diverse fauna. Around the forest and different micro-ecosystems, it is common to find different species such as foxes, genets, moles, salamanders, pilgrim hawks, vipers or even other species of scaly reptiles. If you just got a little bit apprehensive with the idea of these possible encounters, don’t worry, none of these species are deadly. In fact, it is more common for them to avoid meeting us!

If you are a fond of mushrooms, you’ll be happy to know that here you can find one of the largest concentrations of different mushrooms’ species – 156 species to be precise – 17 of which where registered for the first time here in Portugal.

Sintra’s typical climate is seasoned by strong Atlantic influences, with higher rainfall than the surrounding areas. On the other hand, the high humidity index is a key element in ensuring the continuing presence of Sintra’s unique and luxurious vegetation. Sintra-Cascais Natural Park counts with around 900 species of autochthonous flora, including the oak, cork, the stone pine and other 10% of endemic plants.

Due to its rare beauty, biodiversity and privileged geographical location, Sintra-Cascais Natural Park is the ideal place to be involved in nature. Along our path, we are challenged to find some ecologic and architectonical treasures while being continuously amazed by unexpected nooks where we can take a look at the surrounding landscape, moulded by the tough Atlantic temperament and, in some cases, through the careful hands of people who populated this area with exotic species.

One of the best ways to unveil every secret and treasure of this Park is by following its walking trails, especially designed to allow nature lovers to enjoy the park while being ecological responsible.

Now, picture yourself following this same trail. Picture yourself gathering a group of friends or family and going together for a bird watching event, or to find out more about the mountain flora, the coastal fauna or even dive into the history and architecture of its magical and nearly mystical spots, hidden within the green, dense vegetation. We have an amazing thing to tell you: yes, it is possible! Just find out how with this short story.

Once upon a time, a manager, who was also a teacher, together with an entrepreneurial marketeer decided to turn their hobby into their job. As unconditional fans of nature, mountaineers and walkers with many years of experience and thousands of stories and adventures, both decided to leave their past professional paths to commit 100% to the one activity that fulfilled them most. This was how Walk Hike was born, back in 2013. Teresa Oliveira and Francisco Mendonça are the faces behind this project. Their mission? To allow all of those who enjoy walking to discover more, and enrich their knowledge about the surrounding cultural environment. Walk Hike,not forgetting some innovative proposals that had been developing over the years, is mainly focused on developing tailor made programs, according to the characteristics, interests and goals of each group. This factor allows the participation of everyone, from children, with smaller routes, yet very diversified and didactical from the environmental education point of view, to more experienced groups of walkers looking to spend a full day crossing trails while understanding more about the architectonical heritage of this Park and its historic and cultural context.

At Walk Hike, the motto is loving the nature. The goal depends on your interest. The limit is each person’s physical capability.

Above anything else, what drives Walk Hike is the ambition to provide each and everyone with unique, enriching experiences without loosing sight of the environmental footprint, the respect for fauna, flora and heritage sites visited during the trails.

If mother nature is calling you and if getting in touch with her is part of your life philosophy, then you shouldn’t miss the opportunity to get to know Sintra-Cascais Natural Park a little deeper.

Consider yourself challenged to this adventure. Walk Hike, helps you take the least crossed path and go beyond yourself. Put some comfy clothes on, some walking boots and come over. Take and deep breath and enjoy!

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By Margarida Brito | Text and Photography











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