Portugal’s rich culture is reflected strongly in its arts and crafts. Shopping for original mementos to take home as to remind you of your trip or as gifts for friends and family is one of the most enjoyable elements of visiting the Lisbon and Cascais region, as is exploring the many museums and galleries on which prime examples can be found on display. Cascais and the surrounding area provide many possibilities for finding fun and interesting crafts and works of art in a variety of shops, market stalls and galleries.
Portugal has earned a reputation for certain popular crafts such as lacemaking, embroidery, weaving, painting and woodwork, as well as ceramics of course, for which the country is perhaps most famous.
Many visitors venture no further than the boutiques and shops that line the main shopping street of Rua da Raita. The Rua da Raita is a pleasant, pedestrianized walkway is the main shopping area for Cascais town itself and makes a good place to start, but there are plenty of hidden gems to discover besides. Head to Linhos on the Rua da Saudade for some wonderful examples of high-quality, hand-embroidered nightgowns, bedlinen and tablecloths. The Portuguese value children perhaps more than all else and as a result there is some wonderful hand-made children’s wear to be found here too – again, Linhos stocks a lovely selection.
Explore the area around the Igreja de Nossa Senhora da Assunção in Cascais Old Town for some lovely hand-painted, hand-made ceramics in modern and traditional styles. The Igreja de Nossa Senhora da Assunção is located towards the west of town on cool tree-lined square and is surrounded by a jumble of independent art and craft boutiques.
Ceramicarte is one of the best-known destinations for buying ceramics in Cascais. Visit this combined gallery and shop to view and buy some unusual pieces with a modern twist and to enjoy the temporary exhibitions of work from visiting ceramic artists and sculptors that the workshop showcases from time to time. Ceramicarte is located right on the square of Largo da Assunção.
Markets are amongst the most fun and rewarding places to hunt for art, crafts and antique bargains, whether you head to the daily Municipal Market or a specialist market that visits the area only once or twice a month. The Municipal Market is worth a visit for hunting out some attractive ceramic pieces and basketware, as well as simply to admire or sample the colourful fruit, vegetables and freshly baked goods.
The Praça de Touros on Avenida Pedro Alvares hosts a visiting market on the first and third Sunday of each month and offers many artisan goods for sale.
Central Cascais Antiques Market is the place to be on Wednesdays when all the antique dealers in the region gather together to showcase their collections of coins, books, paintings, period furniture and so on. The Antiques Market takes place at Jardim Visconde da Luz, Cascais. Further along the coast at Casa da Guia on the Estrada do Guincho is another antiques market held at the weekends, again featuring collectables such as ornaments, paintings, furniture and accessories.
One of the highlights of the summer season is the Estoril Handicrafts Fair. The Estoril Handicrafts Fair is the oldest craft fair in Portugal and takes places during July and August at the FIARTIL, in the area in front of the Estoril exhibition and conference centre. This is very much a family event, with live entertainment every night including fado, folk dancing, singing, jazz, samba and bossa nova along with a range of food stalls serving delicious snacks from all over Portugal by day.
The crafts fair is the perfect place to pick up some unusual handmade pieces not just from the local area but also those hailing from coastal, highland and inner city areas from the far corners of the country.
One of the primary stops for art lovers in Cascais is the Viragem art gallery. Viragem has been established in the town for several decades and showcases exhibitions and works for sale by many local, national and international names. Check in the tourist information centre or contact the gallery for details of forthcoming exhibitions during your stay.