advertisement

Parque Estoril, in the center of town, is a well-manicured landscape. At night, when it's floodlit, you can stroll amid the subtropical vegetation. The palm trees studding the grounds have prompted many to call it "a corner of Africa." At the top of the park sits the casino, which offers gambling, international floor shows, dancing, and movies.

Across the railroad tracks is the beach, where some of the most fashionable people in Europe sun themselves on peppermint-striped canvas chairs along the Praia Estoril Tamariz. The beach is sandy, unlike the pebbly strand at Nice. Although it is a lovely stretch of sand, we don't recommend going into the water, which is almost too polluted for swimming. You can enjoy the sands and the beach scene, but for actual swimming, head to one of the many hotel pools in the area.

Tamariz draws more gay patrons than any other beach in Portugal, although the beach in general has a little bit of everything. The gay section is easy to discern; as one beach buff said, "It's easy. Just gravitate to the section with the most pumped-up bodies."

To the east is São João do Estoril, which also has a regrettably polluted beach but many handsome private villas. Most visitors go there to dine and dance.

Note: This information was accurate when it was published, but can change without notice. Please be sure to confirm all rates and details directly with the companies in question before planning your trip.