The latest James Bond film just premiered last week, making this the perfect time to visit his birthplace in Lisbon. You may not know it, but James Bond is really Portuguese. That character came to life when its creator, author Ian Fleming, was enjoying the sun in the Lisbon Coast, or more specifically in Estoril.
When Fleming stepped into the casino of Estoril and saw himself surrounded by spies from all over Europe, together with European nobility and aristocrats, he was inspired to write Casino Royale. At that time the Lisbon Coast was the resort for those looking to escape the tragedies of World War II, as neutral Portugal provided the peace and the sun they were looking for. Thatâ€™s when the then quiet seaside villages of Cascais and Estoril boomed with tourism and became the cosmopolitan playgrounds they still are today.
The casino is still there and still has its title as Europeâ€™s largest. Across the street is the beach of Tamariz, overlooked by a castle that belongs to the royal family of Monaco. Walk west along the boardwalk and youâ€™ll arrive in Cascais, where other fine aristocratic mansions now coexist with hotels welcoming those wanting to experience a little sand and the sea, to go together with all of the cultural attractions in Lisbon only a short train ride away.
While these autumn and winter months are not exactly inviting for a stroll through the beach, Cascais and Estoril are refreshing destinations at any time of the year.