Estoril has long welcomed international visitors. During World War II it acquired a glamorous reputation when Portugal's neutrality and mild weather attracted the rich and the famous, German and English spies, and European royals and aristocrats such as King Umberto II of Italy, Carol II of Romania, the Count of Paris, and Spain's Don Juan. Hollywood actor Orson Wells stayed at the town's legendary Hotel Palacio at the time, and was reportedly "stunned" by the number of kings at the hotel during his stay.
The town has since lost much of its status, but maintains a certain faded grandeur and is still a fashionable cosmopolitan playground with Europe's largest casino, tennis courts, some of Europe's finest golf courses, an automobile race track that has held Formula One Grand Prix races, and an attractive sandy beach.
The picturesque beach of Tamariz has a number of bars and restaurants, and a castle overlooking it that was owned by the royal family of Monaco.
Behind it is the casino surrounded by attractive gardens with tall palm trees. Known to give out the biggest weekly prizes in Europe, it also presents top international shows. It was also the inspiration for Ian Fleming's James Bond and Casino Royale.
The Hotel Palacio facing it appeared in one of James Bond's first films ("On Her Majesty's Secret Service") and served as a backdrop for Richard Wilson's novel, "A Small Death in Lisbon."
A pleasant beachfront promenade links Estoril to attractive Cascais passing by beaches along the way, and frequent trains connect it to Lisbon.
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