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Casino Estoril is the largest casino in Europe, so for that reason alone, if you can’t make it to Las Vegas or Macau, it is worth a visit. Just don’t expect Las Vegas or Monaco. It is what it is!
It is a big and impressive gambling hall that is spread over 2 floors- the biggest casino in Europe. There are 1000 slots and video games on the ground floor plus table games including roulette. We couldn’t find any tables that offered the “En Prison” or the “La Partage” rule (when the ball lands in the zero pocket you lose all of your “even-money” bet rather than half).
You don’t need ID for the ground floor, but you will for the first floor where there is a large private gaming room. There are 4 restaurants and a couple of bars up here, and the food and service is pretty good. Plus, you’ll see some live music later on.
If you go as part of a tour exploring Lisbon and the surrounding coastline, it makes a great trip. We wouldn’t JUST go to the casino, but it’s worth doing as part of a tour of the area.
Estoril is to Portugal what the Cote de Azur is to France- a holiday spot that the rich and famous have traditionally flocked to on the Portuguese Riviera. Exiled royalty moved here during World War II, and the famous Palácio Hotel was known for royalty spotting. The list included famous Hollywood actors and European nobility such as the Count of Paris, Romania’s Carol II, Don Juan of Spain and Italy’s King Umberto II, all benefitting from Portugal’s neutral status during the war.
It is located at the mouth of the River Tejo surrounded by elegant villas, luxury hotels and high end bars and restaurants.
The Hotel Palácio, built in the 30s, is a famous landmark and shares backs onto palm lined park with the Casino de Estoril: the Central Parque do Estoril.
The casino offers plenty of entertainment in addition to the tables including concerts, cabaret, dancing and art exhibitions. You might recognise the casino if you have seen the Bond film, On Her Majesty’s Secret Service.
In fact, during the World War II the casino was a favourite haunt for spies where they used to carry out secret negotiations and scandalize the locals- the casino is said to be the inspiration for Ian Fleming’s first James Bond novel: Casino Royale.
The casino looks a bit tired in daylight to be honest (from the outside at least). It looks better at night- the fountains in front of the hotel light up. It’s not quite the Bellagio, but it does look pretty.
Both Estoril and nearby Cascais are an excellent day trip from Lisbon if you are visiting the capital.
And you can also have a flutter on the roulette tables of course! It is the place to have a bet in Portugal and only closes on Christmas Eve. The casino is open from 3pm to 3am every day.
It’s easy to get to as well, being only 18km from the Portuguese capital Lisbon and 20 km from the Airport.
Admission is free for players over the age of 18 years old and you’ll find plenty of roulette action here, as well as blackjack, baccarat and slots.
It’s become pretty famous for its music, with local band FLOW being hot favourites who cover everything from the Rolling Stones and Eric Clapton, to Michael Jackson and Jamiroquai.
There’s also a decent nightclub called Jézebel which kicks off on Fridays and Saturdays from November to May.
On top of that, in the general area, you’ll find beautiful beaches and some impressive surfing conditions (head to Guincho for the big waves). It’s a quick bus ride to the pretty town of Sintra and the hills of the Serra de Sintra National Park.
Other places to visit if you are here for a holiday include the Boca do Inferno (“Mouth of Hell”) cave, Tamariz Beach (the nearest to Casino de Estoril, the castle owned by the royals of Monaco and Parede another popular beach.
The hill town of Monte Estoril is also worth a visit- take a tour around the Verdades-Faria Museum, with its amazing collection of musical instruments while you are there.