After stepping out of the taxi cab and thanking the driver in horribly mangled Portuguese, I walked along the beautiful tiling of the main boulevard toward the beach as I absorbed the sunny paradise of Cascais for the first time.

Historically a small fishing village, this coastal resort town started becoming known as a beach haven way back in the 1870s, when King Luís I of Portugal and his royal family made it their summer retreat. It shortly became a hotbed for the country’s aristocracy, and nowadays is the most popular holiday destination on the Lisbon coastline, attracting around 1.2 million tourists a year.

It’s also the primary destination for this summer’s International Safari to Portugal, hosted by JAZZ.FM91 in partnership with CAA. Jaymz Bee is leading this trip to Cascais, where we’ll catch Jamie Cullum, Tom Jones and Diana Krall at the 16th edition of the EDP Cool Jazz Festival.

Click here for more details on the JAZZ.FM91 International Safari to Portugal

It takes no time at all to see why Cascais is so appealing. Its bustling beaches and charming town centre offer a delightful setting to soak up the sun on a summer day. My partner and I strolled along the pedestrian walkways alongside the beach and admired the intricate artistry of their swirly stone patchwork patterns. We made our way up the pier, lined with fishing nets and crab cages, and shouted out words of encouragement to a group of local kids doing cannonballs into the bay. We stopped for a cerveja at an outdoor restaurant overlooking the water, and had a couple cups of gelato by the beach. We were there for only a few hours and did little more than explore the shops and scenery of the main town square, but that short experience was still one of the most memorable parts of our week in Portugal.

(Fun fact I only recently learned: Estoril Casino in Cascais was an inspiration for Ian Fleming’s first James Bond novel, Casino Royale.)