Feeling lucky? How about visiting a beautiful, grand casino on your next visit to Portugal?
The casino business is a long-standing tradition and today the glitz and glamour remains. Come with us and we’ll take you on a tour of seven of the best casinos in the country.
You can find your fortune, enjoy great cuisine or catch an entertaining show in these establishments which are sure to provide a great night out.
A little history on casinos in Portugal
Although casinos in Portugal are not in a great quantity, the history of legal gambling began more than a hundred years ago. The national charity quiz in 1783 was the first example of gambling in Portugal and the first casino was opened in 1904.
After this, the largest jump in the development of gambling in the country occurred during the reign of Salazar and the New State established by him from 1926 to 1974.
During this period, the casinos were completely legalised and protected by the state. In the 1970s, after the fall of the “New State”, casinos were nationalised, but by the end of the decade they were returned to “private hands”.
Each casino has its own history and some are famous throughout the world.
Where are the 7 best casinos in Portugal?
Most of the casinos can be found near tourist locations as they offer all sorts of entertainment, fine dining and events. Some are also hotels and offer excellent accommodation.
We’ve been around the country and found seven of the best casinos you should definitely try your luck at.
First, let’s go north.
1. Hotel Casino Chaves
Chaves is a city in the very northeast of Portugal, almost on the border with Spain and here you will find the Hotel Casino Chaves. The small and cozy city is famous for its culinary achievements.
Its name is also in its pastries like Pastel de Chaves and Pão de Chaves and the ham which is called Presunto de Chaves.
The city’s casino is part of a large conglomeration of various gambling houses in Portugal namely Solverde. Hotel Casino Chaves also offers accommodation services and provides a full range of leisure facilities. Included is a spa, restaurant, and concert venue.
Hotel Casino Chaves is relatively new, so the interior is modern. The game room is equipped with everything you need: poker tables, French bones, roulette and slot machines.
2. Casino da Povoa
Two large casinos in the north of the country are located not in Porto, but in the cities nearby. The first is in the city of Povoa de Varzim. Casino da Povoa was built in a neoclassical style in the 1930s and it immediately became a meeting place for Portuguese aristocrats.
Casino da Povoa is owned by the gaming company, Estoril Sol, which also operates casinos in Estoril and Lisbon. The game room features 650 slot machines and many tables for poker, blackjack, roulette and other games, there is also a restaurant, a large concert hall and a bar.
Walking through the city of Povoa and the surrounding area can also be a pleasant pastime as it is a peaceful and quiet, seaside town.
3. Casino Figueira
As we mentioned at the beginning, the first casino in Portugal was opened in 1904 in the town of Figueira do Foz, near Porto.
This small town gained fame at the end of the 19th century, when the Portuguese aristocracy made it their favourite place to play. The fashion for holidays in Figueira do Foz helped the infrastructure of the city – a large hotel chain appeared, water sports developed and a casino opened.
The oldest casino in Portugal, Casino Figueira (website is in Portuguese) , is rightfully one of the most popular places in the city. The game room is not only amazing because of the abundance of gaming tables, but also because of the beauty of the architecture.
The slot machine hall is a tribute to modern architecture and bright colours, it houses more than 300 different slot machines!
In the main hall of the casino, there are various performances every day, and in the casino restaurant, you can have a delicious dinner.
Although Casino Figueira is not as big as the Lisbon Casino and not as famous as Estoril Casino, it is a beautiful and important monument to the Portuguese aristocracy of the last century.
Now, let’s head south.
4. Casino Lisboa
The famous billionaire and gambling leader, Stanley Ho, opened a large casino in the Portuguese capital which became part of his vast gambling empire. He owns 19 casinos in Macau including the Grand Lisboa.
Located in the centre of the Park of Nations (“Parque das Nações”), the Casino Lisboa, when still at the construction stage, displeased local residents who believed that the money invested in its construction could be used to improve Lisbon because in addition to private money, municipal funds were also used in the construction of the casino). The owners of the casino, at the end of construction, also created an entertainment space to reduce the level of discontent.
In addition to the gambling halls in Casino Lisboa, a night club was opened and the owners they began to invite famous Portuguese artists to provide the weekly performances. Therefore, besides a gambling business, another popular concert venue appeared in the city.
The interior in the metropolitan casino is made in a minimalist style that suits the Portuguese character. The casino has about 1,000 slot machines and over 20 tables for poker, blackjack and roulette.
In the casino, you can choose between three restaurants to dine in and it also has a network of bars and several entertainment areas.
It was originally planned that Casino Lisboa can play host to about 6,000 people per day, but as it is so loved by locals and tourists, it is now visited by about 10,000 people per day!
5. Casino Estoril
The most famous casino of Portugal and the largest casino in Europe is Casino Estoril.
Built at the beginning of the 20th century, the casino in Estoril, the satellite city of Lisbon, became the refuge for many prominent personalities.
One of them was Ian Fleming, who was rumoured to have written the first James Bond novel “Casino Royale”, just after numerous visits to Casino Estoril.
It was also said that during the World War I, there were many spies and other representatives of different countries at Casino Estoril. Military actions were discussed there and diplomatic deals were concluded within its walls.
Over the years, the casino has changed a lot to become fashionable. The façade of the building, made of glass and metal, stands in a beautiful garden and inside the casino itself, you will find a chic interior.
In addition to gambling entertainment, the casino offers daily concerts from famous artists and dance performances.
You will also find a small, but rich, art gallery, which exhibits modern artists and sculptors.
Of the four restaurants within the casino, you can also find the Mandarin Restaurant which is said to create the best Cantonese cuisine in the world.
6. Casino de Tróia
Just south of Lisbon, is another popular resort location which includes the Casino de Tróia. Unlike Figueira do Foz, this place has recently become in popular amongst tourists, primarily, local ones.
The Tróia Peninsula attracts visitors with its beaches, luxury hotels and restaurants, but one of the main highlights is the Casino de Tróia and design hotel.
A modern casino with over 200 slot machines and 15 tables for various gambling games. Thanks to the performances of musicians and DJs, it has become one of the most favourite places for visitors seeking night-time entertainment.
Of course, in the casino, you can dine in luxury restaurants and try a large selection of drinks at the bar.
And further south towards the Algarve.
7. Casino de Vilamoura
As the most touristic areas of the country, the Algarve region of Portugal offers just three casinos, which are all based on the sunny coastline.
The most popular and largest casino is Casino de Vilamoura which offers more than 500 slot machines and many tables for various games. Poker tournaments are also held here which cause a lot of excitement with visitors.
The Casino de Vilamoura is famous for its shows which often feature Portuguese celebrities. In the nightclub season, the music thunders until the small hours of morning.
During the day, families can enjoy a relaxing holiday on Vilamoura which offers many activities and of course, the beach!
Casinos in Portugal are growing in popularity
Lotteries, quizzes and gambling are in great demand in Portugal, and the locals themselves are avid players, Did you know that many winners of European quizzes come from Portugal?
Remember, in Portugal, the minimum legal age for being allowed into a casino to gamble is 18 years and we encourage you to enjoy gambling responsibly and have a great time.
We hope you enjoyed this article. Feel free to leave a comment or a question below.
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