During our recent trip to Portugal, we made a day trip from Lisbon to Sintra, which is about an hours train or car ride from Lisbon. All my research about Lisbon made it clear that we had to make this day trip. So off we went, with little expectation of what Sintra had to offer. Five minutes into Sintra and it became the highlight of our trip! There is something magical about Sintra, no wonder its an UNESCO World-Heritage Site. Sintra is like the setting of a real life fairy tale. It has also been called the ‘Disneyland for grown-ups.’ A walk through the lush greenery of Sintra, the magnificent palaces and pastel-hued residences and the green mountain tops that are permanently submersed in fog transports you to the fairytales we grew up watching and envisioning!
We were lucky to get a sunny and clear day in Sintra. It made our walk around town and the unending green gardens of the palaces very pleasant! Coming from Dubai, all the greenery was a very welcome change! Its not hard to see why the Portuguese royalty made Sintra their summer home!
Sintra has four main palaces that you would like to visit when there. The Palacio Nacional de Sintra, Castelo dos Mouros (Moorish Castle),Palacio da Pena and Quinta da Regaleira. We visited the Quinta da Regaleira and Pena Palace. We had our tickets for the Moorish Castle, but we spent way too much time exploring the gardens of the two palaces and ran out of time! The historic town centre is definitely worth exploring as well with its maze of cobble-stoned lanes lined with quaint shops and cafes that snake their way up the hill.
First up was the Quinta da Regaleira. This palace is set amongst the most beautiful grounds full of hidden secrets. Fountains, waterfalls, water-lilied lakes, statues and secret passages, it has it all! The inside is also a treat with beautiful ceilings and painted tiled!
The second stop for the day was at the spectacular and famous Pena Palace. Commissioned by King Ferdinand II in 1842 on the ruins of an old monastery as a romantic getaway, it is constructed on one of the highest peaks of the city, offering views as far as the eye can see. This vibrantly painted summer palace stands out and is in stark contrast to the lush green of the surrounding mountains. Inside the palace there are hints of moorish architecture too in form of courtyards and archways. The Pena Palace is also surrounded by a vast expanse of greenery, walkways, hidden lakes etc.
I hope you enjoyed all the pictures, even though I seem to have bombarded you with loads in this post. I just wanted to share how amazing Sintra was. I needs to be on your itinerary when you visit Lisbon!