“There is no place to be bored in a beautiful place as this – Anonymous”
The world is full of beautiful places and sometimes while planning for a trip, you stumble upon some hidden gems. That is exactly what happened when I was looking for places to visit in Portugal. I came across a gorgeous little town called Sintra in Portugal. Sintra is a designated World Heritage site by UNESCO and the whole area is referred to as the ‘Cultural Landscape of Sintra’. It takes less than an hour to reach from Lisbon and read on to find what I did during a half day trip to Sintra Portugal and surrounding areas.
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Why is Sintra, Portugal famous?
The town of Sintra is most famous for one thing: the number of castles, palaces, royal retreats and estate houses. And it is not surprising due to its ideal location. The town of Sintra is located in a mountainous range just outside of Lisbon. Some of them like the Pena Palace and National Palace of Sintra used to be the summer palaces of the Royal family.
Another important point to note here is that these castles are built in different styles like the Moorish, Arabesque and also show distinctive architectural styles from the Romantic Era. That definitely adds to the charm of this gorgeous castle town and if there is one place you should go castle hopping in, you won’t find a better place than the town of Sintra.
Places you have to see during half a day in Sintra
• Pena Palace
• National Palace of Sentra
• Castle of Moors
• Quinta da Regaleira (A famous estate house)
• Monserrate Palace
• And Many others
How to reach Sintra, Portugal
There are multiple ways by which you can get to Sintra. You can either drive to Sintra or you can take a train from Lisbon which takes around 45 minutes. Many people wouldn’t advise you to drive to Sintra since parking is scarce and you will have to do a strenuous hike up after parking at the bottom of the hill. Also, the roads leading to and from Sintra are quite narrow as well as sometimes one way and some people will have difficulty manoeuvring their vehicles here.
I took the easy way out and booked a half daytrip to Sintra from Lisbon. They take you back and forth to Sintra as well as to Cascais and Cabo Da Roca in an air-conditioned bus. But if you want to do full justice to Sintra, then I would suggest you to spend at least a day in Sintra. I missed visiting Quinta da Regaleira and that was one place I really wanted to visit. There are multiple public buses that are available from the train station to go around Sintra.
What we did during a day trip to Sintra Portugal
I first headed to the National Palace of Sintra, a former summer royal residence which is now a museum. The white palace with the conical chimneys is a gorgeous museum and please do visit it if you get the opportunity. Post this, I went roaming around the streets in this small town looking for something to eat. Our guide had suggested Queijadas, a sweet pastry and that is what I ate here. You can also opt for the mini train ride around town if you have kids.
Cabo Da Roca and Cascais near Sintra, Portugal
You wouldn’t want to leave this place but we had to get to our next destination on our Sintra half day itinerary. It is very easy to see Sintra and Cascais in one day. From here, we were taken to Cabo Da Roca, a cape that is considered to be the westernmost part of Continental Europe and Portugal (source: wiki). This is located in the Sintra – Cascais mountains and the whole drive to the cape is mesmerizing. One word of advice here: Carry a jacket since it was freezing even in Summer. I almost froze to death trying to take a selfie here. But you have stunning views from this point and you definitely should not miss this opportunity. You will be literally walking among the clouds here and that is a feeling that you cannot express in words.
On the way, back to Lisbon, we stopped for a while in the town of Cascais. This town is frequented by many celebrities and tourists due to its proximity to many gorgeous beaches.
I managed to spend only half a day in this magical town, Sintra. But even with my limited time here, I fell in love with this area. There are many more day trips from Lisbon and would definitely love to go back to explore the parts I missed.
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