One day in Sintra
If your visit to Portugal only leaves room for just one day in Sintra, I advice a visit to Pena Palace, Moorish Castle and National Palace.
Sintra is worldwide acknowledged as one of the most romantic getaway. Its beauty charms visitors for centuries and it has been celebrated by many important cultural figures, not just from Portugal but also from many other countries.
Lord Byron – probably its most famed fan – described Sintra as “Glorious Eden”. And in fact, with its steep mountains, lush forests and enchanted castle and palaces is a truly magical place, Sintra was elected as World Heritage Site by UNESCO. Therefore, if you are staying in Lisbon please consider to spend at least one day in Sintra.
The best way to get there from Lisbon is by train as the ride only takes about 40 minutes. Then, from Sintra railway station take the bus #434 that takes a circular route to the various attraction of the village, including the Moors castle and the Pena Palace. The bus runs daily every 40 minutes from 10:20 a.m. until 5:15 p.m.. You may buy the tickets on board.
Sintra has a lot to be seen and to be enjoyed, within a fairy tale ambience. If you are coming by for just one day in Sintra then suggest a visit to the three most iconic monuments of this enchanted village, namely the Sintra National Palace, the Moorish Castle and the Pena Palace with its gardens.
National Palace of Sintra
Photo by FlickrDelusions
Built in the 14th century by Dom João has served as a summer residence for Portuguese Kings ever since. In terms of architecture it shows traces of Gothic, Manueline and also Moorish styles. The Palace is amazing from the outside but is truly magnificent in the inside, especially on what concerns the tiles exhibited as they are some of the oldest and most valuable existing in Portugal and its impressive kitchens.
Serving as a museum, Sintra National Palace is full of interesting stories as the one linked to room above the chapel where Afonso VI was imprisoned for six years. According to the myth the floor next to the window is worn as a result of his constant pacing up and down.
Photo by Monte da Lua
Built during the 8th century by the Moors and conquered to the Christians by Afonso Henriques, the first Portuguese King, in 1147, the Moorish Castle offers breathtaking views to those brave enough to go up and down the rocky steps of its walls.
A word of advice: take comfortable shoes and a warm sweatshirt as it may be chilly up there even in a hot summer day.
Pena Palace and Pena Park
Photo by G. Figueiredo e E. Gomes
Welcome to a Disney-like palace that stands out for its colorful walls, its mythic figures guarding its gates, and magical gardens with lakes and follies.
Built in 1840’s under the orders of Ferdinand of Saxe-Coburg-Gotha, husband of Queen Mary II, Pena Palace resembles the romantic and gothic Bavarian palaces. Its interiors are full of detailed and imaginative ornate. You should also not to miss a walk on Pena Palace’s terraces to enjoy the views over Sintra, the Atlantic and Lisbon.
Photo by gomezzz
However, as said before, Sintra has a lot to be seen and enjoyed; therefore I invite you to come back for an extended stay so that you may visit other remarkable attractions like Seteais Palace, which nowadays works as a hotel, Quinta da Regaleira, one of the most magical and mysterious places you will ever visit, the unique Monserrate palace and gardens, the ancient Capuchos Convent or Roca Cape, the westernmost point of Continental Europe, just to mention a few.
Photo by cristophotos
Main image credits
- Photo by iPhil Photos