Lisbon Day Trip: A Fairy Tale Called Sintra
An easy day trip from Lisbon (just 45 minutes by train), the town of Sintra is like something out of a fairy tale. This UNESCO World Heritage Site boasts various castles, tunnels, gardens, and estates to explore, and even a mystical Initiation Well! Remember to stop at Sintra’s famous Piriquita cafe and try traditional cakes such as travesseiros and queijadas. Make sure to go prepared—even if it’s warm in Lisbon, it can be cold in Sintra.
Estrada da Pena
The Park and the Palace of Pena are the finest example of the 19th century Portuguese Romanticism and the integration of natural and built heritage of Portuguese Royal family. The Pena Palace is built on a mountain in Sintra, surrounded by a natural park and forest. The builders of Pena Palace were Dona Maria and Don Fernando, the King and Queen of Portugal. (1847) In 1995 the palace was listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site and one of the Seven Wonders of Portugal. It is also used for state occasions by the President of the Portuguese Republic and other government officials. The Park of Pena is a remarkable project by itself. It has a vast variety of trees and plantations imported from North America, Japan, China and Australia and New Zealand. If you have to choose between the castles in Sintra, don’t miss out on the Palace of Pena.
Estrada de Monserrate, 2710-405 Sintra, Portugal
While the tourist hordes in beautiful Sintra, Portugal, are flocking to Pena Palace, head instead to Monserrate. The gardens here are massive and have been recently restored. We wandered here for hours without hardly seeing another person. The palace itself, although not as large as Pena, is just as grand, if not more so. Every inch of the architecture is covered in delicate carving. The Moorish and Indian influences work together to create a cohesive and beautiful design.