It was an absolute pleasure working with Belen from Totally Spain to plan our unforgettable family vacation to Portugal recently. Belen had previously helped us plan a trip to Spain last Dec (which I thought could not be outdone - but I was wrong). O...
Smriti Mehra Family, New Jersey, USA
Less than 30 minuntes from Lisbon and located in the lush hills of the Serra de Sintra amidst an evergreen pine forest, known for its whimsical villas and the ruins of a 10th century Moorish castle, Sintra offers a dazzling array of palaces and castles. It was awarded World Heritage status in 1995 but has been captivating civilians, writers and royals for centuries.
The main attractions include the vibrantly coloured Pena Palace ( Palacio Nacional de Pena), the Neo-Gothic mansion of Quinta da Regaleira and the medieval Palacio Nacional de Sintra. The town's entire centre is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Sintra’s first palace was built by John I in the late 14th century – the cool breeze in the hills being preferable for the monarch when the temperatures rose in the capital. By the time English poet and founding father of the Romantic Movement, Lord Byron was in town, the area played host to much of Lisbon’s nobility. Byron was entranced by Sintra’s magical and romantic qualities.
For your visit, we recommend you arrive very early in the morning or come in the afternoon, with walking shoes to handle the cobbles and the (at times) steep walkways that weave through the lush countryside. As you visit each palace you’ll be struck how each seems to outdo its predecessor. We recommend not missing the palaces of Pena, Quinta & Monserrate.
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