Royal Sintra


Sintra leaves most visitors with a feeling of mystical enchantment. Its magical palaces, forests, Moorish castle and UNESCO World Heritage site city centre are like a page from a fairy tale.

Just 40 minutes from Lisbon is a fairy-tale land of castles and palaces. Eighteen miles and a world away from Lisboa, it’s easy to see why Sintra - with its cool, lush hills and proximity to the Atlantic coast - is where Portuguese royals used to spend their summers. Today, the concentration of these former regal estates and equally fanciful gardens has turned this UNESCO site into a popular day-trip destination. After seeing the 19th-century Romantic architecture, cobblestone streets, and dense forests, you will understand why Lord Byron once referred to the town as a “glorious Eden.”
By the 1700s, Portugal’s kings and queens were regularly using Sintra as a resort town to escape the city, and it remains a high-class getaway: nearby Palacio de Seteais is now a hotel with the likes of Mel Gibson and Brad Pitt in its guestbook, its gardens full of lemon groves and giving views to the distant Atlantic. The still-standing National Palace - Portugal’s best preserved medieval royal palace – with painted swans covering the ceilings and two vast white chimneys tapering over the complex.

The Castelo dos Mouros is perched high above Sintra and is an ancient ruined castle that dates from the Moorish era (8-12th century). The castle was partially restored in the 19th century to become the centrepiece for the grounds of the Pena Palace. From the castle walls, there are amazing panoramic views over Sintra and the surrounding region.
The colourful Pena Palace is the standout monument of Sintra. The vividly painted palace stands at one of the highest points of Sintra and is surrounded by the pine forests of the region. The interior of the palace has been retained to how it appeared in 1910, when the Portuguese nobility fled Portugal due to the revolution.

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