Portugal is full of amazing historic attractions, and many of them can be found
in the almost mythical town of Sintra. Set on hillsides that slope down to the
Atlantic Ocean, Sintra Portugal is picturesque, and its relatively cool microclimate
makes it an ideal place to escape to when nearby Lisbon
is overheating. Old villas, many of which are painted in pastel hues, mix with
whitewashed buildings on the hillsides in Sintra, and history is around every
corner. The town is one of Portugal's oldest, and it's long been a popular place
to settle. So welcoming are the wooded environs in Sintra that Portuguese kings
used to vacation here in the summertime. Sintra Portugal is still a popular
vacation destination to this day, and while you can easily enjoy a day trip
here from nearby Lisbon, hanging around for a few days is strongly recommended.
The entire town of Sintra Portugal is a UNESCO World Heritage Site, much like the inland town of Evora, and it is absolutely brimming with historic attractions. Among the top attractions in Sintra are the Castelo dos Mouros (Castle of the Moors), the Palacio Nacional de Sintra, and the Palacio Nacional de Pena. The Castelo dos Mouros was built between the eight and ninth centuries, and it overlooks the Atlantic Ocean from its 1,350-foot perch. The lookout from the Royal Tower awards visitors with the best views of the city and the sea. Mostly rebuilt in the nineteenth century after years of decline, the Castelo dos Mouros boasts some fantastic walls and towers, and the Romanesque church near the entrance deserves special attention. It dates back to the twelfth and thirteenth centuries.
As for the Palacio Nacional de Sintra, it is a National Monument, thanks largely in part to its regal architecture. Rebuilt and renovated over the course of centuries, the Palacio Nacional boasts elements of the Gothic, the Mudejar, the Manueline, and the Renaissance styles of architecture, and you'll undoubtedly notice the colorful, glazed tiles that line many of the palace's chambers. You can tour the Palacio Nacional for a small fee, and afterward, you can explore the central town square. While the Palacio Nacional de Sintra is amazing, the Palacio Nacional de Pena might just overshadow it, literally. Rising above Sintra on a 1,475-foot plateau, the Palacio Nacional de Pena dominates the skyline, and you can even see it from nearby Lisbon on clear days. A fine representation of nineteenth-century Romanticism, this grand structure has earned the distinction of being named one of the Seven Wonders of Portugal, which means that it is one of the top cultural wonders in the land. You can tour the Palacio Nacional de Pena for a small fee, and the drive up through the Parque das Merendas is part of the fun.
All of the palaces in Sintra deserve some of your time when in town, and a couple others that you might add to the agenda include Monserrate Palace, which is a fine example of Romanticism, and the Queluz Palace, which, even though it is much smaller, is often compared to the Palace of Versailles. One of the best ways to take in the many attractions in Sintra is to book a tour. You can choose to book your organized tour in Lisbon, or you can wait until you arrive in Sintra itself. In addition to adding a tour to your Sintra travel plans, you can also figure in some outdoor recreation. Golf is increasing in popularity in Portugal, and the course at the Estoril-Sol Golf Club is sure to please, especially since it sits below the imposing Palacio Nacional de Pena.
If golfing isn't your thing, you
can always do some hiking in and around Sintra. The Serra de Sintra mountain
range, whose highest peak tops out at 1,736 feet, offers plenty of up and down
terrain to explore if you are interested in a workout while you sightsee. Hiking
in the Sintra area can be very rewarding, but it's understandable if you spend
more time relaxing on the beaches. Soft, golden sand awaits you on the beaches
in Sintra, and magnificent cliffs line the coastline, offering views that you
might expect to find in California.
Paragliders take to the skies from the coastal cliffs here, but if you prefer
staying at ground level, other activities that you can enjoy during your beach
visit include surfing, body boarding,
and fishing. Helping to make
the beaches some of the top attractions in Sintra is their overall quality.
The water is clean, and facilities of many kinds can be found within short distance
of the sand.
There are many reasons why Sintra travel is so popular, and you'll do well to include this magical town on your Portugal vacation itinerary. Many past luminaries have sung the praises of Sintra Portugal, and you'll no doubt do the same. Just be careful, however, as this is one of those world destinations that can be hard to leave. After innocently booking a short stay at one of the Sintra hotels, you might just find yourself looking to buy an apartment or home soon thereafter. Start making your Sintra travel plans today, and come see for yourself how endearing this place can be.