Visiting Sintra

Hello!!! How are you enjoying this beautiful spring days? (For those living in Portugal is actually summer days!) My Parents just called me yesterday to say they went to the beach and they even went for swimming (34 degrees). Wow! In UK we had at the maximum 18o and here in Germany same. It’s quite sunny and lovely today but it seems the rain is going to start again tomorrow.

Anyway, after some comments to my previous post about Sintra I decided to make a post about my favourite place in Portugal. I love the country from north to south (especially south), and I love alentejo but Sintra is the place that always cheers me up, I mean: always! It’s beautiful, romantic, adorable and has everything! Enchanting palaces, mystical places, awesome sweets, gorgeous views and a beautiful coast as well. How perfect is that?

Are you ready for this journey?
Things to consider before going leaving:
* The weather in Sintra is very unpredictable, it can be gorgeous and suddenly start to rain, and back to sunny again. So always carry an umbrella.
* Comfortable shoes – Oh yeah, Sintra is quite big and has a lot to explore, so make sure you carry comfortable shoes and a bottle of water (the portuguese water is just the most tasty in the world, try Luso).
* Choose how many days you have to spend in Sintra and what do you really want to see


How to arrive there
* By train – It’s possible to catch the train in the Lisbon Centre (Rossio Station) straight to Sintra centre. The journey is about 30/40m and it’s very cheap.

* By car – If you can use your own car or rent one. If you only want to visit Sintra centre the train is fine, because you can walk to the places, but if you want to have a flavour of the coastal views as well, it’s better to have a car. By car is just to follow the indications from 2nd circular and then IC19 – Sintra. Always straight forward.

What to visit?
Ahhh this is the hard part. So lets start by the city centre. It’s quite small but it’s so adorable! Regardless of what you want to visit, please visit the city centre.

Right at the centre you will discover the Sintra National palace. I actually never visited on the inside, but it’s worth it.

Then it’s really to explore all that area around the palace, where you’ll find narrow streets with traditional stores. It’s quite magical really

Then after the walk, I believe you’ll need some happy calories before starting to explore Sintra properly. Here I’m talking about the famous “Queijadas de Sintra” (Sintra cheesecakes) (I prefer the milky or carrot ones, because they are more creamy):

And the famous “Travesseiros de Sintra”, which is mainly a kind of a tart with egg inside
Where you can find this?
At the local store called “Piriquita”. There are two stores in the city centre.
Also I would recommend to have lunch in the city centre as well, as there are no restaurants near the other places.
Before climbing up, if you still have time it would be interesting to have a ride in a horse-drawn carriage. This is a very romantic tour! I don’t know how much they charge for this because I never did it in Sintra.

Now what else?
Oh the journey has just begun, and now you need to decide what to visit. The key places for me are: “Quinta da Regaleira” – very close to the city centre and “Palacio da Pena”.

Quinta da Regaleira
Before I forget, bring some light with you, as you’ll explore the underground of the palace.
I really love this place, it’s so magical, and it’s so historically strong. They say this castle is linked to alchemy & masonry. The underground it’s quite a labyrinth, but on the outside it looks so romantic and beautiful.

Next, let’s go higher and climb to the most iconic palace of Sintra: Pena (official website).
And I’ve just realized that I don’t know where my photos are from my last visit, so I’ll use the website ones:

Pena it’s a very romantic palace, it’s unique and it has an amazing view. I love the fact that it seems different palaces and concepts merged into one. The rooms inside are also very beautiful.
Beautiful, isn’t it? It’s very easy to spend at least 3 hours visiting the gardens and the palace inside.
If you still have time, you can still visit the Monserrate palace.
From the outside it doesn’t seem Portuguese at all, it’s so romantic and unique. I really love it! Also the gardens around it are worth the visit.

Last but not least, the Mouros Castle. It’s basically just the ruins of what it used to be a castle, but the view it’s nice. It feels like the mini wall of China. I went there in a very foggy day, but it was still worth it.
I’ve also just found this article from Mariza talking about Sintra.

And this is it for today. I’ll do another post about the areas around Sintra, such as the beaches and the tour down to Cascais, through Colares.

Enjoy your week.

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