Palaces of Sintra

Quinta da Regaleira Quinta da Regaleira Creative Common BY-SA

"The place combines wildness of western mountainous countries with the greenery of southern France" – this is how Lord Byron described Sintra. The pearl of Portugal attracts tourists with residences, parks and… the end of Europe.

The close neighbor of Lisbon, Sintra, astonishes with architecture. Buildings blend into the natural landscape, which looks particularly amazing on the slopes of the hill. Historic city center had developed during the reign of the Moors. In the Middle Ages the resort gradually became tighter, expanding along the main streets.

Two chimneys of Sintra

Palácio Nacional de Sintra is the symbol of the city. Twin chimneys of the palace have 33 meters, and their bulging contours can be seen from afar. This construction is the best-preserved, Middle Age, Portuguese royal palace. Due to multiple reconstructions, the castle consists of several styles - Gothic, Manueline style and Mudéjar (Moorish style).

The palace attracts attention not only from the outside. It houses the largest Portuguese collection of azulejos (ceramic tiles), and the interiors are richly furnished. Visitors can take pictures while strolling between the chambers. The admission to the building is paid - ticket costs around 9.5 euros.

In front of the main entrance to the palace is located Museu do Brinquedo, a toy museum. An impressive collection of dolls, ships, toy cars, houses with equipment, soldiers, etc. for years impressed not only the youngest guests. There’s really a lot to admire - more than 40,000 exhibits located on 4 floors. The fact that today you can enjoy this place is due to one enthusiast, who collected toys for 50 years, and then he donated his collection to foundations. To visit the museum, you have to pay around 4.5 euros.

The guard looking from the hill

Another place that has to be visited during the stay in Sintra, is the Palácio Nacional da Pena. This beautiful name belongs to the proud edifice standing on top of the hill above the city, one of the biggest tourist attractions of Portugal. To get to it, we have to cover the route on foot or make the whole thing easier and take a special minibus, which runs from the gate to the entrance to the palace and back. It would cost about 2 euros.

The palace is an amazing example of Portuguese Romantic architecture. It impresses with the size and color, and captivates with beauty of the interiors. Unfortunately, you cannot take photos in chambers. Around the building extends a magnificent garden, covering the terrain with flora from around the world (often exotic species). The ticket to the park and palace costs about 14 euros.

Equally beautiful is Quinta da Regaleira, a palace with magnificent twentieth-century garden. It’s beautiful and scary at the same time, and is associated with ghosts, vampires and Edgar Allan Poe’s stories.

Portuguese cliffs

While in Sintra, it’s worth to go to Cabo da Roca, which is the end of Europe. It’s the westernmost place of the continent. It offers an amazing view of the cliffs rising above the waters of the Atlantic Ocean to a height of 140 meters, and the picturesque jagged rocks. Equally amazing are the works of human hands, such as the eighteenth-century lighthouse or the monument. Before leaving the edge of Europe, you can go to the local restaurant and try nutritious soup or seafood.

Where to stay in order to have an easy access to local attractions, and at the same time be able to relax? About 19 km from Sintra, you can find Camping Orbitur Guinchoza where the guests can enjoy swimming pool, restaurant and shop. Place for motorhome costs from 7.2 to 12 euros/day, an while adults will pay 3.9 – 6.5 euro.

Sintra is located just 25 km from Lisbon. So close, and yet so different from the Portuguese capital city astonishes with amazing style and atmosphere. It’s worth to pay a visit and see the fabulous old mansions surrounded by redwoods.

Translation: Karolina Strzałkowska

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