Sintra, a delightful surprise on the Portuguese mountains

As the locals and tourists from Rio de Janeiro seek in Petropolis  the pleasures of the mountains, so it is with Sintra, a Portuguese village in the region of Lisbon, which the highest point at 528 meters above sea level.

The Portuguese royal family while in Brazil boosted the emergence and growth of Petropolis and even more so the Imperial family, when Dom Pedro II followed his father’s plans and ordered the construction of the family’s  summer palace. In Europe, the history goes further back to centuries ago and in Sintra, its famous castle, which belonged to Muslim leaders and Portuguese kings is dated from the eighth century.

About 35km away from Lisbon, you can get to Sintra by car or by train. Once at the station there are free maps and information about the main attractions. Also from the station, there are buses that take you around town, including to higher places of the mountain where there are palaces and also the castle.

The Cultural Landscape of Sintra was elevated to UNESCO World Heritage Site and nothing better to understand why than reading the features presented in their application: a cultural unity that has remained intact in a multitude of parks and palaces, manor houses and their gardens and forests, little palaces and chalets inserted in the middle of an exuberant vegetation, extensive walled sections that crown the highest peaks of the mountains. Also, a gathering of meditations convents between cliffs, forests and fountains; churches, chapels and shrines, centers of faith and art; ultimately, a cultural intact unity in a gathering of archaeological sites that link to age-old occupations several times.

If you have time on your trip, I totally recommend that you book a weekend to enjoy this city. But at least on your way to Lisbon, reserve a day to spend there. The prices are a little higher than the Portuguese capital but are rewarded by the delights they offer.

Sintra is bordered to the south with Cascais and to the west with the Atlantic Ocean

Moorish Castle – Initiated during the Muslim invasion of the Iberian Peninsula, was disputed between Muslims and Portuguese kings

Pena National Palace – one of the best expressions in the world of architectural romanticism of the nineteenth century. Summer residence of King Ferdinand II

The traditional sweet “Travesseiro” (in English, pillow) from the factory and cafe Periquita

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