Country: Portugal Language: Portuguese Currency: Euro (€)
Wandering around the palaces and the grounds of Sintra is like walking through a real life fairytale. While exploring, you will most likely think to yourself how the architecture and the scenery reminds you of Walt Disney or Antoni Gaudi. Since 2000, Sintra has been named a UNESCO World Heritage Site, and it makes for a perfect day trip from Lisbon.
There are a couple of ways to visit Sintra. If you are going in the off season, you should consider renting a car from Lisbon and driving the 50 minutes to Sintra. Off season is drastically more relaxed and easier to get around than it is in peak season. Come summer, you are way better off catching the train or a bus from Lisbon. Once you get to the historic center, there is a bus line that circles between the historic center and all of the palaces, making it easy to get around to see all the sights.
CTW Must See
The most iconic and the most colorful place in Sintra is Pena Palace. This radiating palace sits at the top of Sintra Mountain. The palace dates back to the Middle Ages, but due to a number of natural disasters, the original palace was completely ruined. Nevertheless, Pena Palace is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and one of Portugal’s Seven Wonders.
You can choose to either buy the park ticket or the park/palace ticket. The only difference is the latter will allow you access to the palace interior. If you do not wish to visit inside, the cheaper option is perfect. If you are driving to Pena Palace, parking is available along the drive up the hill, with the closest parking lot being 100m from the park entrance. However, if you do not arrive before opening, you may not be able to park in the closest parking lot, so you may have to walk a bit. In summer, you may be lucky to get a spot up the hill at all.
Castelo dos Mouros (Moors Castle)
The Moors Castle ruins is another must while visiting Sintra. With access to the castle from Pena Palace, you could easily spend your whole morning exploring the two sites. Moors Castle gives you a great view of Pena Palace and the rest of Sintra. The castle ruins date back to the 8th and 9th centuries. The castle, much like the rest of Lisbon, was damaged by the earthquake of 1755, and since then, the castle has become more ruins than castle. Moors Castle has also been named a UNESCO World Heritage Site, and attracts visitors from all over the world.
Quinta Da Regaleira
This UNESCO World Heritage Site is a beautiful land. The entire property is like walking through a fairy tale… The mossy stone walls, the towers and lookouts, the grottoes, wells, and stone architecture are storybook perfect. The Gothic Palace has five floors and is set among the bright and rich Portuguese landscape. The park itself is quite large, with much to explore. Once you find the Initiation Well at the top of the hill, walk to the bottom of the well and through the tunnel. It may be dark and wet, but the tunnel will lead you to the waterfall near the bottom of the hill!
Parking for Quinta Da Regaleira is a bit trickier than Pena Palace. You will have to park in one of the city parking spots available past the entrance, more towards Sintra town center.
Monserrate Palace is a hidden gem not far from the other, more popular palaces and parks in Sintra. The Palace is at the top of a beautiful green garden, surrounded by lakes, grottoes and endless nature. Monserrate Palace superbly combines Romantic, Gothic, Indian and Arabic architecture. Surrounding the palace are many exotic plants from all over the world.
Parking for Monserrate Palace is simple - there is a parking lot across the street from the palace entrance!
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