Sintra is located just 45 minutes outside of Lisbon and is a tourist hotspot, with very good reason. The town is picture perfect, with rolling hills, a charming village and fairytail worthy castles. It is a unique location with its own micro micro climate, with exotic fauna and flora. Below are Activities In Portugal 10 things to do in Sintra.
1, Quinta da Regaleira
Quinta da Regaleira has an interesting history, it was built sometime in the 1600s but in 1848 it was purchased by António Augusto Carvalho Monteiro. This owner was interested in the occult, the building an the gardens represent ancient secret orders of the Knights Templar, with hidden tunnels and concealed masonic symbolism.
2, Pena Palace
The Pena Palace is named one of Portugal’s “Seven Wonders” and a World Heritage Site by UNESCO. It really looks like a fairy tale castle set upon one of the tallest hills in the Sintra area.Pena Palace was ordered by King Ferdinand II in 1838 and was the summer residence of Ferdinand II. The castle is still used for state occasions by the President of the Portuguese Republic. The styles are truly eclectic , from Moorish to Renaissance, Neo-Gothic to Neo-Manueline. The Palace is surround by 200 hectares of gardens. Both the Palace and gardens are a top tourists destination for Lisbon travelers and should be on your Lisbon bucket list on things to do in Sintra.
3, Palace Of Sintra
Sitting in the centre of Sintra, The Palace of Sintra is the best-preserved medieval royal residence in the whole of Portugal. Portuguese Royalty lived here on and off from the 1400s to the 1700s, the castle is 1000 years old and was first built by the Muslim occupation.
4, Initiation Wells
Within the grounds of the estate is the Initiation Wells, these two inversed towers desend into the ground are the most mystical and eerie element of the Quinta da Regaleira. The largest tower has a 27-metre spiral staircase leading deep into the ground and exits at a spooky lake. It has been reported that the towers were used for secretive initiation rites.
5, Palace Of Monserrate
The Palace of Monserrate has quite an English background, in 1809 Lord Byron visited the palace and in 1856 Francis Cook, a wealthy English merchant, took over the palace and gardens and transformed the land into what we see today. The design is a mix of Moorish, Neo Gothic and Romanticism. The park is full of rare species of plant and trees ranging from Australia to Mexico.
6, Convent of the Capuchos
The convent was founded in 1560, with just 8 monks. It grew over the centuries but it is still remains a very minimalist building. The most interesting character that lived here in the convent was was Friar Honório, during the 1500’s. He lived to the ripe old age of 100, but he spent 30 of those year in penance living in small grotto in the grounds of the convent. He was immortalised in a poem by Lord Byron called Childe Harold’s Pilgrimage.
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7, Castelo Dos Mouros
The Castle of the moors was built in the 8th and 9th centuries as a fortress, today the castle is used by tourists as a viewpoint over the unique views of Sintra hills and towards the sea. This is a top things to do in Sintra.
8, Sintra Village
Th village of Sintra along with Pena Palace have a fairytale atmosphere. It is just 25km from Lisbon and easily reached by train, the village is quaint and picturesque. The town also has its own cake, the Travesseiros en queijadas, which can be purchased from the oldest pastelary in Sintra. The Casa Piriquita has been running since 1862, who keep the recipe to the cake a top secret.
9, Sintra Tram
Electrico de Sintra runs from Sintra to the beach town of Praia das Maçãs 13km away. The tram is cute, charming and quaint, you can imagine living in a bygone era but you will need patience, there is only one tram on the line and a one way the journey takes 40 minutes
10, Miradoura De Santa Eufemia and Trekking
Sintra is full of spectacular trekking trails, one of the best trails takes in the Miradoura De Santa Eufemia. This observation deck is 470 metres above sea level. The hike is well worth it for the outstanding views of the surrounding area.
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