I have to admit, I was most excited to visit this fairy-tale resort town perched on the foothills of the Sintra Mountains.
We took an early morning train from Lisbon’s Rossio station (tickets cost around €5 for a round-trip, take about forty minutes and run every hour), with croissants and coffee in hand for a quick breakfast en-route to our destination. I’d recommend leaving as early as possible to avoid the crowds as ours was pretty packed even at 10 am!
We arrived alongside a throng of tourists, all being hassled to take this taxi and that tuk tuk or a bus to the various places of interest. Avoiding them all, we decided to make our journey on foot to our first stop, Quinta da Regaleira.
A UNESCO World Heritage Site, Quinta da Regaleira is a scene straight out of Lord of the Rings! Consisting of a palace, a chapel, a park with lakes, grottoes, wells, benches, fountains and various sculptures and the most beautiful architecture! It’s a whole world on its own and made me wish I had an equally beautiful medieval gown made of the finest silk and crystals to prance around in!
Every nook and corner of this place had something incredible and spectacular to discover and you really don’t know what you’ll find every step of the way!
Like the above rock formations leading into a pitch dark cave with the exception of these fairy lights leading you out.
Out to another dreamlike cave with a waterfall and a pond!
The site is a complete maze of part jungle, part concrete courtyards and numerous tunnels winding in and out.
The most intricate stone carvings all reflecting Gothic design and architecture.
I’m telling you, I took a train out of Lisbon and ended up in Rivendell.
The next and most Insta-worthy attraction in Sintra is the Pena Palace. A Romanticist castle perched on top of a hill with whimsical design and sweeping views of Sintra and Lisbon below.
It’s literally like something out of this world! So much colour, design, patterns; a feast for the eyes. The castle’s history began in the Middle Ages when a chapel dedicated to Our Lady of Pena was built on the top of this hill. It is believed that further construction took place after an apparition of the Virgin Mary.
The whole site has architectural influences from an eclectic mix of the Neo-Gothic, Neo-Manueline, Neo-Islamic and Neo-Renaissance.
With forty minutes on the train and cheap as chips tickets, Sintra is the perfect day trip out of Lisbon! It’s also honestly one of the most beautiful places I have ever visited.
I arrived in Portugal with fairly minimal knowledge of the country, its history and culture but have been so amazed by my experience. The city of Lisbon, the charming town Sintra, the people, the food and let’s not forget the incredible weather have all quite easily put Portugal at the top of the list of places I’ve visited!
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