Sintra (Portugal)

Medieval castles, royal parklands and forested mountains surround historic streetscapes just a short drive from the fresh seafood and surf of the Portugal coast.

Sintra is a mountain region a short train ride from Lisbon with Moorish castles, royal palaces, aristocratic estates and manicured gardens. Make the scenic 30-minute drive from Sintra to Adraga Beach, known for its restaurant terraces and fresh seafood. 

Start your adventure in Sintra in the Sintra National Palace near the center of town, easily located by its two distinctive domed chimneys. Explore the 1,000-year-old history of the palace from Moorish times to the house arrest of mad King Alfonso VI in the 17th century. The Moorish style was carried over in later extensions with decorative geometric tiles.

Wander through the famous Pena National Palace, a 19th-century pink-and-yellow palace that lies on a hill overlooking Sintra. Discover its opulent rooms with original Edwardian and late-Victorian furniture, paintings and decoration. The palace is surrounded by forested parkland created by Ferdinand II and features exotic trees from Japan, Australia, China and North America. 

Go to the 9th-century Moorish Castle on the south side of Sintra for panoramic views over the Pena and Sintra Palaces and across the town. King Ferdinand II, a lover of medieval history, restored the castle in the 20th century. 

Each of Sintra’s many historic buildings has its own distinctive style and charm. Visit the 18th-century National Palace of Queluz and the eclectic 19th-century Palace of Monserrate.

Explore tiny rooms constructed using cork at the Convento dos Capuchos (Convent of the Capuchos). Picturesque forest, mossy boulders and carved rock tables and chairs surround the convent. 

Explore the nearby Sintra-Cascais Natural Park on foot, by mountain-bike or on horseback. Continue west through the park for a day of surfing and seafood on the coast. The area is known for its goose-barnacles and other fresh seafood dishes. Enjoy sunsets over the stunning Adraga Beach from restaurant terraces.

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