- Location: On the Atlantic Coast at a northwestward distance of 35 km from Lisbon
- Time to Visit: Throughout the year, preferably in June July during Sintra Festival
- Preferred Timing: Daytime
- How to reach: By train from Lisbon; alternatively by road.
- Nearest Rail Station: Sintra
- Nearest International Airport: Lisbon Portela Airport
- Time for sightseeing 2 days
Sintra, Portugal on the Atlantic Coast has been a source of inspiration to poets, historians, archaeologists, and tourists. This noble town surrounded by woods and numerous clear springs has been aptly described as ‘one of the loveliest, rarest places that nature’s prodigious hand has created’ by poet Afonso Lopes Vieira. The hill and crag formation of the coastline makes Sintra a virtual paradise on the earth’s surface. The topography of Sintra in Portugal has attracted settlers since prehistoric times. Archaeological findings testify the existence of settlements in Sintra since protohistoric and prehistoric periods.
In addition to its fabulous relief, the Old Town of Sintra in Portugal has been termed ‘the most pleasing in Europe’ by Lord Byron. Typical villages, ancient manor houses, archaeological remains from the Roman period, and churches with personalized designs characterize this coastal city. Plan a vacation to poet Robert Southey’s ‘most blessed spot on the whole inhabitable globe’. This entire city is a UNESCO world heritage site and a must-visit destination in your European itinerary.
The Palaces in Sintra
Visit the National Palace in the Old Quarter for its marvelous combination of Mudejar, Manueline, Gothic, and Renaissance architectures. Apart from the architectural design, the ‘azulejos’ or indigenous ceramic tiles belonging to the 15th and 16th centuries will attract your attention. The Royal Chapel and the halls and patios of this palace are decorated with these colorful ‘azulejos’. From outside you can recognize National Palace by its dual spire-shaped chimneys.
Palacio de Pena is a typical Portuguese archetype constructed in the mid 19th century. Located in the Serra de Sintra or hilly regions of this city, it blends majestically with the natural green background. Elements of Bavarian architecture in the Wagnerian style add to the exclusivity of this Castelo de Pena. This palace houses the Manueline chapel and cloister of the Renaissance period.
Another palace which you must visit is Palacio de Queluz, famous for its opulent interiors, and luxurious gardens. This palace begun by Dom Pedro III in 1747 and completed in 1760 by Dona Maria has often been compared to Versailles Palace in Paris.
Activities in Sintra
In Sintra, you get a complete vacation filled with beach visits, golfing, countryside tours and tour to Cabo da Roca. Visit Cabo da Roca, the westernmost point of Europe and feast your eyes on the Atlantic Ocean from an elevation of 140 meters. Go to the beaches and enjoy delicacies prepared from crabs, lobsters, squids, clams, octopus, mussels and cuttlefish. Adraga, Grande, Macau, and Magioto are the notable beaches in Sintra. If you love golfing, then Sinatra with 13 world-class golf courses in its proximity is the perfect place to go to. Quinta da Marinha, Oitavos, Penha Longa, Mosteiro, and Estoril are the renowned courses in Sintra.
If you are a collector of handicrafts and artifacts go on a countryside trip to Eduardo Azenha for potteries, Manuel Silvestre Lobinho for rope items, or Pero Pinheiro and Montelavar for marble and stone artifacts.
It is seldom that you will find a place comparable to Sintra in Portugal which offers a complete, entertaining, informative, and invigorating vacation all at the same time.
Related Links :
http://in.youtube.com/watch?v=s8Ti8sohBFY: For a view of the quiet and peaceful town of Sintra, along with views of the most notable architectures, watch this slideshow!
http://in.youtube.com/watch?v=wNku0YHrxoo: This is a real traveler’s video of a visit to the tranquil and historic Portuguese town of Sintra. Enjoy!