Aristocrats in Sintra

We left the cork trees in Évora for Sintra, NW of Lisbon, Portugal, on 19 October. We had a beautiful Airbnb villa apartment for our week-long stay overlooking our little city to the Atlantic Ocean. Sintra is where the aristocrats of Portugal built their pastel colored homes to rest and relax closer to the sea. Sounds good to me!

Castelo dos Mouros (Moorish Castle)
We spent a day on the hillside above Sintra walking the steep, ankle twisting cobblestone streets, with hundreds of stairs thrown in - 1400 to be exact as determined by Fitbit! Our first destination was the Moorish Castle. The ramparts and views were spectacular.

Palácio de Pena (built mid to late 1800s)
Built in the 1800s on the site of a 16th century monastery, this colorful palace and massive woodland park sits high above Sintra and the Moorish Castle. Topped by beautiful chimneys and colorful tile work, it’s a marvel to look at.

Quinta de Regaleira (1904-1910)
Eccentric, odd, weird, whatever you want to call this place, it could also be called entertaining. I would liken it to a maze built into a hillside with secret passages that don’t end up where you think they might, and tunnels and stairways leading nowhere. I think the mansion and gardens were built with aMAZEment in mind. Case in point – D headed down into one tunnel and I was supposed to meet him on one of the central plazas. Thing is, he never showed up, so I continued on and that’s when I had the oh, got it moment – this is the idea here. Actually, I think the whole place could be even more fun if you separate and see where you end up. We enjoyed the shade it provided on a warm day in Sintra and we didn’t have to travel far – just glad D’s not still finding his way out.

On a Sunday drive, we followed the Atlantic Coast to see the rows upon rows of waves moving in. The coastline on the western side of Portugal is a combination of large smooth rocks in the north near Porto, sandy beaches, then rugged and rocky in this area, followed by more sand. We stopped for a click of the camera at Cabo da Roca – the westernmost point of continental Europe, and continued down the coast to Cascais before looping back around to our apartment in Sintra.

Lisbon – Even though we were only a 40-minute train ride away, we chose not to visit Lisbon on this trip. Lisbon is a big metropolitan city spread out over a number of hillside neighborhoods. While we caught a glimpse as we drove into Sintra, we know in order to truly appreciate the large city, it would need more time than a day trip. Plus, after nearly 4 months traveling Europe, we decided it might be best for us to keep to the small towns rather than the hustle-bustle of a city we hadn’t figured out yet.

We left plenty to see and do for a return trip to this area. We enjoyed Sintra and would stay here again. When we checked out of our aristocratic home, we were officially back to being commoners. Oh well, until next time...

Thanks for joining us on our journey.
Stay tuned,