Fairytale landscapes, medieval palaces, bright-colored castles and a beautiful coastline: Sounds perfect for everyone, who wants to escape the sad winter. Only 16 miles from Lisbon you find a little town called Sintra in Portugal. I have never been to this country before. All the historical buildings and beautiful nature parks combined into one place make this town the best place to have a little, culture-packed break from the city.
A TOWN FOR ALL CASTLES LOVERS
Okay, who else wanted to become princess as a child? Because not only is Sintra very nice for a beautiful walk to the past with its impressing castles, there is also a lot of history to discover in this small town. Sintra used to be the weekend place for many royal families in the 19th-century. So you’ll be amazed by all the beautiful Palacios you can find there: the Castelo dos Mouros, the Pena National Palace and the Sintra National Palace. When you walk around the small town you get mesmerized by its beautiful architecture. So many tourists from all over the world come to here due to its ancient Palasts, which are really all over this beautiful town and the nature parks. UNESCO has made Sintra to a World Heritage Site, which makes it even more popular for history freaks like me.
WHERE TO STAY
We stayed in one of the nicest Hotels in town, Tivoli Palacio Seteais Sintra Hotel, which has the front facade of Seteais Palace that used to be visited by the Royal family. It’s absolutely stunning! This hotel is without a doubt one of the best places to be when you go to Sintra. Beautiful architecture, high ceilings, luxurious and comfortable rooms, beautifully decorated lounges complete with murals and frescoes, the charming and lush gardens and the pool with an impressive view on the ocean. Amazing!
And for everyone who doesn’t want to afford the Tivoli Palacio Seteais Sintra Hotel, there are many small venues all around town, which are also very nice. Like the Quinta de SAO Tadeu. A small boutique hotel on the bottom of the hill of Sintra run by a very nice family. An absolutely gorgeous hotel with a nice breakfast room and beautiful bedrooms facing the valley of the hill.
FIRST STOP: THE GARDEN OF QUINTA DA REGALEIRA
One of my favorite sightseeing spots was the Quinta da Regaleira. The Palace was built in the last years of the monarchy. The current owner António Augusto Carvalho Monteiro had an Italian set-designer, Luigi Manini, create his gardens, sculptures and buildings. The walk around the garden is a lot of fun because it has so much diversity in it: you can find romantic Gazebo’s, little waterfalls and underground paths which lead you to different exits around the garden.
SECOND STOP: THE TOWN PALACE
Another place to definitely visit is the National Palace of Sintra also known as the Town Palace. It is a medieval Royal Palace which was built in the 15th century. With its white facade, wall paintings and white towers it is a highlight in Sintra. I personally loved the main courtyard the most, with all the tile decorations and small window details. I could have sat there for hours reading a book. It is known to be the best persevered Palace in Portugal. So you definitely have to see it!
THIRD STOP: PALACE OF MONSERRATE
Another place I can highly recommend is the Park and Palace of Monserrate. It has the perfect combination of nature and is one of the most stunning Palaces I have ever seen, with a combination from Indian influences and gothic architecture. With beautiful tiles and round arches, the hallways of the Palace feels like somewhere in India. In former times, this palace housed some wealthy Englishman and was mentioned in a few of Byron’s poems.
AND IN THE END: A WALK AT THE BEACH
For all of you who enjoy history but also want to relax I have the perfect spot for you: Adraga Beach. Especially for all surfer dudes it is a great beach to hang out and enjoy the waves. The beach is only 20 minutes away from Sintra and is absolutely impressive. It has great waves and a beautiful beach to relax. Even though it is a bit cold at the moment, put on your wetsuit and hit the waves. And for all of you who don’t surf, it is absolutely worth stopping by there. And watching the sunset, of course.
At the moment it has around 14 degrees with no cloud in the sky. So for everyone who wants to get a away from the dark snowy winter, I can highly recommend you book your flight to Portugal and visit this beautiful place.
Adress: Quinta de S.Tadeu, Rua Carlos Masset s/n, 2719-221 Sintra, Portugal
Tivoli Palacio Seteais Sintra Hotel, Rua Barbosa Du Bocage 8, 2710-517 Sintra, Portugal
Photos: Karla Alexander, Helena Schoeller, Family Oschmann, Tivoli Palacio Setais -minorhotels