Sintra is located 20 kilometer west of Lisbon. From the center of Lisbon, you can take a train. The road from Lisbon to Sintra leads through an urbanised area, with big appartment blocks. As soon as you approach Sintra, another world opens : a world of kings and palaces and rich families who built their luxurious quintas to be close to the kings.
The historic centre of Sintra (Vila Velha) is dominated by the Palacio Real,
of which the two cone-shaped chimneys are most impressive. The palace was built at the end of the 14th Century by King John I, probably on the remains of an old Morish castle. In the beginning of the 16th century it was rebuilt by King Manuel I, in a mix of different styles. The pictures below give a small impression of what you can expect.
In 1809, the English romantic poet, Lord Byron stayed in Sintra and called her 'the most beautiful of all cities'. In one of the narrow streets of the old historic centre, you can find a commemorative plaque.
In the Rua das Padarias you will find the
Pastelaria Periquita, where you can buy the travesseiros, almond cookies. Besides these, Sintra is also known for its queijadas,
Sintra is located on the edge of the Serra de Sintra, an area of 40 square
kilometer between Sintra, Cascais and the West Coast, where you will find lots of hikes. The abundant rainfall in this area, combined with the high temperatures, are an ideal climate for an abundant vegetation of oaks, ceders and eucalyptus trees.
Further things to see in the area :
- Parque de Monserrate : park around an palace in Eastern style from the 18th Century, where Lord Byron wrote one of his famous poems "Childe Harold's Pilgrimage".
In 1856 it was restored to become the summer residence of the Cook family.
- Convento de Capuchos : a Franciscan cloister dating from the 16th Century, by its simplicity a real contrast with the many palaces in the neighbourhood. In the vicinity of the cloister, you can make a beautiful hike along various small chapels and hermitages.
- Peninha : a mountain top(486 meter) with a beautiful view on the Praia de Guincho.
- Cabo da Roca : the most western point of the European main land, with a stunning view on the neighbouring cliffs. .
Hike from Sintra to Santa Maria (1,2 km)
This short hike starts at the Palacio Royal. Take the Escadinhas Felix
Nunes - the shopping street and the Rua de Ferraria , upwards, where you can enjoy the view on the Palacio from the Miradores (2)
- Follow the Rua Marechal Saldanhan, pass the Fonte da Sabuga (3)
until you reach the Igreja de Santa Maria (4).
Go down via the Travessa de Santa Maria, cross the Largo Sousa Brandão and go into the Rua das
Murtas. Pass the Volta do Duche (5) -
19th century bathing houses - and the
Parque da Liberdade (6), where you can visit the
- Walk back to the Palacio Real via the Volta do Duche, while passing the Morish Fountain (8) and the Toy Museum (9), where about 20,000
toys collected by the Arbués Moreira foundation are exhibited.
- If you visit Sintra from Lisbon, you can take a train at the Rossio Station (near the metro station Rossio / Restauradores) in the center of the town. Trains run quarterly (of every half an hour during weekends). Upon arrival in Sintra, you can continue on foot or take the hop-on. hop-off bus 434 that will bring you to the city center, Pena and the Morish Castle.
- For a visit to Sintra, you will need at least a day. A visit to either one of the Palacio Real, the Castello dos Mauros and / or Pena take at least two hours.