Sintra Tourist Guide
Situated deep in the mountains some 30 km north-west of Lisbon, the UNESCO World Heritage site of Sintra is the most romantic place in Portugal. Lying below the ruins of an 8th Century Moorish castle, Sintra’s fairytale palaces and dreamy ancestral homes creep out of lush undergrowth, giving this area an ethereal quality that is far-removed from the hustle and bustle of Lisbon or the cosmopolitan resorts of neighbouring Cascais and Estoril. We hope this tourist guide to Sintra helps you in choosing to experience it for yourself.
The haunting beauty of Sintra’s misty mountains, trickling streams of water and rich vegetation have inspired and attracted visitors since time immemorial. The Celts and Romans revered its moonlike qualities, Moorish princes made it their home, Portuguese kings and the nobility made it a summer retreat and numerous poets and authors have found solace and inspiration in an area that Lord Byron described as his “glorious Eden.”
The mystical and romantic allure of Sintra has inspired the quirky architecture that now constitutes one of its major attractions: the Palacio Nacional de Sintra, with its emblematic conical chimneys, is a fascinating amalgam of successive architectural styles that houses the largest collection of Mudéjar tiles in the country; the fairytale domes, turrets and drawbridges of the extravagant Palácio da Pena were the result of Queen Maria II’s Germanic husband’s wish to recreate a Bavarian-style castle with Portuguese architectural influence; the fascinating and phantasmagorical Quinta da Regaleira, complete with initiation well, grottoes and mythological symbols and the oriental-styled palace and exotic gardens of Monserrate, containing over 3,000 species of plants and designed by imported Kew head-gardener, are the most notable of Sintra’s architectural treasures.
Sintra’s historical town centre is a listed UNESCO world heritage site. It is made up of a charming maze of steep, narrow streets lined with quaint little shops and fine examples of old palatial homes hiding behind lichen-covered walls. The famous toy museum is located in this area while local pastry shops provide the famous Sintra ‘queijadas’ (cheese pastries) and ‘travesseiros’ (egg and almond pastries).
Sintra possesses a number of prestigious hotels, some of which are situated in the surrounding hills. A centenary tram ride takes one through these luscious hills on the way down to the coast, stopping off at various picturesque villages on the way.
A trip to Sintra is a step back in time. When planning a trip here, be prepared to leave behind all the commotion of modern-day urban life as you step inside a world of magic and romance and feel the inspiration of Nature. Portugal-live’s portfolio of charming hotels will provide just the place to sit back and feel the aura of Sintra.