Sintra is a picturesque Portuguese town that is set amidst the pine covered hills of the Serra de Sintra. This slightly cooler climate enticed the nobility and elite of Portugal, who constructed exquisite palaces, extravagant residences and decorative gardens.
Contained within Sintra there are more than 10 national monuments, which are spread across the hills of the region and that include ornate palaces like the Gothic styled National Palace, that was extensively used by the nobility of Portugal between the 15th and 19th centuries and the Palácio da Pena, the standout monument of Sintra. Also perched above the city is the Moorish fortress Castelo dos Mouros, whose winding battlements and towers were originally built in the Middle Ages, and decorative houses, of which the following are worth mentioning, in particular the Regaleira Palace and its gardens, filled with mystic symbolism and hidden features which include secret tunnels, Gothic towers and stone fortified walls, Seteais, a beautiful neoclassical palace that follows the Romantic architectural style found throughout Sintra and Monserrate, which styling was strongly influenced by the North African and Indian designs and was constructed and owned by three notable Englishmen, who used the house as a summer retreat. And we shouldn’t forget the austere Convento dos Capuchos, which creation was associated with the Portuguese Viceroy of India, D. João de Castro, and his family, but became a pious community of reclusive clergy that continued to occupy the humble spaces in the complex, until the religious orders were abolished in Portugal, immortalized in a poem by the English writer Lord Byron.
In the historic centre there are pretty cobbled streets lined with traditional shops and cafes, in particular those who sell the traditional Sintra cakes – travesseiros and queijadas – a landmark in Sintra and a must stop for those who visit this charming village.
A 100-year-old tramway links Sintra with this stretch of coast, providing a unique ride through the lush greenery before you are deposited at your beach destination, head west from Sintra town centre, such as Praia Grande, Adraga, Praia das Maçãs and Ursa.
Along the coast, for every fishing village along this staggeringly beautiful coastline, you will find fantastic seafood restaurants with lots of delicious fish and seafood meals to try.