The hills and surrounding area of Sintra, have been classified by Unesco as a world heritage site due to their cultural significance as well as natural beauty.
|Moorish Fountain (Fonte Mourisca)|
|Castelo dos Mouros (Moorish Castle) on top of the hill, as seen from the centre of Sintra|
From these ruins it´s a short walk to the Pena Palace (Palácio da Pena), which was built in 1839 by a German nobleman - Dom Ferdinand of Saxe-Coburg-Gotha, who became King Fernando II of Portugal, due to his marriage to Queen Mary II. The palace built by a German architect, Baron Eschwege, was modeled on Bavarian palaces. The entry fee is expensive (13.50Euros), so it´s only worthwhile if you have a few hours to visit the huge gardens and the inside of the palace.
|(photo from Wikipedia)|
|The entrance gates to the Pena Palace and gardens|
|Palácio da Pena (Pena Palace)|
In the centre of Sintra you can see the National Palace or Royal Palace of Sintra (Palácio Nacional ou Paço Real) with its two huge white chimneys. It was built in the 14th century, and was used as a summer house for Portuguese kings since the early 14th century. New wings were added over the centuries and the design became somewhat haphazard with a mix of various styles. The interior has some of the oldest and most valuable tiles in Portugal. It is now used as as Museum and each room has an interesting story to be discovered.
|National Palace of Sintra|
Monserrate - a romantic botanical garden with a Victorian house. The gardens were first landscaped by a wealthy Englishman, William Beckford - in the 18th century when he rented the place. Later another wealthy Englishman, Sir Frances Cook - had the mansion built and transformed the gardens installing lawn, camellias and sub-tropical trees from all over the world.
Quinta da Regaleira (Regaleira Farm) - in the historical centre of Sintra, it is a Unesco heritage site. Designed by an Italian architect for a wealthy Brazilian merchant in the beginning of the 20th century. The gardens have lakes, fountains, terraces and the mansion is a mixture of various styles with turrets, towers and tiles.
Other attractions in Sintra are the Toy Museum and the Modern Art Museum.
And while you are in Sintra try a chocolate cup with a tot of sour cherry liqueur - "ginja or ginjinha". You can get it in Lisbon as well. Delicious!
My family and I had a thoroughly enjoyable day visiting historic, romantic and beautiful places, and of course I will have to return with plenty of time to visit what I couldn´t visit now!