|Looking down from the Moorish Castle|
Castelo dos Mouros (Moorish Castle)
|Looking down toward Quinta da Regaleira|
Emerging from a deeply-wooded forest, the castle commands a hilltop that is surrounded by fog more often than not, a mystical vantage point from which to take in the views of the landscape below: the trains arriving at the station, Romantic-era estates sprawling around, and the Pena National Palace perched on a nearby summit in the distance.
Palácio Nacional da Pena (Pena National Palace)
Thankfully the inside is open to the public, and it gives us an interesting peek into the tastes and décor of European royalty in the late 19th century—from kitchens and chinaware to bedrooms and parlors.
Palácio Nacional de Sintra (Sintra National Palace)
|The palace’s whimsical chimneys|
|Alhambra-style tiled walls|
|Twisting stairs, Sintra National Palace|
How to get there and aroundDozens of fast, affordable trains depart daily from Lisbon’s Rossio train station to Sintra—but make sure to wait until the train stops at the end of the line; if you get off at Portela de Sintra you’re gonna have to hoof it into town.
At the main Sintra station, you can hop on the 434 bus operated by Scotturb that runs in a one-way path as follows: train station → Sintra city → Moorish Castle → Pena National Palace → Sintra city. Get the five-euro hop-on-hop-off ticket that is good for one complete circuit of the journey around Sintra and the surrounding hills; while it is possible to hike up to all the major destinations, the hills are strenuous and the trails time-consuming.
If you’ve ever been to Sintra before, what did you think of it? A break from city life or tourist trap? Share your thoughts below in the comments!
For more pictures, check out my Flickr album.