Visiting the town of Sintra was the highlight of our recent trip to Portugal. It’s an easy 40-minute train ride from Lisbon and well worth the visit if you’re staying in the city for more than a couple of days.
The palaces and gardens of Sintra, perched on hills amid lush green forests, were once the royal family’s summer retreat. They feel as if they belong in another world, a world full of colour and magic.
For a more detailed look at the palaces, read my guide. In the meantime I thought I’d share some of my photos of this extraordinary place.
We all fell in love with the Palace of Pena, which was like something out of a fairytale or the Kingdom of Sweets from ‘The Nutcracker’. We loved the bright colours of its walls
and all the details in its design, from the red clock tower to the beautiful tiles and the intricately carved stonework and turrets.
The boys spent ages climbing in and out of the towers.
There were images of knights in the tiles and carved into the stone.
We really liked the Triton carved under the big bay window, glaring down at us with his gruesome face, long elf-like ears and fishy feet.But the trouble with Pena Palace is that after seeing it, everything else seems a little drab and ordinary.
The National Palace of Sintra isn’t nearly as colourful on the outside but venture inside and you’ll find stunning painted ceilings and beautiful tiled walls.
The other highlight of our trip to Sintra were the magical gardens at the Quinta da Regaleira, a wonderland filled with fountains and stone doors.
There were Rapunzel Towers to climb up and carvings of strange creatures everywhere we looked.
There were deep wells and stepping stones across the water.
But best of all were the secret underground tunnels, so dark that you couldn’t explore them without a torch.
The Palaces of Sintra are open daily. Take a look at the Visit Lisbon website for more information about visiting Sintra.
Disclosure: We were very kindly given free admission to the sights mentioned but all opinions are honest and my own.