A fairytale in Sintra, Portugal
The penultimate day of my tour of Lisbon was special. I spent a day in Sintra, a town 20 miles west of Lisbon. I set off from Lisbon from one of the most eye catching train stations in the world – Rossio train station in Baixa – and within 40 minutes I was in Sintra. The journey was pleasant with some of the most street art strewn views I had ever seen. Every inch of every protective barrier between the train tracks and residential areas had graffiti adornments.
Upon arrival in Sintra, I did what I would advice others to do. Get on the local tour bus from Sintra station. It costs a few Euros and stops at the major attractions as it winds it way, first into the Sintra town centre where the Sintra National Palace is located then onwards and uphill to the Moors Castle, Pena National Palace and other spectacular attractions. You can get off ,see what you want to see, and get on the next bus with the same ticket. They are pretty regular.
Sintra is a UNESCO listed town. The sheer number of Palaces, Castles and historical Mansion in the town is unique. the town reminded me of the other blue-blooded connected town near Lisbon – Cascais. Sintra was where, flushed with wealthy and eager to escape the hustle of Lisbon, royals came to seek respite. A British Lord, Lord Byron, who legend has it, missed a ship to Malta and mistakenly ended up in Lisbon once described Sintra as a “glorious Eden”. In fact he once wrote of Sintra “Oh Christ! it is a goodly sight to see/What heaven hath done for this delicious land!/What fruits of fragrance blush on every tree!/What goodly prospects o’er the hills expand!”
Sintra town centre itself is quaint with little shops and fine restaurants. Sintra National Palace dominates the city centre and worth visiting. Quinta da Regaleira an estate, The Castle of the Moors, The Monserrate Palace and my favorite Pena National Palace are all attractions that ought to be seen.
Pena National Palace