The streets lined with tiled cafes and ornate churches are pretty enough, but hit the Riberia and you’ll get mesmerised by the Duoro and the scene stealing Bridge. You’ll want to capture every panorama, then start it all again once the light changes or you walk along a few feet.
I’ve previously posted about some of my experiences in Sintra, specifically my visit to Quinta De Regaleira, one of my favourite places in the world, but there is another spot almost as magical in this mountain oasis of fairytale wonder – the Pena National Palace. Situated in the magical town of Sintra, a place full of palaces, castles and not much else 30 minutes outside of Lisbon in Portugal, this is a UNESCO world Heritage Site not to miss. The palace dates back to the middle ages, but has none of the harsh stone and rubble you may imagine – instead it’s an explosion of colourful turrets and scrambled architecture like none I’ve seen before. The palace’s history mirrors that of the country – wars, invasions, falling monarchies all impacted the habitation of this retreat in the clouds.
The world is full of beautiful things and places to explore, but every now and then you discover somewhere that resonates so strongly with you that it simply fills you with awe. I didn’t really know much about Sintra, a historic town in the hills surrounding Lisbon, before I spent a day there. Reading online it seemed like the most popular trip out from the city, and while I was only away for a long weekend it was my first time in Portugal and I wanted to fit in as much as possible – but nothing, not even the impressiveness of the Google image results and visitor reviews really prepared me for how much I loved Sintra. The town is effectively a collection of elaborate Palaces and Mansions, and amongst the regal fairytale backdrop Quinta de Regaleira is the dark but alluring villain, a gothic and ornate estate filled with tricks and illusions at every turn.