If your wish is to feel transported to a magical world, you must take a day trip from Lisbon to Sintra. A quick thirty minute ride by train or car from Lisbon, this Portuguese town is where the rich would build their palaces. These extravagant homes are set in the foothills of the Sintra Mountains and it’s hard to deny the beauty this place possesses.
The streets are cobblestone and restaurants and shops line the streets. We made it our mission to visit a few of the palaces, but we were excited to just wander around and take it all in.
While we spent some time at the Palace of Sintra, we had our hearts set on exploring Quinta da Regaleira. This palace felt like a true fairy tale setting. The palace itself was impressive, but it was the gardens that got most of our attention. There were towers to climb into, underground tunnels, and waterfalls. It was like an adult playground and we spent a few hours meandering through the property.
After enjoying our time exploring the gardens and all their interesting features, we found ourselves hungry, so we headed to a cafe set up in the hills. Before we got there, however, we stopped in one of the shops for a Ginjinha tasting. This is a cherry liquor, which is often had in chocolate cups.
Then, we found our way to a cafe with a view and indulged in a long, leisurely lunch fit for kings and queens. Of course, there was rosé involved. After the rosé, we thought it would be a great idea to hike to another castle, Castelo dos Mouros. Of course, we didn’t take our outfits in account for the hike.
We hiked a bit until we realized that we’d never make it before it closed, so we headed back into town and enjoyed the castle’s beauty from afar.
We also missed the Pena Palace, so I will need to make a trip back to Sintra in the future.
Since it was getting late, we figured we’d take the next train back to Lisbon. While waiting we got hungry and some of us (read: me) were getting cranky, though we didn’t have time to sit and eat. Luckily, we found a restaurant that sold us cheese, bread, and wine to go, which changed my mood quite quickly. We enjoyed our perfect little meal on the train ride home after a magical day exploring Sintra.
If you want to see it all, I’d suggest leaving much earlier than we did, or even spending a night in town. No matter what your plans, if you’re in Lisbon, take a thirty minute train or car ride to this magical town, you’ll be happy you did.
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