2nd November, 2020
Once in your lifetime…
In this instalment, we discover the lesser known gem of Sintra in Portugal.
Visit fairytale Sintra
While most visitors flock to Lisbon, Portugal’s capital, those in the know head for Sintra, just one hour’s drive away.
Lord Byron, the most famous and flamboyant of the British Romantic poets, described Sintra as a ‘Glorious Eden’. With its exquisite parks, exotic gardens, romantic palaces and dramatic castles, it’s not hard to see why.
UNESCO World Heritage-listed Sintra is like a fairy tale in stone. Look up from the town centre and you’ll see the walls of its precipitous medieval castle snaking up and down the mountain ridge. It’s a spectacular sight when seen from below, but the views from the top are even more impressive. It’s a long walk up, but it’s well worth the effort!
For walks on more level ground, head to Pena Palace. An opulent patchwork of brightly painted turrets, towers, buttresses and bastions, it’s like a Disneyland Castle, only this one is real. Surrounding the Palace is an equally fantastical forest of lush ferns, North American sequoia, eucalyptus and pine trees. Pena Park is criss-crossed with paths and walkways leading to gardens, fountains, bridges and streams – pure heaven on a warm summer’s day.
As if all these weren’t enough, Quita da Regaleira is an extravagant, Gothic-style mansion in the centre of town. With its tapering turrets, grotesque gargoyles and deep, dark, mysteriously named 88-foot-deep Initiation Well, it’s an adventure playground of an altogether different kind.
Romantic, beautiful, colourful and bold, this storybook town has to be seen to be believed.
See Sintra for yourself on our Lisbon, the Alentejo and the Portuguese Riviera tour.
The opinions expressed are those of the author and are not held by Saga unless specifically stated.
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