A short 30 minute ride from Lisbon’s Rossio Staion in the Baixa neighborhood, Sintra is a magical little town whose layers of history live on in the looming castles and gardens which characterize it. Although the relaxed character of Lisbon doesn’t necessarily warrant a “getaway”, the fairy tale feel to Sintra is definitely worth experiencing. Ascend to majestic hilltop castles that emerge from vibrant overgrowth to revel in history.
Transformed by King Ferdinand and Queen Maria II from the remains of a monastery damaged in the great earthquake of 1755, Pena Palace is a vibrant castle that stands commandingly atop a hill above Sintra.
This building epitomizes the style of 19th Century Romanticism as it encompasses an eclectic mix of expressions from neo-Renaissance to Islamic.
Castle of the Moors
Built around the 9th century as a fortress, the Castle of the Moors looks out over Sintra and the surrounding areas. Engulfed in fog and dense vegetation, its grounds provide an excellent site for exploration.
Quinta de Regaleira
Completed in the early 20th century, the Quinta de Regaleira is both exquisite and exuberant.
Your imagination will run wild in the park that looks like something out of a Disney movie. Along paths, you’ll discover ponds, fountains, grottoes and wells. Try and spot the symbols that the former owner, Carvalho Monteiro, had placed within the grounds to reflect his ideologies.
This palace, built in the 14th century after the collapse of the Islamic rule in the region, has been home to Portuguese royalty for centuries.
Tour the palace for a peek into what royal life was like in the Middle Ages.On the hunt for more picturesque castles? Check out our 5 Can’t-Miss Castles in Europe post- featuring some of the castles that inspired Walt Disney.
*A special thanks to Erica Connolly for many of the photos above!