The Incredible Old Village of Sintra

Portugal, Sintra

Sintra, many times called a "Portuguese fairy tale", is a UNESCO World Heritage Site, blooming with tourists almost all year long and for very obvious reasons, made visible just by skimming through a tourism pamphlet with pictures of the area. A historic site full of ancient tales, architecture, and beautiful monuments which contrast with the vast amount of green of the surrounding forests and mountains.

Terrace, Garden, Summer, Entrance, View, Surroundings, Communal Areas, Building, Balcony, Daytime, Kids Area, Sports & Activities, Autumn, Nighttime, Stairs, Restaurant, Spring, Television, Outdoor Pool, Lounge

This route starts at the Sintra train station. We chose this location in case you are staying in the area of Lisbon, which has trains to this exact train station, which tends to be the case with most tourists. This way, you can follow this route along on your phone from an easy starting point.

Terrace, Entrance, Garden, Summer, View, Surroundings, Balcony, Building, Kids Area, Spring, Stairs, Communal Areas, Sports & Activities, Winter, Outdoor Pool, Daytime, Autumn, Logo, Golf Course, Restaurant

One of the first things you'll notice when you get to this area is not only the typical architecture of the colourful houses, but also the vast amount of surrounding nature. The views this Sintra Mountain ("Serra de Sintra") provides are unbelievably beautiful.

Garden, Entrance, Summer, Kids Area, Terrace, Golf Course, Surroundings, Fountain, Daytime, Building, Sports & Activities, Yoga, Nighttime, Wedding, View, People, Spring, Stairs, Communal Areas, Balcony
Summer, Garden, Spring, Terrace, Surroundings, Wedding, View, Entrance, Building, Daytime, Autumn, Yoga, Kids Area, Communal Areas, Water Park, Water Sports, Sports & Activities, Nighttime, Animals, Outdoor Pool

The architecture of this area is typically a mix of Manueline and Moorish styles, which will be highlighted further down this route.

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This beautiful building you will encounter now is actually the Sintra Town Council ("Câmara Municipal de Sintra) building.

Entrance, Terrace, View, Surroundings, Building, Summer, Daytime, People, Garden, Kids Area, Wedding, Communal Areas, Stairs, Nighttime, Logo, Animals, Television, Sports & Activities, Balcony, Reception

The twin chimneys you see here are actually to Sintra what the Eiffel Tower is to Paris, and are representative of this town. They are part of the Sintra National Palace.

Terrace, Summer, Garden, View, Surroundings, Entrance, Building, Spring, Communal Areas, Autumn, Stairs, Kids Area, Daytime, Wedding, Sports & Activities, Balcony, Winter, Yoga, Details, Food & Beverages

The Sintra Palace has Moorish origins, but was expanded between 1261 and 1325 by D.Dinis, and then further enlarged by D. João I who added the kitchens in the 15th century.

Entrance, Stairs, Details, Casino, Wardrobe, Building, Reception, Logo, Balcony, Hallway, Gift Shop, Daytime, Communal Areas, Animals, Surroundings, People, Restaurant, Fountain, Nighttime, In-Room Kitchenette

Finally, the palace got its Manueline traces by D.Manuel I in the 16th century.

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The "Queijadas da Sapa" or Sapa Pastries are iconic pastries from Sintra that many tourists and locals travel to this exact store for. Definitely worth a try, these pastries are made in real time inside this café (which is actually a lot larger than it looks) and are always warm and ready to be indulged in.

Garden, Surroundings, Terrace, Fountain, Communal Areas, Kids Area, Entrance, View, Outdoor Pool, Building, Spring, Stairs, Summer, Reception, Sports & Activities, Restaurant, Hot Tub, Daytime, Animals, Autumn

Throughout your way up to the National Palace you will notice a wonderful collection of statues, many of which have very interesting descriptions and the names.

Garden, Fountain, Terrace, Surroundings, Entrance, Kids Area, Communal Areas, Summer, Animals, Building, Spring, Stairs, Outdoor Pool, Water Park, View, Daytime, Autumn, Golf Course, Yoga, Reception
Summer, Garden, Spring, Autumn, Surroundings, View, Terrace, Kids Area, Yoga, Building, Golf Course, Communal Areas, Internet Area, Television, Water Sports, Entrance, Animals, Daytime, Tennis Court, Bicycling

From here, if you look up carefully, you'll already be able to spot the Moor's Castle ("Castelo dos Mouros").

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You are now getting closer and closer to the National Palace, just keep following the chimney twin towers!

Summer, Garden, Terrace, View, Surroundings, Autumn, Spring, Building, Restaurant, Daytime, Wedding, Sports & Activities, Television, Boat, Food & Beverages, Kids Area, Communal Areas, Entrance, People, Yoga
Stairs, Entrance, Garden, Hallway, Surroundings, Summer, Terrace, Spring, Communal Areas, Wedding, Fountain, Autumn, Daytime, Yoga, Sports & Activities, Beach, Wellness & Spa, Kids Area, Bathroom Shower, View

One of the many wonders of Sintra is its raw, old, and historic nature. Small staircases like these, tiled walls, and rock structures make up the most part of this fairy-tale like location.

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If this is not your first day in Portugal you will by now be familiar with the cute tile signs used to indicate the name of the place/street/parks which can be found throughout the country and will usually, like in this case, include either the town or the country's symbol also in a tile design.

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Next up on this route is the Liberty Park ("Parque da Liberdade") a small park which has a little farm and makes for a wonderful walk. Sometimes, this park hosts small theatrical productions, open-air art expositions, and small concerts which are always free to the public.

Animals, Summer, Surroundings, Kids Area, Autumn, Spring, Entrance, People, Daytime, Fountain, Garden, Golf Course, Fireplace, Restaurant, Television, Sports & Activities, Winter, Snow & Ski Sports, Building, Bicycling

In this picture you can spot two "best-selling" tourist features of Sintra; to the left a horse carriage, which for a fee carries tourists through Sintra and time to experience Sintra the same way one would have some 80 years ago. To the right, a more modern and redder version of the sightseeing methods, the hop-on hop-off bus.

Entrance, Reception, Restaurant, Building, Animals, Food & Beverages, Garden, Terrace, Logo, Surroundings, Fountain, Autumn, Gift Shop, Communal Areas, Summer, Bar, Lobby, Internet Area, Daytime, Spring

Here you can see an example of the aforementioned theatrical productions which sometimes take place at the Liberty Park. In this case they had a production of Romeo and Juliet on the 18th of August (the spring and summer months are when these are most likely to occur).

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Right when you enter the park you'll spot a small map that will show you everything you can find in the park and how to find your way around.

Garden, Fountain, Surroundings, Terrace, Entrance, Summer, Water Sports, Hot Tub, Outdoor Pool, Spring, Kids Area, Stairs, Communal Areas, Golf Course, View, Wellness & Spa, Yoga, Building, Winter, Sports & Activities
Garden, Entrance, Surroundings, Summer, Terrace, Kids Area, View, Stairs, Communal Areas, Wedding, Animals, Restaurant, Spring, Building, Reception, Yoga, Fountain, Golf Course, Autumn, Hallway

These are the gates of the entrance of the park.

Garden, Surroundings, View, Golf Course, Entrance, Building, Fountain, Autumn, Summer, Spring, Terrace, Communal Areas, Stairs, Yoga, Tennis Court, Kids Area, Wedding, Restaurant, Nighttime, Sports & Activities
Garden, Fountain, Surroundings, Entrance, Terrace, Wedding, Kids Area, Communal Areas, Sports & Activities, Summer, View, Boat, Golf Course, Wellness & Spa, Autumn, Outdoor Pool, Restaurant, Stairs, Building, Daytime
Entrance, Wedding, Fountain, Stairs, Terrace, Water Park, Wellness & Spa, Sports & Activities, Summer, Animals, People, Balcony, Daytime, Garden, Outdoor Pool, Communal Areas, Restaurant, Details, Yoga, Logo

Still headed towards the National Palace you'll find beautiful spots such as this fountain, so it is definitely worth taking your time on the walk up, as the beautiful structures that can be found in this area are definitely picture worthy.

Terrace, Entrance, Building, Garden, Surroundings, Nighttime, Summer, Kids Area, Casino, View, Golf Course, Daytime, Communal Areas, Fountain, Water Park, Lounge, Television, People, Bar, Winter
Gift Shop, Entrance, Reception, Communal Areas, Kids Area, Food & Beverages, Animals, Terrace, Stairs, Surroundings, Restaurant, Summer, Bunk Beds, Water Park, Balcony, Golf Course, Bar, Building, Game Room, Minibar

This area is full of little tourist stores that offer the cutest souvenirs, from wallets made of cork (a national symbol) to handwoven hand towels, keychains, and postcards.

Building, Entrance, Garden, Surroundings, Summer, Casino, Daytime, Terrace, Fountain, Nighttime, Autumn, Spring, Communal Areas, Animals, View, Kids Area, Details, Television, People, Water Park
Summer, Terrace, Surroundings, Garden, Daytime, Entrance, Building, Fountain, People, Autumn, Spring, Communal Areas, Wedding, Animals, View, Kids Area, Stairs, Nighttime, Food & Beverages, Sports & Activities

At this point the National Palace is unmissable, and the square in front of it is usually pretty busy with tourists. We recommend checking out the inside if you have enough time on your trip to Sintra, but if you are only in Sintra for a day and can only choose going inside one palace, we recommend the Pena Palace instead as there is a lot more to see.

Entrance, Kids Area, Surroundings, Daytime, Terrace, Summer, Building, People, Boat, Restaurant, Water Sports, Communal Areas, Sports & Activities, Animals, Autumn, Beach, Snow & Ski Sports, Tennis Court, Bar, Television

The local train stops next to the National Palace and does a very beautiful route around Sintra, perfect for families with small children, and is not too expensive.

Logo, Entrance, Gift Shop, Casino, Building, Details, Bicycling, Television, Nighttime, Minibar, Sports & Activities, Coffee Machine, People, Snow & Ski Sports, Internet Area, Daytime, Food & Beverages, Fountain, Reception, Hallway

Another treasure reserved to Portugal is it's world renown Port wine, and right in front of the National Palace you can find this store, that presents to you a selection of the world's best collection of vintage Port.

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Also near the National Palace you'll find this small street, which we highly encourage you explore for its traditional coffee shops containing some of Portugal's best pastries.

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A café you absolutely cannot miss, which is very well known amongst locals, almost goes by unnoticed. With a small entrance of yellow tiles and an iron sign, "Piriquita" has, according to locals, the best "travesseiros," a traditional pastry containing sweet egg creme. Food lovers, this place is a must!

Food & Beverages, Breakfast Buffet, Gift Shop, Restaurant, Garden, Wellness & Spa, Fountain, Casino, Indoor Swimming Pool, Terrace, Bar, Sports & Activities, Stairs, Communal Areas, Lounge, Reception, Hot Tub, Game Room, Autumn, Sauna

I took the liberty of asking the owner if I could take a picture to show you guys. On the second shelf, the long pastries are the famous Travesseiros.

Building, View, Terrace, Surroundings, Summer, Entrance, Autumn, Garden, Kids Area, Details, Communal Areas, Balcony, Spring, Daytime, Stairs, Food & Beverages, Animals, Winter, People, Fountain

I am a huge fan of the tile walls because of the color contrast that covers the town.

Logo, Entrance, Details, Animals, Yoga, Summer, Stairs, Water Sports, Couch, Gift Shop, Golf Course, Reception, Hallway, Bicycling, People, Nighttime, Daytime, Snow & Ski Sports, Bathroom Shower, Indoor Swimming Pool
Entrance, Building, Logo, Details, Summer, Autumn, Restaurant, Surroundings, Daytime, Television, View, Terrace, People, Spring, Stairs, Balcony, Food & Beverages, Golf Course, Boat, Reception

Since Sintra is one of the World Heritages, there is a World Heritage information office right across the palace that hosts the National Palace.

Building, Entrance, Summer, Surroundings, Daytime, Terrace, Garden, Autumn, Nighttime, View, Spring, Fountain, People, Television, Details, Winter, Golf Course, Kids Area, Communal Areas, Sports & Activities
Summer, Garden, Building, Terrace, Entrance, Autumn, Spring, View, Kids Area, Surroundings, Daytime, Food & Beverages, Logo, Communal Areas, Animals, Golf Course, Balcony, People, Details, Television
Entrance, Building, Animals, Daytime, Logo, Summer, Gift Shop, Nighttime, Television, People, Sports & Activities, Casino, Water Sports, Snow & Ski Sports, Bicycling, Autumn, Water Park, Details, Reception, Internet Area

Very close to the National Palace you will also found Sintra's tourism office, where you can get maps and guides (some even for free), ask for directions or clarify any doubts or questions you may have about the area, entrance fees to attractions, etc.

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Further up the road you will run into Lawrence's Restaurant, which is highly recommended by both locals and tourists.

Building, Entrance, Animals, Summer, Logo, Television, Daytime, Autumn, Garden, Sports & Activities, People, Spring, Reception, Details, Wedding, Gift Shop, Water Sports, Surroundings, Yoga, Bicycling

Up next on this route is Quinta da Regaleira, the "Regaleira Farm" in English, which is not a farm but instead a marvellous garden that takes you on a journey back in time and gives Sintra its fairytale-like reputation. With old rock spiral staircases covered in flowers and small ponds, this picture-perfect location is a must for anyone in Sintra! The wine at Quinta da Regaleira is also incredible.

Entrance, Fountain, Stairs, Garden, Terrace, Building, Surroundings, Restaurant, Wedding, Communal Areas, Logo, Autumn, Reception, Details, Wellness & Spa, Summer, Daytime, View, Fireplace, Hallway

Once again, on your way throughout this route keep your eye out for these hidden gems!

Entrance, Summer, Garden, Autumn, Terrace, Kids Area, Wedding, Surroundings, Stairs, Restaurant, Spring, Logo, Communal Areas, Building, Reception, Animals, Hallway, Daytime, Food & Beverages, Sauna
Surroundings, View, Sports & Activities, Summer, Autumn, Garden, Beach, Terrace, Daytime, Building, Spring, Entrance, Kids Area, Communal Areas, Balcony, Stairs, Wedding, Restaurant, Golf Course, Fountain

From here you can already see one of the magical buildings inside Quinta da Regaleira, with its intricate details and incredible architectural design.

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One of the 4 Palaces hop-on hop-off bus happened to be stopped in front of it on our way up, and as the title says this bus does a route throughout the 4 palaces that you'll find in this route, so you can always take that bus to complete this route. The day price ranges at about 12€ with unlimited trips, which is a very good price for this area.

Wedding, Surroundings, Balcony, View, Daytime, Details, Garden, Building, Terrace, Sports & Activities, Spring, Summer, Fountain, Entrance, Autumn, Water Park, Stairs, Restaurant, Tennis Court, Nighttime
Entrance, Stairs, Logo, Animals, Details, Daytime, Reception, Terrace, Surroundings, Fireplace, Hallway, Winter, People, Restaurant, Summer, Garden, Autumn, Spring, Building, Bathroom Shower
Terrace, Garden, Entrance, Balcony, Stairs, Communal Areas, View, Building, Fountain, Surroundings, Summer, Restaurant, Daytime, Spring, Details, Wedding, Food & Beverages, Sports & Activities, Hallway, Lobby
Garden, Surroundings, Golf Course, Summer, Terrace, Spring, Kids Area, Communal Areas, View, Yoga, Entrance, Building, Tennis Court, Animals, Stairs, Autumn, Wedding, Sports & Activities, Beach, Fountain

Next up on the route is the Seteias palace, which is shortly after Quinta da Regaleira.

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The Seteais Palace's construction took place between the years of 1783 and 1787 and was actually built for a Dutch consul named Daniel Gildemeester. This was only possible due to the granting of land by Marquês de Pombal (Marquis of Pombal) to the Dutch consul.

Garden, Golf Course, Surroundings, Summer, Spring, Terrace, Building, Wedding, View, Communal Areas, Entrance, Kids Area, Autumn, Tennis Court, Yoga, Sports & Activities, Stairs, Boat, Reception, Television
Garden, Surroundings, Summer, Building, Terrace, Autumn, Spring, Communal Areas, Golf Course, View, Entrance, Daytime, Sports & Activities, Fountain, Wedding, Kids Area, Casino, Details, Food & Beverages, Stairs

Now, the palace belongs to the Portuguese government (and this has been the case since 1946)and is used as a luxury hotel now since 1954, but many of its original characteristics have been preserved to honor its original beauty.

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Surroundings, Terrace, Entrance, Stairs, View, Beach, Building, Fountain, Summer, Boat, Garden, Daytime, Wedding, Communal Areas, Balcony, Sports & Activities, Restaurant, Water Sports, Golf Course, Hallway

The most fascinating part of this palace, however, hides behind these two statues that you see in the picture.

Summer, Spring, Golf Course, Surroundings, Yoga, Garden, Autumn, View, Daytime, Sports & Activities, Animals, Kids Area, Snow & Ski Sports, Tennis Court, Terrace, Bicycling, Building, Entrance, Fireplace, Communal Areas
View, Surroundings, Summer, Spring, Garden, Golf Course, Autumn, Yoga, Daytime, Terrace, Animals, Building, Communal Areas, Kids Area, Fountain, Sports & Activities, Fireplace, Wedding, Television, Snow & Ski Sports

This is because the Dutch consul chose to build his house on the border of an elevation, from which the vast landscape around the Sintra hills could, and still can, be admired.

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Visiting this view-point is an absolute must as, on a clear day, you can see kilometres off into the distance.

Summer, Surroundings, View, Spring, Autumn, Yoga, Golf Course, Daytime, Garden, Terrace, Sports & Activities, Snow & Ski Sports, Kids Area, Animals, Bicycling, Fireplace, Water Sports, Building, Balcony, Television
Golf Course, View, Garden, Surroundings, Summer, Spring, Autumn, Terrace, Yoga, Building, Animals, Communal Areas, Sports & Activities, Daytime, Kids Area, Wedding, Television, Entrance, Balcony, Fountain
Entrance, Terrace, Kids Area, Summer, Surroundings, Stairs, Garden, View, Daytime, Balcony, Communal Areas, Building, Wedding, Golf Course, Sports & Activities, Beach, Spring, Fountain, Restaurant, Autumn
Entrance, Stairs, Hallway, Kids Area, Details, Logo, Reception, Gift Shop, Animals, Autumn, Building, Fountain, Fireplace, Communal Areas, People, Wedding, Garden, Summer, Terrace, Daytime

Once again, you can find here the town symbol made from tiles on a wall.

Entrance, Terrace, Kids Area, Garden, Stairs, Water Park, Summer, Surroundings, Fountain, Animals, Building, View, Sauna, Wedding, Communal Areas, Wellness & Spa, Autumn, Logo, Daytime, Reception
Entrance, Terrace, Building, Balcony, Summer, Restaurant, Logo, Details, Garden, Autumn, Food & Beverages, Stairs, Daytime, Nighttime, Surroundings, Fountain, View, Casino, Gift Shop, Animals

Heading back down to the National Palace, you'll now have a chance to go all the way up to the Moorish castle and the Pena Palace. Since this route was created by car we had to return down to the National Palace area to proceed on our way up to the palace. However, with the hop on hop off services, the route is pretty much continuous.

Sports & Activities, Details, Entrance, Building, Balcony, Water Park, People, Summer, Kids Area, Daytime, Television, Wardrobe, Chair, Terrace, Couch, Nighttime, Surroundings, Fountain, Lamp, Lounge

This building used to host the old Toy Museum, but is now the Museum for Telecommunications. It is a very interesting museum for both adults and kids, as it teaches children how people used to communicate in the past and works like a timeline to today's telecommunication methods.

View, Garden, Terrace, Balcony, Surroundings, Building, Kids Area, Summer, Entrance, Communal Areas, Daytime, Wedding, Stairs, Nighttime, Spring, Restaurant, People, Beach, Food & Beverages, Fountain
Garden, Surroundings, Summer, Spring, View, Terrace, Autumn, Kids Area, Yoga, Animals, Communal Areas, Entrance, Building, Golf Course, Daytime, Stairs, Fountain, Sports & Activities, Television, Hot Tub

Heading up to the palace can be very busy, and it is definitely not recommended to go by car as parking is almost impossible due to the very limited amount of parking spaces.

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Instead, take one of the many buses that departs almost every 10 minutes, or rent a tuk tuk and get to full nature experience. The advantage of a tuk tuk is that you can ask for information or ask to stop where you would like, but there are also a lot of hop-on hop-off bus services.

View, Garden, Surroundings, Terrace, Summer, Spring, Kids Area, Golf Course, Entrance, Daytime, Animals, Communal Areas, Yoga, Wedding, Stairs, Fountain, Building, Autumn, Restaurant, Sports & Activities

From here you can already see the beautiful Palacio da Pena, the "Feather" Palace when directly translated.

Garden, Summer, View, Surroundings, Terrace, Autumn, Spring, Communal Areas, Golf Course, Animals, Entrance, Kids Area, Daytime, Building, Nighttime, Yoga, Wedding, Restaurant, Stairs, Sports & Activities
Autumn, Garden, Spring, Surroundings, Summer, Terrace, Wedding, Entrance, Communal Areas, Building, Kids Area, Animals, Daytime, View, Television, Restaurant, Food & Beverages, Boat, Fireplace, People

Right before the palace you will find Vale dos Lagos, the Lake Valley, a cute garden you should definitely stop at to check out.

Surroundings, Entrance, Summer, Building, Terrace, View, Kids Area, Garden, Daytime, Spring, Stairs, Autumn, Golf Course, Animals, Sports & Activities, Television, Details, Logo, Water Sports, Communal Areas

And there you go, the marvellous Pena palace with all its wonderful colours!

Surroundings, Building, View, Summer, Entrance, Daytime, Animals, Garden, Spring, Autumn, Logo, Details, Communal Areas, Casino, People, Nighttime, Terrace, Sports & Activities, Kids Area, Water Park
Wedding, Daytime, Summer, Terrace, Garden, Kids Area, People, Water Park, Autumn, Fountain, View, Nighttime, Surroundings, Balcony, Casino, Television, Animals, Snow & Ski Sports, Spring, Entrance

Although the lines are always existent, if not long, do not let them deter you from visiting the palace. At the point where the buses and tuk tuks drop you off you can purchase your tickets and will have to take one more bus (included in the entrance price) to get all the way to the palace. Enjoy your visit to Sintra!

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