It’s a while since I was at Disneyland, but I certainly felt like I’d entered a magical kingdom when I arrived in Sintra. Sintra is a UNESCO World Heritage Site in Portugal; home to 19th century Romantic architecture, richly coloured palaces, mansions, castles and beautiful parks. It has been the summer residence for Portuguese kings and aristocracy for hundreds of years and is now popular with day trippers visiting from Lisbon. The main attractions are the Moorish castle, Pena Palace, and Sintra National Palace.
It is possible to visit Sintra on a day trip from Lisbon and the best way to get there is by train. There are trains that run regularly from Rossio Train Station to Sintra and it only costs €1,30 each way to take the 40 minute journey, so there’s no excuse not to visit! When you arrive in Sintra it’s a picturesque 10 minute walk from Sintra train station to the centre of the town. If you wish to see everything then I would advise you to leave early in the morning, but we did things a little more leisurely and just visited the Pena Palace.
The attractions in Sintra are quite a trek up very steep hills, so I would strongly recommend buying a ticket for the tourist bus. We shunned the bus and decided to walk, but ended up flagging the bus down puffing and panting only a quarter of the way up the hill!
The Pena Palace or ‘Palacio da Pina’ sits high up on a hill on the Serra de Sintra and is a great example of Romanticism in architecture. The Palace dates back to 1839 and was built for King Consort Dom Fernando II. He bought the ruins of the monastery which lay here and set about transforming it into a palace which could be used as a summer residence for the Portuguese Royal family. It is now a museum and a UNESCO World Heritage Site and you can walk around the rooms inside the palace.
The palace is like something out of a fairytale and the colours are particularly striking, with bright yellows and reds. It’s incredible to think that something as magical like this exists far up on a hilltop in Portugal!
Here is a selection of photos from Pena Palace in Sintra: