A day to remember in Portugal was our trip to Sintra, a tiny village just outside of Lisbon. From where we stayed it was an easy 40 minute ride on the metro that only cost 4.50€ for a return ticket. The village has a very different vibe then the rest of Lisbon. The village is a bunch of houses tightly packed, with very narrow streets throughout; it can be quite a maze if ventured into properly. Unfortunately for us, we didn’t arrive into Sintra until just after one. No we didn’t sleep in, but trying to figure out the correct metro was a pain. We didn’t know how the system worked, and finding the regional train was difficult.
So instead of wondering around the historic centre, we stayed on the hop-on hop-off bus that took you to the major sights. The bus cost each of us 5.00€ but there’s no way you can get to these sights without it. Since we are on a budget we decided to see two of the handful of sights. We picked the Moorish Castle and the Pena Palace and Park.
First up was the Moorish Castle (Castelo Mouros in Portuguese). The castle was constructed during the 8th and 9th century. The Castle is massive; however a lot was damaged during the 1755 Lisbon Earthquake. What remains is the walls and some towers. Built on the side of a hill, there are stairs everywhere, and built in no real rhythm between each step. Therefore I continuously fell up the stairs. When venturing up to the peak of each tower, safety was not an issue back when this Castle was constructed. No barrier to separate you from falling over the edge of the stairs onto the hard rock below. Once at the top of the towers though the views were breathtaking. It was a clear day and it was as if you could see for miles.
To read more about the Castle: Castelo Mouros
After we finished scaling along the walls and through the paths inside Castelo Mouros, we hopped back on the bus and headed higher up towards the Park and Palace of Pena. We thought the views from the Castle were great, but they were to be outdone by Pena.
The palace is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and one of the Seven Wonders of Portugal. Things like this took time to build and construction lasted from 1842-1854. It’s likely due to the fact that they put a lot of detail into everything, unlike today where everything has no character. The Palace was massive, each room with its own story and different detail. It’s amazing to think of how Royalty lives compared to us simpletons. An empty space in a room to them was seen as a waste of space, and something would be purchased to filled said wasted space. Check out our facebook page photos for the amazing pictures of the inside here: Sintra Photos
To read more about the Palace: Pena Palace and Park
The Pena Park was something Carolyn and I ventured. Very few people did so because we only saw three other people, whereas the Palace was absolutely packed. The park was covered in vegetation, with many different hidden sights throughout. Luckily all of these are placed on a map and easily accessible. We managed to complete on side of the park and took in some interesting sights. We saw the Temple of the Columns, which served as a viewpoint over the Palace. The Table of the Queen which was Queen Dona Amelia’s favorite spot to spend her time. The Statue of the Warrior which represented the King as a guardian of his work. and Cruz Alta. Cruz Alta is a cross carved in stone as intertwined branches. This is the highest place of the Sintra Hills at 529m.
Sintra was an amazing place and while we did it in a day, there was much more to explore and I’d suggest to anyone that goes to Lisbon, take 2 days to spend in Sintra.
All Photos of Sintra, Castelo Mouros and the Pena Palace and Park can be accessed on our