Day Visit to Sintra from Lisbon, Portugal
One of the best decisions we took in Lisbon was to make a day trip to Sintra. Sintra has UNESCO World Heritage site status since 1995. Located in the foothills of Sintra Mountains, the beautiful resort town is 30kms to the west of Lisbon. Start early to avoid being caught in traffic. Sintra is aesthetically done with pastel colored villas and palaces. Three among them are definitely worth visiting.
Little bit of History
A load of historic remains have been found in Sintra. They date right from Paleolithic ages through Neolithic ages. Go further down the time lines artifacts of Bronze Age and Iron Age too have been found. All of them proved that there were human settlements around this place. Roman remains from late BC to early AD have been found here. Several evidences of settlements have been exhibited. Some of the most prominent ones like Sintra Collar, a middle Bronze Age gold neck-ring found near the city at the end of the nineteenth century has found their way to British Museum.
The approach to the palaces of Sintra is different. The palaces are located in hill tops therefore it is better to park the vehicle and take local transport to get uphill. The roads are narrow and many of them one way. We gave up getting to the top on our own and soon realized the local transport is very comfortable. Buses run every 10 to 15 minutes. And it is a very scenic drive. The entire route is dotted with historic monuments. One day is less if anyone intends to get into all of them.
The National Palace is in the center of the town. The other 2 main sights are uphill. From center of town the Moorish castle is visible first. It may seem near but the uphill trek can tire you out. The Pena Palace which is most attractive is beyond that. The wisest decision would be to take local transport, unless you really have lot of time to spend. The scenic beauty you will get to see will definitely more than compensate your efforts.
The bus we took halted at Moorish castle ruins, tourists interested in seeing all the monuments got off here. The combo tickets to all sites are available here. We targeted the Pena Palace.
Pena Palace or The Palacio Nacional da Pena (The Feather Palace) is famous for its whimsical design and breath taking views of the mountain sides. It is a fairy tale kind of palace and a must visit if you travel with family. It is Europe’s one of the most fantabulous palaces. It was built in 1840s much before Neuschwanstein castle and the other mock-medieval castles of Ludwig of Bavaria in Germany.
The must photograph sights are:
- A conglomeration of turrets
- Ramparts and domes
- A gargoyle above a Neo-Manueline arch
- Extravagant interior decorated in late Victorian and Edwardian furnishings
- Paintings and priceless porcelain preserved
All just as the royal family left them in 1910 when the Portuguese royal court fled to Brazil to escape the revolution. (more detailed post to follow.)
Tickets and Timings
Open every day of the year, except December 25th and January 1st
Park and Palace
10h00 – 18h00, last ticket 17h00
Park and Palace
Ticket for adults (18 – 64 yrs) – 11.50 euros
Ticket for youths (6 – 17 yrs) – 9 euros
Ticket for seniors (over 65 yrs) – 9 euros
Ticket for adults (18 – 64 yrs) – 6.50 euros
Ticket for youths (6 – 17 yrs) – 5 euros
Ticket for seniors (over 65 yrs) – 5 euros