Green - that's the word that better describes Sintra. The steep hills topped with castles and palaces are all covered by a marvelous carpet of gardens and woods, filling the spaces among the classical buildings carefully integrated in the landscape.
Circulating and parking is hard, but... who cares?
Sintra is an old town with much history that goes back to the days of the moors.
There is a very big fortress on the hill above the old city of Sintra that was built by the Moors which makes for a nice backdrop. You can also hike up to the top and look down on the town from the old castle.
The old city of Sintra is worth a visit any time of year.
Fondest memory: We like to walk around the town and watch the tourist fight for parking and try to get the best deal at the market.
There is always good food to be had in town.
Sometimes when a town gets listed as a Unesco World Heritage Site, the tourist floodgates just seem to open up. It was great that we visited in February when so few people were there. One of the most memorable things about this trip was a mistake on our part. Instead of taking the bus up the steep hill that rises to the Palacio Pena, we just started walking up the hill thinking that we could catch a bus or some other mode of transportation along the way. Probably three miles later we arrived having watched the bus pass us by on the road, a few tourists peering out the window at us with a look on their faces that said, "these crazy guys didn't actually WALK all this way, did they?" Despite spending over an hour on our unplanned hike, it was a great experience and made reaching the ruins of the Moorish Castle and the Pena Palace on top all the more rewarding.
Fondest memory: Along the way, we ran into a couple from England who were making the same walk up the winding road. The air was cool and damp and somewhat refreshing as we hiked through the green, tree covered mountainside. We talked about our travels and their children back at home some of our favorite foods. After the first mile or so we laughed about the fact that we were too stubborn to turn around at that point.
Favorite thing: All around the historical centre of the city you can find old palaces and old houses like this one on the picture. A walk thru the city is a must. Several hours walking is indeed needed.
Favorite thing: In the view point in the National Palace you can enjoy the nice view. The fog I got in this day gave the city even a better scenery. More mysterious and old.
Favorite thing: This is another part of the city. Sintra is very beautiful and you can enjoy its ancient construction. This is the former are where the Toy Museum was located.
Prepare for a lot of climbing in Sintra.
There are buses and horse-drawn carriages for hire but walking is the best way to know the town.
Get comfortable clothes and shoes and prepare...