City Views, Sintra
Despite being a small village it is very pleasant to walk trough.
You can see the Sintra National Palace and its unusual architecture or appreciate the regional gastronomy in "Piriquita"pastry shop
Quinta da Regaleira - one of Sintra's main attractions is also at a walkable distance from the village
The Moorish Castle was conceived as a vantage-point overlooking Lisbon, its surroundings and other adjacent towns. From the walls of the fortress it is possible to observe the whole coastline and have an excellent view over the Sintra hills and, of course, down on Sintra itself. The views from it are breathtaking. Make sure you pick up a leaflet on the castle when buying your ticket as it details what views and points of interest can be seen.
Although Sintra is visited mainly for its palaces, the town itself merits some exploration. Walking the road between the centre and Quinta da Regaleira we found many little details on buildings to exclaim over and photograph – some azulejos decorating a balcony or a stone seat, flowers tumbling over an old wall, an old lamp or lichen-covered gate-post. And in the centre, look above the heads of the milling tourists to admire the pretty church and tile-covered walls of one of the cafés.
One house so took our fancy that Ingrid and I argued over which of us might buy it (it wasn’t even for sale!) and enjoy evening drinks on its stone terrace overlooking the valley. The dispute was resolved when she took an equal liking to the house just across the road, leaving me to enjoy my little fantasy in peace, and even embellish it with images of each of us playing host to the other on alternate evenings ;-) Details of “my” house can be seen in photos 2 and 3.
Do not expect Sintra to be a haunting place like Carcassonne or Luang Prabang. You can see everything of the town in a couple of hours. Yet just when you're about to think that Sintra is all for show, you will see some real people filling their containers at an ancient fountain. To me that was as interesting as the palaces, and certainly more so than the innumerable gift shops.
This is the name of the area located next to the National Palace. It consists of the XIX century apartment buildings that manage to retain some of the atmosphere of a small mountain town despite their first floors being taken over by souvenir shops. And the fado music played in them will delight you.
Aside from the Portuguese monarchs, the non-royal wealthy people have been enchanted by this place enough to want to build their villas here. You will see many of them on your way to the National Palace and along the mountain road which leads to the Palacio da Pena.
Robert Southey, the 19th century English Poet, described Sintra as ‘The most blessed, spot in the whole habitable globe, will almost bring tears to my eyes”.
Sintra is a beatiful charming town classified by the UNESCO as a Cultural Landscape World Heritage. And they are right!