Sintra

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Once the summer residence and mountain retreat of Portuguese royalty, Sintra is recognized for its many palaces and mansions set among flamboyant gardens on granite crags and pine forests.
 

The center of town in dominated by the Palacio Nacional with its distinctive conical chimmeys.

 

"The Cultural Landscape of Sintra" is recognized as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. 

Palacio Nacional de Pena  was built in the 1840s by Prince Ferdinand. The style is deliberately eclectic with features such as gargoyles and Arabic inspired tromp-l'oeil.
 

Everything in Pena Palace is preserved as it was when the royal family went into exile in 1910.

 

Across the hills is the Castelo de Mouros (Moor's Castle) with ramparts dating back to the 9th Century. Views stretch beyond Lisbon the the sea.

 

Quinta da Regaleira is a quirky estate built in the early 1900s to capture mythological and Knights Templar imagery.

The parks and gardens around Quinta da Regaleira feature gazeboes, lakes, grottoes, caves, wells and fountains.

The estate is crisscrossed by tunnels which terminate at the Initiatic Well, a ceremonial subterranean tower with Tarot rebirth mysticism.
 

The local markets carrying unique foods and craft items are fascinating to visit.

 

From various lanes and alleys,  Pena Palace and the Moor's Castle dominate the skyline above.

Most travelers come to Sintra as day-trippers from Lisbon. We stayed in a charming guest house and enjoyed the quiet streets when the others left.
 

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This site was last updated 03/14/15