An easy train ride away from busy Lisbon, is the picturesque hilly town of Sintra. The noble Portuguese of old built exquisite palaces and lavish garden mansions here.
It’s no wonder too. The scenery is gorgeous, so why not go all-out with the most flamboyant buildings you can imagine?
The Palácio Nacional de Sintra (National Palace of Sintra) is an architectural blend from medieval, Gothic to Moorish styles. The funny-looking conical chimneys top it off (literally)!Quinta da Regaleira is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. It’s a luxurious park estate with lakes, benches, grottoes and all sorts of hidden spots to seek out for yourself. And a mighty deep well!If fairytale castles are more your thing, then hike no further than the Pena Palace. This Romanticist castle is a crazy explosion of colour and shape. Not to mention a few weird and wacky residents keeping watch…For something more basic, the Castle of the Moors hugs the hilltops and provides the greatest views. It was built in the 8th and 9th centuries and has withstood many conquests and tourist footsteps.After two epic days in Sintra, we retreated down the train line to the coastal town of Cascais for some sun and beach time. It’s a former fishing village, but nowadays is a cool holiday spot for local and foreign tourists.Not a bad little excursion from nearby Lisbon. And a pretty colourful one at that!Visited 9th to 11th April 2015.