Sintra

the magic castle town

… with its exquisite palaces, extravagant mansions and decorative gardens was built in the 18th century. At that time it served as the place to be (and mingle and party) for the European aristocracy. The slightly cooler all year around microclimate was especially helpful for the wig wearing highnesses, with lots of makeup on and feeling itchy and scratchy all day long – not so much in the cool climate of Sintra!  Imagine them gathering in the mystic castle and gardens, at fancy mask parties. That’s surely where one found out the hottest gossip about European courts!

What’s especially interesting from our point of view is the ride there from Ericeira! Make sure to take the national road and pass by the natural reserve that takes you to lovely and very special Azenhas do mar.

In case you don’t have a car: There is a bus leaving from Ericeira to Sintra. Check: www.mafrense.pt

If you decide to see the most possible of Sintra we recommend going by tuctuc and experience the guided tour the most relaxed way.

Contact these drivers in advance:
André: +351 926 111 771
George: +351 934 941 327

Azenhas do Mar

a must stop when driving to Sintra

When going to Sintra make sure you pass Azenhas do Mar, a charming village built right into the cliffs of our wild Atlantic Coast line. It takes about 25 mins by car to get there from Ericeira and you will enjoy lovely views of the seemingly never ending hills and the beautiful stone walls that the farmers built to mark their fields. Once you parked the car in Azenhas, do not be shy: enter the little cobblestone paths that take you uphill until you get rewarded with awesome views over the waterfront.

If you enjoy fine dining, you might want to enjoy lunch at Azenhas do Mar Restaurant (wonderful food, rather chique but comfortable)! You get there by crossing a bridge – the restaurant is basically a “balcony” built into the cliffs. Around one of the natural pools there is a cool beach bar that you could also visit on your way back from sintra, to celebrate the sunset with a cocktail under a bamboo umbrella…isn’t life so good!!

Cabo da Roca

the most western point of continental Europe

Then, head on to Cabo da Roca, which is the official most western point of continental Europe! It’s quite a powerful image, this massive lighthouse and the mighty and deep cliffs, topped by the huge cross standing right above the cliffs and reminding one of the conquistadors and their long and dangerous journeys in hope of a new world out there in the deep, dark blue and unknown. You don’t need to spend more than 15-20mins at Cabo da Roca – it is enough to take some good pics and feel the vibe of the place.

Your way up to Sintra

our highlights nearby

From Cabo da Roca, take your way towards Sintra and go up the winded roads to the historic town centre. If you wish, stop on the way, get out of the car and stroll around for a few minutes, to find marvellous look outs and amazing sceneries embedded in the unreal micro-climate of Sintra, with its countless castles and beautiful aristocratic gardens.

☝️ Our tip for those who come with the car: We especially like the area before approaching Sintra: around Praia da Adraga, Colares, Atalaias, Azoia and Almocageme. Find the authentic Sintra-vibes, with way less tourists.

☝️tip for those who like to walk: The Sintra area is perfect for hiking. Find you ideal hiking route in this unique landscape!

Palacio nacional da pena

a highlight of any visit to Sintra

The Palacio Nacional da Pena is one of the finest tourist attractions of Portugal and exemplifies the 19th century Romanticism style of architecture. The palace is a hedonistic mix of vividly painted terraces, decorative battlements and mythological statues, all of which stand at stark contrast to the lush greens of the forests that encircle Pena.

The interior of the palace is equally as fascinating, being restored to reflect the decor of 1910, when the Portuguese nobility fled to Brazil to escape the revolution. The forested park lands that surround the palace continue the Romanticism design ideals of the palace, with hidden pathways, ornate features and stunning view points.

Quinta da Regaleira

mystical and enchanting

Not far from Sintra’s historical centre, Carvalho Monteiro transformed the 4-hectare estate into a palace. You’ll experience lush gardens, lakes, grottoes and enigmatic constructions with hidden alchemical meanings, such as those evoked by the Freemasons, Templars and Rosicrucians – all based on a design by the Italian architect Luigi Manini. The varied styles of his design evoke Romanesque, Gothic, Renaissance and Manueline architecture. Walk around the exotic park and experience its spirituality – a true philosopher’s mansion of alchemical inspiration.

☝️ this is our hot tip! If you don’t have much time, make sure to visit at least the Quinta de Regaleira

Castelo dos Mouros

part of the UNESCO World Heritage

The Castelo dos Mouros is pretty different to the other palaces and stately homes of the town. As a ruinous castle it is set amidst the lush forests of the Serra De Sintra. The castle was established during the 9th century by the North African Moors to guard the town of Sintra, but it fell into disrepair after the Christian conquest of Portugal. King Ferdinand II restored the caste in the 19th century and transformed it into a romantic ruin & a major feature of the gardens of the Pena Palace. The castle retains the charm of an ancient ruin, with dense forest surrounding the crumbling battlements that offer spectacular views over the Sintra region.

Palácio de Monserrate

traditional summer resort of the Portuguese court

Not very far from the historic centre of Sintra you’ll find the Park and Palace of Monserrate, unique representatives of 19th century eclecticism. The Palace combines gothic and Indian influences as well as Moorish suggestions together with exotic and plant motifs which are harmoniously extended to the exterior. The gardens have received species from all corners of the world, which were planted according to their geographical origin. The front lawn of the Palace provides a well-deserved rest, while discovering one of the richest Portuguese botanical gardens.

Convento dos Capuchos

known for its minimalist construction

A Franciscan convent built in direct contact with nature and in keeping with a philosophy of extreme architectural and decorative simplicity. The Capuchos Convent is extremely small in size, being notable for the great poverty of its construction. It is also known as the “Cork convent” because of the extensive use of cork in the protection and decoration of its tiny spaces. Its rustic appearance and great austerity are indissociable from the surrounding vegetation, since the building is completely integrated into the natural environment, to the extent that enormous granite boulders have been incorporated into its construction.