A perfect short stopover whilst in Portugal, Sintra is pure magic. The enchanted forests, the dilapidated castles and the funky, unique palace overlooking the whole region.
With 5 short hours in Sintra, I was left begging for more. The little town is famous for its historical 19th century architecture, including the Castle of Moors and the colourful Pena National Palace. A 10 euro tourist bus gets you a return trip to both sites, or you can opt to hike.
Being a UNESCO listed area, you can be assured that you will see something astonishing. I could have spent days exploring those hills, the views and the mystery surrounding you.
My favourite spot was the Moors Castle, the ancient ruins of a Muslim sanctuary built in the 8th century. What once stood as a grand structure overlooking the coast of Portugal, now remains in ruins. Strolling uphill, taking your time seeing the enchanting forests, it feels magical.
Photography tip- bring tripod with you, you will not be able to resist taking photos of the crumbling walls, vine covered arches and sweeping views.
For a short day trip, choose the Castle over the Palace. Although both interesting, the ruins are unmissable, they are eccentric, quirky and a travel album must have.
The Pena National Palace, if you do have time to see it (the hike between is well worth it on a nice day!), has some breathtaking views of Sintra and the grand multi-coloured façade will remind you of a Disney movie.
Town itself has a great atmosphere, with many cute cafe’s and patisseries. For those starving after a long day of climbing through the ruins, there is an ideal all you can eat buffet for 13 euros right next door to the tourist center!
Ultimately I would have wanted to stay overnight and walk between the two main attractions, the Palace and Castle, but the bus is a great option for those wanting to have a great day trip in Sintra. For more information, you can read about Sintra here.