Sintra is a beautiful town located at the foot of a mountain range and surrounded by dramatic views over the woods and the sea. It is classified by UNESCO as world heritage in the category “cultural landscape” and the moment you lay your eyes on it, you will understand why.
The richness of the nature of the Sintra-Cascais National Park surrounding the historic buildings both in town and in the mountains together with a very particular microclimate, make this place a magical one where for centuries kings and aristocrats chose to live in.
Much appreciated by kings and nobles as a country resort Sintra has also been praised numerous times by famous artists who felt inspired by the bucolic feel of the town.
A visit to Sintra must start in the steep, narrow and paved streets of the old town. Some singular little shops as well as many old aristocratic residences peek in every corner. It is also within the old town that the Toy Museum and the National Palace of Sintra, with its outstanding chimneys are located. The Palace of Seteais and Monserrate famous by their architectural design and unique gardens are also some of the beautiful sighs the town has to offer.
Sintra’s confectionery is worthy of a special mention namely the “travesseiros” and the “queijadas”. The first ones are filo pastry made rolls filled with a delicious almond and egg cream. The seconds are a kind of a miniature cheese cake covered with an almond and cinnamon paste.
Fresh fish and shellfish are available throughout the year and the best restaurants are also wonderfully located by the beaches in Sintra.
Sports and Outdoor activities
Sintra is a synonym for outdoor living. Whether you are in for some radical sports or just for some walks in the park, there is a choice for everyone in and around Sintra.
Some of the most beautiful and untouched beaches of Lisbon’s coast are within the surroundings. The list is long: Praia das Maças, Praia Grande, Praia da Adraga but also purely stunning views such as Cabo da Roca- the western most point of mainland Europe- or the picturesque village of Azenhas do Mar, inset in a cliff and with a reputation of having the freshest fish in the region.
Sintra is well known to be a cultural town, there is always a play, an exhibition or a concert going on at Olga Cadaval Cultural Centre. The town frequently hosts many free open air dance, music and theatre shows, especially during the summer.
Don’t miss out the best example of the Romanesque period in Portugal, the Palace of Pena in the summit of one of the mountains in Sintra very close to the Moorish ruins of a castle overlooking the valley.
Guided biking or hiking tours along the hills of Sintra or along the steep old streets or the town centre are available throughout the year- you’ll find them really useful when looking for the most amazing view points, the best restaurants or the perfect antiques in one of the many little shops in town.