Explore Sintra, Portugal

The Quinta da Regaliera Initiation Well in Sintra, Portugal.
The Quinta da Regaliera Initiation Well in Sintra, Portugal.

A place often referred to as “the Disneyland for grown-ups” should be on your travel bucket list this year. This magical place is Sintra, Portugal, a small town about an hour outside of Lisbon, the capitol of Portugal. You can find stunning palaces, castles and picture-perfect views in this place of royalty. Travel to this resort town this winter to feel like you have been transported to a real fairy-tale in the middle of the woods. Here are some things you can look forward to.

Sintra’s National Palace

This majestic palace was Portugal’s longest-serving royal palace until 1910, when the monarchy fell. Since then, it has become a must-see attraction with its exquisite design, it’s extravagant interior decorations — seriously, there is a Swan Room with 27 gold-colored swans! —its fascinating one-thousand-year history, and its twin conical chimneys.

Cabo da Roca

The Western most spot in Europe is located in Sintra, at Cabo da Roca where land and sea collide. A lighthouse built in 1772 marks the point, and is still working today to guide ships. Spend some time enjoying the views of the Atlantic Ocean and the coastline before leaving, as it is a very picturesque location.

Castle of the Moors

Located at the top of a hill is the Castle of the Moors, a national monument of Sintra. This medieval castle was built in the 9th century by the Moors and restored in the 19th century by King Ferdinand II who transformed it into a romantic ruin. This is another place where you will get amazing views of the countryside of Sintra, including the town hall, palaces, hills, interesting landscape and the Atlantic Ocean.

Hotel Sintra Jardim

A 150-year-old house turned beautiful hotel used to serve as a summer home for a wealthy family from Lisbon. Lord Byron called the Hotel Sintra Jardim the “Glorious Eden” because of its bright green scenery, views of the Castle of the Moors and a luxurious swimming pool surrounded by a forest of trees and flowers. Bring a book to read in the pretty garden, or while relaxing in the balcony of your room. It will not take long to understand why this used to be a perfect summer getaway destination.

Quinta da Regaleira

An Italian opera-set designer created the architecture of the Quinta da Regaleira for a Brazilian coffee tycoon. The garden is one of the main attractions of this palace for good reason—it has many lakes, grottoes, wells, fountains, and beautiful architecture to see. If you look close enough, you can even find the hidden tunnels, references to the Knights Templar, the Masons and alchemy. Inside the palace you will find carved fireplaces, frescoes and Venetian glass mosaics that are definitely picture-worthy.

Sydni Ellis grew up in the great state of Texas, where she learned to love chips and salsa and hot weather. She has a master’s degree in Journalism from the University of North Texas, and she currently works in the College Communications, Marketing and Outreach office at Richland College. Some of her passions include writing, traveling and re-reading the Harry Potter Series every chance she gets. In the spirit of spontaneity, Sydni lives her life with a pen in one hand and her video camera in the other; ready to capture the next great story.

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