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With its palaces and castles, Sintra manages to intertwine the magic of its legends and myths with a breath-taking landscape, which starts with the green on the mountains and ends in the deep blue of the Atlantic Ocean.
The whole village is a UNESCO World Heritage site and is close to Lisbon, just 30 kilometers away, with easy access by train (Linha de Sintra). For centuries it was inspiration for Portuguese artists and place of refuge for monarchs, who built their palaces and chalets without ever erasing the presence and influence of past residents. It has always been linked to mysticism, magic, and the occult and is the stage where many Portuguese legends and myths take place. It is still called the ‘Mountain of the Moon’.
In the center of the village, the Palácio da Vila (Village’s Pallace) has a particular architecture, in which two big chimneys with a curious design rise above the skies. From there, you can visit the whole ‘maze’ of narrow streets of Sintra where you can find the best Portuguese cuisine and, of course, the most typical pastries of the region: Sintra’s ‘queijadas’ (small cakes with a strong cinnamon taste) and ‘travesseiros’ (pastries with an almond filling).
On the top of Sintra’s mountains, it is obligatory to visit the Palácio da Pena (Pena’s Palace) and the Cawstelo dos Mouros (Moor’s Castle). The Palace is the best example of the Portuguese Romantic period. It started as a monastery in 1836, but it grew across decades, each section of the palace being painted in a different color. Inside, a multitude of architectural influences and styles are merged together, from room to room, conferring a unique ambience to the palace.
The Moor’s Castle offers an amazing view, if the foggy weather allows it. You can see Lisbon, all the way up to the other margin of the Tagus.
Lastly, the Quinta da Regaleira is a large property just outside the village. It has always been linked to Freemasonry rituals and other religions and creeds. Inside, there is a small palace and a chapel with a peculiar architecture and ornamentation.
The highlight is the amazing gardens, with mysterious caves and whimsical streams and lakes, inspired by the Heaven/Hell dichotomy. A mesmerizing spiral staircase takes the visit to the depths of Sintra’s Mountain, inspiring visitors to feel the history of the village.