FolkestoneJack's Tracks

Hook, line and Sintra

Posted in Lisbon, Portugal, Sintra by folkestonejack on March 12, 2015

My plans for the spring originally revolved around a trip to see the remarkable Prison Railway in Rongshan (my third attempt) but when this line unexpectedly closed in November I needed to come up with a new destination. The first place that came to mind was Sintra, a rather remarkable spot just outside Lisbon which is home to an impressive collection of castles, palaces, parks and villas.

Palácio da Pena

Palácio da Pena

I must confess that I had never heard of Sintra until recently but have felt drawn to the spot ever since seeing the most incredible pictures of the colourful Palácio da Pena sitting astride a gloriously green forested landscape. The photographer in me was hooked instantly!

Sintra was granted the special status of ‘cultural landscape’ by UNESCO in 1995 with the observation that it held universal value for its ‘pioneering approach to Romantic landscaping’ which would later influence develoments across Europe. Nevertheless, the authors of the evaluation report concluded that it is difficult to find any true parallel in Europe, or indeed, the world.

There are too many sites to visit in one day, so we plan to use two days to cover the key attractions of Sintra – taking in the Palácio de Monserrate, Quinta da Regaleira and the Palácio Nacional de Sintra on the first day, followed by the Palácio da Pena and Moorish Castle on the second. Splitting the sites over two days should allow us to take our time at each location, rather than hurtling round and missing stuff in our drive to meet the schedule.

Although we could have stayed in Sintra itself we opted to make Lisbon our base and take the train in each morning (it is only a 39 minute journey with frequent trains throughout the day). In this way we could enjoy the beauty of Sintra in a leisurely fashion, but still enjoy the culinary delights (and sights) of the big city.

Sintra’s sights

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