Sintra was classified as a World Heritage by UNESCO, in 1995, at the category of Cultural Landscape. Lord Byron called it “a Garden of the Earthly Paradise”. Sintra is a gem of the Lisbon surrounding mountains. Feel free to browse some of the photos I took when I was there!
On arrival from Lisbon you can purchase the "jump on/ off’ ticket for the bus which will take you up the hill, stopping at all the attractions. We first thought that we could walk everywhere by ourselves, but we were glad we didn’t – the distances between attractions were quite big. The bus will also take you all the way down from the last and the highest located attraction, the Pena Palace.
You can start from the ruins of the Castelo dos Mouros built by the Moors in the 8th or 9th century. When in the 12th century, Sintra was claimed back by the Crusaders, much of the castle was destroyed. Only four square towers, the battlements, and the ruins of a Romanesque chapel survived. We were there on a rainy winter day, with us being the only visitors, and the place was magic. Air was full of history. The views were spectacular (you can still climb up some staircases and walls).
Next stop was Pena Palace, a jewel of the European romanticism and one of the 7 wonders of Portugal. Rebuilt as a Royal summer residence by the King Ferdinand from the monastery ruins. King liked to paint and used one the palace’ towers as his studio. Rooms are tiny but with lots of character. There is a drawing room, music room, library, Royal bedrooms and everything else you would find in a normal palace, but just very miniature. Windows are tiny, too, as wind up there can be quite severe. Again, we were there on a foggy day and even hasn’t see the entire palace. It only showed us what it wanted and it felt like in fairy-tale.
There is much more to see in Sintra, like Royal palace and so on, but you will have to find it by yourself.