Sintra Travel Guide

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Pena Palace, Sintra

Pena Palace, Sintra

Peter Eckersley

Sintra is a small town that looks like an illustration in a fairy tale. Made famous by Lord Byron, Sintra was once the royal town of Portugal. Many castles and palaces can be found in its vicinity. One of them is Pena Palace, perched atop a steep hill and straight out of Disneyland. It is a yellow heap of small domes and turrets filled with a wide array of decorative arts. The most notable palace is the Sintra National Palace, whose white twin towers are the most distinctive landmark in Sintra. It is a combination of Moorish, Gothic and Manuelian styles. Inside is a beautiful collection of ancient and rare tiles and murals.

The Castelo dos Mouros, unlike the two palaces, is a ruin. Even so it should be regarded as a requisite stop when the bus arrives there on its way to Pena. The old battlements stretch for some way along a ridge and offer magnificent views of the town, Pena Palace and the area generally.

Sintra also has a fine collection of international contemporary art in the Sintra Museu de Arte Moderna. Other museums include the Toy Museum, the International Sculpture Centre, with Portuguese sculpture, and the São Miguel de Odrinhas Museum and Archaeological Site. In fact, the whole town looks a bit like a museum, filled with amazing buildings.

A good way to get to Sintra is by taking the train from Lisbon. You will get a good view of the Águas Livres Aquaduct (built in the 18th century, and still in use) and arrive in the magnificent, cathedral-like station. From there, it’s only a short walk into the old town with its many shops and restaurants.


November 15, 2004 change by davidx

February 13, 2005 change by giorgio

July 12, 2005 change by grpadua

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