Sintra

Amelie hiking Moorish Castle

Sintra was one of the highlights of the trip so far. Cobblestone paths led us through  beautiful, lush forest. Today was part hike, part tour of the past. We explored impressive mansions and “palaces” from the late 19th and early 20th centuries. 

The first stop on our hike was the  Moorish Castle (from the 9th century). All of the sights were on top of a mountain so we were able to see the surrounding areas and the Atlantic from there. We could also see the Palace of Pena from the Castle. What a sight! The Palace is multi-coloured, with spires and fine details. From the outside, it was  like something you would see in a fairy tail. Queen Maria II’s artist husband commissioned a Prussian architect create the palace in 1840. The inside was equally lavish; some of the rooms we explored included the  kings chambers, queens bedroom, the ballroom and even their in-house chapel. 

We hiked from the palace of Pena to another mansion of the rich and famous; Quinta da Regaleira. It was the home of a Brazilian coffee tycoon and designed by a man who was an opera set designer. It was certainly theatrical. The home and accompanying chapel were a Cinderella-like design but the gardens were just as whimsical. They were sprinkled with free-standing spires, stone paths, underground passages and water features. One of the highlights was a well encircled by a spiralling staircase (check out the photos to see what I mean). You could access the well from above or from below via an underground passage!

We finished the day by heading north to Porto. We had to take a regional train back to the outskirts of Lisbon to hop on a national train to Porto. Unfortunately the national train was delayed by almost 1 hour. We arrived in Porto, exhausted, around 9:45 pm.

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