The hilltop town of Sintra is what fairy tales are made of. A series of mosaicked, vibrant castles – fit for royalty- looking down over Lisbon and the Atlantic coastline of Portugal.
As a popular excursion for tourists visiting Lisbon, Sintra is quick and easy to get to/from. The journey to the castle requires a train from Lisbon to Sintra town, followed by a bus up the steep, pine-covered hills to the castles. We took the train from Rossio station, Lisbon’s central station, where a return ticket cost €5. The 40 minute train chugs through Lisbon’s suburban districts terminating at Sintra town. I would recommend spending some time strolling through the quaint little town full of cute cafes and boutique shops, or alternatively you can take the bus upon arrival from outside of the station to the hill’s summit. The buses are frequent, and will set you back a further €5.
Contained within the small town of Sintra are 10 castles, the most impressive being Pena Palace. Entry to the grounds is relatively costly, or at least far more than we were expecting. We opted to pay for entry to the gardens and the grounds of Pena Palace which left us enough for a sandwich and a coffee after.
The castle is magnificent: the blood-red and mustard-yellow walls radiate in the sun, which casts enchanting shadows and shapes through the delicate arches and patterns of the building. The ground are perfectly manicured and unspoilt by the volumes of tourists. We were enjoying the fresh air and views so much we decided to walk the 3 km walk back down the cobbled stairways to the station, which was a little adventure within itself
Sintra was one of the highlights of my travels to Portugal, and an absolute must for anyone travelling to Lisbon.