The beautiful and picturesque, UNESCO World Heritage town of Sintra.
SINTRA PHOTO DIARY
Positioned along the foothills of the Sintra Mountains (Serra de Sintra) and overlooked by the Castle of the Moors (Castelo dos Mouros) lies the stunning town of Sintra. Classified as a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1995, the cultural landscape of Sintra is known for its fairytale 19th-century romantic architecture, palaces, pastel coloured villas, and sweeping views.
Attempting to drive through the incredibly narrow streets of the historic centre before deciding to give up and park the car along Volte Duche. The roads here were definitely not designed for the traffic they get today and are only just wide enough for my best friend, Elise, to drive the Jeep down. This is definitely one town I will ever be hiring a car in.
The Castle of the Moors (Castelo dos Mouros), overlooks the historic centre of Sintra from on top of the Sintra Mountains. The medieval castle, built in the 8th century and restored in the 19th century by King Ferdinand II, now stands as a romantic ruin and tourist attraction. The Castle of the Moors is open to the public from 9:30 AM - 8:00 PM (summer season) or 10:00 AM–6:00 PM (winter season), 7 days a week.
Cost: €8 for Adult and at €6.50 for seniors and children.
Unmissable upon entering the historical centre, is the National Palace of Sintra (Palácio Nacional de Sintra), the best-preserved medieval royal residence in Portugal. With foundations dating back to the 8th century, and major construction initiated in the 15th century, the palace features room after room of ornate ceilings and intricate tile patterns, medieval furnishings, plus a kitchen with serious Cinderella vibes. The National Palace, with its panoramic view of Sintra, is open for public viewing from 9:30 AM to 7:00 PM, 7 days a week. Cost: €10 for Adult and at €8.50 for seniors and children (€33 for families).
Horse-drawn carriages line up awaiting passengers outside of the National Palace of Sintra (Palácio Nacional de Sintra). The horse-drawn town circuit tour (Volta à Vila), is one of 6 tours offered by Sinaratur, and will cost you 30 Euros, lasting a duration of 25 minutes.
Primary colours on Praça da República. The blue tiled building housing Restaurante Cafe Paris is stunning in its surroundings, positioned next to it's traditional Portuguese, yellow painted, retail neighbour. The view here was lovely and as we were hungry and looking for somewhere to have lunch, we decided to dine alfresco along Praça da República, at Restaurante Hockey caffee.
It's a struggle for me to walk past a gelato store in Europe and not walk inside, or even complete any meal without finishing with some form of dessert. An after lunch snack of Strawberry and Lemon gelati from Gelati di Chef, located at Praça da República, 8.
Adding to the fairytale of Sintra, pastel-coloured villas are in every direction you turn. The streets in the historic centre and the valley below is dusted with yellow and pink pastel villas and faded terracotta rooftops .
As if Sintra couldn't get any more charming, you also have uninterrupted postcard views to behold. Views such as these can be seen from many vantage points around the historic centre, as well as the incredible hilltop view seen from the Castle of the Moors.
It seems as though you can park your car just about anywhere in Portugal, the middle of a roundabout? sure, on the footpath? no problem, a pedestrian crossing/ crosswalk, why not? This is a system I find bizarre, yet incredibly appealing since my parallel parking skills can only be compared to that of a blind monkey. I had witnessed the odd car-parking a few times since my arrival and late afternoon, on our walk back to the car before heading to Cascais, I was lucky enough to capture the photographic evidence.
by NATALIE MARIE
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