Friday, October 07, 2016

Sintra, Portugal

I had never heard of Sintra, but followed a recommendation from a friend at work, and I was over the moon that I did. The home of monarchs, the town is filled with castles and palaces, all situated among the mountains. Whether you like your castles traditional, gothic, or a little whacky, you will find what you're after here.

The town is busy, and the roads leading into the mountains are more like tiny off road tracks. If you're arriving by car you may want to make sure you're a good driver (and definitely a good parker), I think I would have had a meltdown was I not with my brother.

Cabo da Roca was our first stop. As the westernmost part of Portugal, it took the longest to get to and sadly was sitting in the middle of a cloud when we arrived. It made for some beautiful photographs but we could just about see 5 metres in front of us, so marvelling at the cliffside wasn't an option. The journey however, was definitely an experience (like I said, make sure you're a good driver).

We ended up at the palace of all palaces, The Pena Palace. From a distance it looks like it belongs on a children's TV show, with fiery colour, sharp edges and quirky patterns. The place was heaving with tourists, but that can be forgiven considering how beautiful the spot was. The surrounding gardens are also rather lovely, providing a scenic hike up to the palace and offering different buildings and annexes to explore on your way.

If you enjoy a hike and want to feel like a princess for a day, I can't recommend this place enough.



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