Sintra is a small Portuguese town circled by the low mountain range of the Sierra de Sintra. It is interesting primarily for its history. This Moorish city was captured in 1147 by King Alfonso 1 of Portugal, was the summer residence of Portuguese kings and aristocracy for more than 600 years.
There are many castles and palaces in the city that have been preserved in their originality. These castles contain unique historical and artistic collections. The main attraction is the Royal Palace, which has been the summer residence of kings since the XV century, with its huge conical white hoofey towers towers towering on the palace kitchen and visible from a fairly long distance. If you climb the mysterious path of the "enchanted forest" to the top of the mountain range, you will find the Palais de Pena. This is the most outstanding example of the special individual architecture of the city - a building of the XIX century in various architectural styles.
Sintra has a unique Toy Museum, the exhibits of which cover the period of the XVI to XX centuries. And not far from the city there are gardens of Montserrat, and a little further is Convento dos Capuchos - a rock-carved dwelling of the XVI century, some rooms of which are upholstered with cork wood. Of the churches, the most notable are the Romanesque of St. Martin, the Romano-Gothic of St. Mary, St. Peter of Penaferrim, Santo António do Penedo (all built in the XV-XVI centuries), the chapel of Peigna, lined with Baroque tiles.
Among other attractions of Sintra are winemaking at the level of world standards, marble, its traditional cakes and cooking, souvenirs.
The soft and wet microclimate of the city contributes to the development of lush vegetation, here you can find plants of rare species that are not found anywhere else in Portugal. This is a real green paradise with unusually healing mountain air. Sintra has everything for relaxation: the golden sand of the beaches of Praia das Masash and Praia Grande, the clean water of the Atlantic, and the majestic coast, rich opportunities for surfing and fishing.
To the south of Sintra is Cape Roca, the westernmost point of continental Europe. He was sung by the poet Louis Camões as a place where "land meets the sea." You can buy a certificate in memory of your stay in this place. The romantic character of the city of Sintra was described by Lord Byron as "this glorious paradise" in the novel "Child Harold." In 1995, the city was included in the UNESCO World Heritage List.
Sintra is part of Greater Lisbon. The city is located about 20 km from the capital of Portugal, where it takes about 5 hours to fly from Russia, and is connected to it by convenient transport routes. Suburban trains depart from all Lisbon railway stations to Sintra, some even around the clock. You can also go there by bus and taxi. But still, most tourists prefer trains, which run quite often. In particular, low ticket prices speak in favor of the railway.
The main taxi cluster can be seen at the station or opposite the Sintra Vila post office. They work without a counter for a fixed fee. The one-way fare is approximately 12 EUR to Pena Palace or 19 EUR to the Capuchin Monastery and back. On weekends and holidays, there is a markup of 20%. It is best to travel around Sintra by bus, and then walk to the right place.
Regular bus No. 433 runs from Portela Interface to San Pedro (fare will be 1 EUR, travel time - 15 minutes, every half hour from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m.) via Estefania and Sintra Vila. To get to Pena Palace, you need to take bus No. 434 (circular bus route), which departs from Sintra railway station and passes through Sintra Vila. A ticket for this route can be purchased from the bus driver, the ticket price is about 5 EUR for the whole day (15 minutes on the way, runs every 20 to 40 minutes from 9:35 am to 18:05). The last bus from the palace returns at 18:20.
At a price of 12 EUR, you can buy Day Rover - a ticket valid on all Scotturb buses. A one-day train and bus ticket (15 EUR) is valid on the Lisbon-Sintra line and all Scotturb buses. Ticket kiosks are located on the "Interface Portal" (near the parking lot) and opposite Sintra railway station.
Cycling in Sintra can be quite exciting and interesting, but for those who already have some experience. You can rent a bicycle at Caminho do Castelo (address: Sintra, Rua Consiglieri Pedroso, 15; working hours: 10:00 - 19:00).
There are a lot of cars in the city on weekends and holidays, and parking becomes a problem. Therefore, the best option is to find a parking space in the lower part of the city, and then walk to the center.
Golden sands, clean waters of the Atlantic and coasts with magnificent rocks make the beaches of Sintra a delightful place. The beaches have everything for water sports, surfing and fishing, and from nearby rocks you can jump with a paraglider.
The most popular beaches of Sintra:
The Atlantic coast near Sintra is rich in marine animals and vegetation. There are octopuses, cuttlefish, squid, mussels, shells, as well as various types of crabs, lobsters and lobsters.
In any restaurant or cafe in Sintra, the menu necessarily includes the famous cheese pie. It is prepared according to an old recipe from several varieties of local cheese and impregnated with almond liqueur. Sintra is also known for the high skill of its winemakers.
The historical center of Sintra is a labyrinth of streets, stairs, arcades and unusual palaces, so it is better to consider it during a walk or car ride. Almost anywhere in the city you can see two huge white cones - the exhaust pipes of the kitchen of the National Palace of Sintra, the summer residence of the royal family since the XV century. Several private palaces are open to the public. This is the Moorish Castle, built on the site of an ancient sea fortification, the Palace of Montserrat in the Eastern style, the mysterious Palace of Rigaleiro, built by Mason, with underground caves and corridors. The 18th-century palace Palacio de Seteais now has a 5-star hotel.
On the southeast side of the mountain range stands a fortress - Pena Castle surrounded by a park. The interior of the palace is preserved as it was under the last Portuguese queen. The romance of the 19th century is filled with the whole composition of hills, a castle and a luxurious park with exotic plants, flower beds of roses, coniferous hundred-year-old trees and ponds. The way to the Pena Palace may seem difficult: it's a steep hour-long climb uphill. Tourists who dare to make such a trip offer an excellent view of the city. You can also get to the palace by bus (see section "How to get there"), but it's more romantic on foot!
Several ancient churches have been preserved in Sintra. Of these, the most notable are the Romanesque Church of St. Martin, the Romano-Gothic Church of St. Mary, built in the 12th century and rebuilt after the earthquake of 1755, the Church of St. Peter Penaferim Peninha, lined with Baroque tiles.
There are many museums and art galleries in the city: the Museum of Local Lore, the museums of creativity Leal de Camara and Dorita Castel Branco, the Municipal Art Gallery, the Archaeological Museum, the famous Toy Museum, the exhibits of which cover the period of 16th and 20th centuries (working hours 10:00-17:30, And not far from the city there is a Capuchin monastery - a dwelling carved into a rock of the 16th century, some rooms of which are upholstered with cork wood. The Montserrat Botanical Garden has a collection of subtropical plants, exotic trees and shrubs.
In the cultural center of Olga Kadal you can find entertainment for every taste: dance, cinema, theatrical performances and concerts (address: Sintra, Praça Dr. Francisco Sá Carneiro). For lovers of outdoor activities, Cabra Montes offers trekking (30 EUR per 1 person), rafting (65 EUR per 1 person) and canoeing (70 EUR per 1 person). The center "Hipiko-o-Padok" offers horseback riding around the city, the cost of the walk is 15 EUR for 30 minutes, 30 EUR for 1 hour.