überlin does Portugal: Sintra

by James Glazebrook

Another highlight of our recent holiday in Portugal was a day trip to the historic town of Sintra, a short train ride outside of Lisbon. We walked through the UNESCO World Heritage-listed centre of Sintra-Vila and up a winding, forested hill towards the beautiful Parque da Pena. Once there, Zoë enjoyed the amazing views of the shimmering Atlantic ocean from the ramparts of the 9th century Castelo dos Mouros (Moorish castle), while I rediscovered my fear of heights and clung onto a nearby boulder.

After I pulled myself together, we hiked to the summit of the hill to explore the Palàcio Nacional de Pena, a fantastical palace built up around a modest 16th century monastery. An example of Portuguese Romanticism, this multi-coloured magic kingdom boasts fairytale features like onion domed-turrets, a Fountain of the Small Birds, and a grotesque half man-half fish rendering of Triton.

Sintra was swarming with tourists, but well worth the trip regardless – its historical sites are fascinating, and its views are (apparently) stunning. Oh, and unless you’re ready for an hour-long trek up a steep hill, don’t follow in our footsteps – take the ten minute bus ride from the train station instead!

Sintra Castelo dos Mouros

Sintra Castelo dos Mouros

Sintra Castelo dos Mouros

Sintra Castelo dos Mouros

Sintra Palàcio Nacional de Pena

Sintra Palàcio Nacional de Pena

Sintra Palàcio Nacional de Pena

Sintra Palàcio Nacional de Pena

Sintra Palàcio Nacional de Pena

Sintra Palàcio Nacional de Pena

Sintra Palàcio Nacional de Pena

Sintra Palàcio Nacional de Pena

Sintra Palàcio Nacional de Pena

Photos by Zoë Noble Photography