Outside of staying in the Cinque Terre, Sintra was hands down my favourite town over the last 2 months of my trip. After taking a day trip here from Lisbon, I knew that one day would not be nearly enough to experience the town and I would end up returning for 3 nights.
Sintra became special for so many reasons. Like the Cinque Terre, Sintra is within a national park. When walking through the town you will see green on all sides of you as you make your way through the town. Like Lisbon, the main streets seem to be pretty level while every other side street will have you going for a hike 😉
Over the three days I settled back into a pace I had been wanting the whole trip. I didn’t rush out of bed in the morning. I took my time getting from spot to spot, seeing every inch of the little parks and ducking into as many side streets as I could. Locals constantly greeted me with a smile as I quietly made my way around town. I was relaxed and my mind was clear. Even the music I was listening to seemed to be exponentially better (I’m looking at you Eric Church).
Once walking through a few times the smallest details of Sintra started to stand out. I loved the small quirky spots as I made my way from the hostel to Quinta da Regaleira or Monserrate Palace.
The road to Monserrate Palace
Quinta da Regaleira
As mentioned previously, this place became one of my favourite stops on the whole trip. It wasn’t the residence that made it so special but the grounds of the residence were what brought out a sense of adventure. Whether you go it alone or with a group of people, I guarantee you would enjoy it here. Go find the wells, caves and the wall where you can leave your name behind 😉
Note: Don’t fall in the water like I did. It sucks…
I’d share more from here but it would ruin the little surprised you will find. Just go!
This place is probably best seen between Spring and early Fall. Again, the “palace” isn’t the big draw but the grounds are beautiful with plants from all corners of the world. I thought it was pretty nice in November, but most of the grounds were being worked on due to it being low season.
Now, the reason why I liked Monserrate Palace so much was because of how I got there. If you wanted ti walk from Sintra to Monserrate (like me) it is about a 6km walk. You can simply follow the road past Quinta da Regaleira for 6k until you see the palace grounds on your right.
Enjoy the one lane winding road as you slowly make your way over, admiring the green around you. Mind the odd car that rushes past you though.
I had an amazing time in this town. And without giving away every little detail I loved about this place, I can only say the following. Do not just come here on a day trip while you rush around seeing the castle, the walls and other pieces. Stay for at least two nights, walk slowly, enjoy your music and relax as you get engulfed by a sea of nice people and lush plantation.
Where to stay: If you are a budget traveller the Moon Hill Hostel is hands down the best value you will get in town. They offer both dorm and private rooms, breakfast and an awesome patio to admire the surrounding area.