One morning, after fuelling ourselves with a delicious buffet breakfast including fresh fruits, meats, cheeses and of course the infamous egg tarts, we made our way to Rossio Train Station in order to catch the train to Sintra.
Sintra is a UNESCO World Heritage Site, just over half an hour by train from Lisbon centre. We arrived to a beautiful cloudy but sunny day, and armed with a coffee, set out to do some exploring.
Nestled in the foothills of the Sintra Mountains, the town is full of beautiful parks, castles and palaces.
Everywhere you turn there is another beautiful view to be admired.
We made our way through the park that was just a short walk from the train station, which tok us up some windy steps and through lots of luscious greenery.
After only getting lost a few times, we arrived at the bottom of the Castle of the Moors.
The castle is a hilltop medieval castle, which was constructed during the 8th and 9th centuries and has a gorgeous panoramic view of the town.
The castle walls snake round the perimeter, with lots of steps and outposts, where we stopped to admire the view. From one point you can see across to the Palace of Pena, which we later decided not to visit as it was just far too busy.
We spent a while exploring the castle, and it reminded us both in a way of the Great Wall of China!
Before long our tummies were starting to rumble, so we strolled back through the quiet streets to find a little restaurant. We tried some of the delicious “Bacalhau” Portugal is known for, and it was divine. Accompanied by a generous glass of local red wine, it was the perfect late lunch.
Soon we passed by a sign for the “Quinta da Regaleira”, and we followed the sign along a windy footpath, until suddenly we arrived at the most beautiful castle ever.
It’s hard to describe just how breathtakingly beautiful the castle is, and not just the main building. There is also a small chapel, as well as acres of gardens which are filled with grotto labyrinths, hundreds of types of flowers, trees and plants, beautiful sculptures and hidden paths.
We walked in to the main house to have a look around, and all of the inside is just beautiful. Such lovely rooms with intricate mosaic floors, and to think the house was only used as a summer residence!
Next up was to explore the incredible gardens. We had a map which we roughly followed, but there were so many hidden areas that weren’t on the map that we thoroughly enjoyed exploring!
One such area was a little grotto that we wandered inside, not even sure if we were allowed in. Well, we followed the path (using our iPhones as torches as it was pitch black!) and discovered a secret path leading to an area behind a waterfall, full of stalactites and puddles of water.
We clambered over rocks which led us into even more caves, and just had the best day spending hours in the garden! I would honestly recommend the Quinta da Regaleira gardens as the best thing to see in Sintra, we had so much fun!
Before we knew it the palace was closing and the sun was beginning to set, so we slowly wandered back through the gardens making our way to the gate before we got locked in for the night!
Wandering back through the pretty town, we stopped a last time to admire the stunning scenery and beautiful sunset.
Sintra, what an unexpectedly delightful day out.