I took the train to Sintra yesterday – about 30 minutes but felt like I was in an alternate universe!
The two big places are the Pena Palace and the National Palace. I was also going to see the Moorish Castle but the tour buses got the best of me.
Pena Palace was built in the mid- to late 1800’s on the site of a 16th century monastery at the top of a VERY high hilltop. The royals fled Portugal in 1910 but the palace looks like they just left.
It was designed as a ‘fantasy’ castle, and is an mix of Gothic, Renaissance, Moorish, Manueline and Disney. Every room was just ‘wow’. It’s a place where you can’t stop taking pictures – I really had to work at editing the number for here!
The National Palace was a little more traditional but still incredible. Originally Moorish it is a mix of tiled walls embellished with 15th century. The distinctive white cone towers of the building provided suction to remove the smoke from the kitchen and also gives a open dome effect in side that is very pleasant. I always think of the old kitchens as being unpleasant dark places but both these palaces are lovely and bright.