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Sintra is a small, touristy town located within the District of Lisbon, and only about a half-hour to 45 minutes away from the city itself. The town is best known for its proximity to three major tourist attractions: The National Palace, The Moorish Castle and The Pena Palace. There are many other sites worth visiting here, too, such as the Monserrate Palace, the Capuchin Monastery, the Seteais Palace and several churches. To see them all is impossible in a day, difficult in four.

The town itself is a rambling collection of narrow, hilly streets packed with restaurants, gift shops, bakeries, etc. It is actually sort of a friendly little place, considering how many packed-to-the-gills tourism buses come rumbling through. There are better places to eat and shop – of course – than right across the street from the National Palace, but there are worse places, too, and the staff at the shops are friendly and don’t hassle buyers. Lord Byron called the town of Sintra “Eden,” and although it’s a little too cramped and packed with visitors to keep that title, it nevertheless retains much of its charm.

There are some hotels in town, for those who wish to spend a little more time and visit the palaces at their leisure. Sintra hosts music festivals in June and July, high tourism months.


Other places nearby Sintra: Lisbon, Alcobaça, Batalha and Óbidos.

By Christopher Minster
I am a writer and editor at V!VA Travel guides here in Quito, where I specialize in adding quality content to the site and also in spooky things like...
20 Sep 2007

Things to do in Sintra

Palacio da Pena

113374One of Europe’s most magnificent castle/palaces, The Palacio da Pena often draws comparisons with Germany’s Neuschwanstein, which it predates by about 30 years. Construction began in 1839 on the ...
Historical Building
Sintra, Portugal
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