During our stay in Lisbon for the easter weekend we made a day trip to Sintra. Pictures and research about Palacio Nacional da Pena, Castelo dos Mouros and Cabo da Roca convinced us to go there.
Depending on how much you want to see, you can easily spend one weekend just in Sintra. It has really deserved its UNESCO world heritage status.
In the morning we boarded the train to Sintra at Rossio station and arrived half an hour later. At the station, bus 434 was waiting for us to get us up the steep mountain streets.
If you have time, you can walk the way up. Some people did. But be prepared for a long, steep walk. Furthermore in the heat it gets exhausting. If you want to see a lot in just one day, take the bus!
The day ticket for the bus is € 5 and was totally worth it. You can buy it directly in the bus.
Castelo dos Mouros
First stop was Castelo dos Mouros. This ruin was built in the 8th century by the Moors. It’s really impressing. Entry in April 2015 was € 8. It’s in 3.5 km distance from the city centre.
The way up was a bit exhausting. We didn’t want to complain about temperature, as we were lucky to have sun and great weather after a long winter. But it was really hot!
Palácio Nacional da Pena
Oh, how great finally to see this Disney-like palace. Of course, it is not…but as crazy as it looks like, good old Disney would have been proud to have built it.
The Palácio Nacional da Pena is Portugal’s Neuschwanstein. At the same place, an old monastery was destroyed in 1775’s earthquake. The area was bought in 1837 and the palace then built in 1840. It was the royal family’s summer residence.
Obviously, what makes this palace special is its mixture of different stylistic elements. Up to now the most interesting castle, we have ever seen.
Entry was € 10.50. Who wants to go inside the palace, pays an extra € 3 and has to queue again. All in all, Sintra was an expensive trip. But it was worth it.
Palácio Nacional de Sintra
In the city centre, Palácio Nacional de Sintra is then less impressing. Not really surprising. Only those two white chimneys attract tourists to this palace from the 10th century. It was built in Moorish times, too.
After having dinner, we took Bus 403 from the train station to Cabo da Roca, the westernmost point of the European mainland.
Firstly: The Portuguese love queuing even more than the British or the Germans. Secondly: Bus ride lasts more than half an hour. If you can, sit down. If you want, take a cab. More expensive, of course. Price for the bus ticket was € 4.10.
Cabo da Roca
Cabo da Roca was a dream. The beautiful lighthouse, the cliffs. It reminds a bit of Ireland. Meadows were green, flowers bloomed, just a perfect day in spring: It was warm and calm. A dream for middle and northern Europeans just after winter.
Next stop was Cascais, a quite nice seaside town west of Lisbon. From Cabo da Roca: bus ticket price was € 3.10. The town is beautiful and has a nice beach. Perfect for having dinner and ice cream!
Combining a beautiful view with good food, ‚Capricciosa‘ (Italian Restaurant) is the place to be, although we wanted to eat Portuguese first. But food and wine was delicious and prices were decent.
After dinner we took the train back to Lisbon.