What if we told you that there is a magical place with lavish green hills covered in flowers and dotted with countless old palaces and castles? This place really exist in Portugal and it is called Sintra. This is not a fairy tale and you should check it out yourself. So keep saving your vacation days and for now you can see beautiful Sintra here!
Sintra is a small touristy town near Lisbon. Going to Sintra from Lisbon by train only takes 50 min and it is an easy day trip. There is a lot to see in Sintra, so you have to decide how packed you want your day/days to be. The Tipsy Gypsies visited Sintra two days in a row and this is what we saw:
The Moorish Castle
This medieval castle constructed by the Moors dates back to the 8th and 9th Century. The castle is situated on top of a hill and it served as a defensive fort for the surrounding agricultural population. It is mostly ruins nowadays, but you can imagine what it was like during the days of old. The castle has amazing walls that look like tiny replicas of the "Great Wall of China".
Pena Palace built in the Middle ages was originally a quiet monastery occupied by a few monks. The monastery was destroyed in the 18th century, first by lightning and then by an earthquake before crumbling into ruins. It was King Ferdinand II, who finally decided to purchase the monastery and turned it into what it is today, a magnificent palace.
The interior of the Pena Palace is extremely well preserved and you should definitely see it. Each room has the beautifully intricate ceilings and arches.
...and below are some details of the furnishings.
Once you are done with Pena Palace you should walk around the nearby park. One of our favorites was the mini "castle" floating on a lake full of fish and ducks.
Quinta de la Regaleira
This is a very romantic site with a majestic palace, impressive gardens where you can find hidden grottoes, wells and benches to rest. The whole estate is full of symbols related to alchemy, Masonry and Knights Templar.
The chapel is another beautiful architectural statement worth visiting in the park. The interior is very well preserved with frescos and paintings that adorn the walls. The stained glass windows are best to see when the sun is setting and the colorful lights change the mood of the interior. Even though this is a Roman Catholic chapel this place is full of non religious symbols like pentagrams and "the all seeing eye". These symbols mean that people can be spiritual and enlightened at the same time.
The best part of the Quinta da Regaleira is you can spend hours walking around the huge property, learning about the symbols and finding hidden tunnels. You really feel like a happy child running around playing.
One of the most popular and fascinating places to visit in the park is the Initiation Well. This well is 27 meters deep and it was build in the form of a spiral staircase with small landings. The number of steps is connected to Tarot mysticism. Like everything else in the park this well for designed for ceremonies like Tarot and never served as a water well.
There is another smaller well on the Quinta de la Regaleira estate which is worth visiting. This the "Unfinished Well".
The Tipsy Gypsies loved Sintra and we hope we convinced to you visit this magical place. Let us know if you have any questions!