A small city near Lisbon, Sintra in Portugal is the historic center of many takeovers and royal sieges. The quiet and grand slopes of the Sintra mountains, that overlook the city and its natural beauty, are one of the reasons why it's classified by UNESCO as a World Heritage site. Come and discover the mysterious alleyways and sample classic Portuguese cuisine.
Sintra's beauty is tucked away in plain sight and the same is true of its beaches like Praia da Ursa. While its stunning rocky shores will captivate you, visit during sunset for true intrigue and drama.
Like something out of a fairytale is the old Quinta da Regaleira palace. Its ancient stone-facade that's covered with greenery, decaying grottoes, holy well and eerie lake will capture you.
After strolling its narrow, winding streets, take in the village in its entirety by hiking up the mountains. Have your camera ready, because scenic views await.
Known as Palácio da Pena and Castelo dos Mouros, these are both a testament to the power of royal history against time.
Besides incredibly-spiced rotisserie chicken, Sintra is famous for its queijadas, which are sweet cakes, and travesseiros, which are light and fluffy pastries.
Sintra is best to visit during the summer. Rain usually falls in the winter and the average temperature is a pleasant 58°F.
As small and hidden away as it is, Sintra relies on Lisbon's Portela Airport, which 18 miles away.
There is a train service from Lisbon to Sintra every 30 minutes, which leaves from Rossio station and arrives at Sintra's central station. A round-trip ticket costs EUR4.30.
While driving around the city is ill-advised, you can use the A37 to the west when leaving from Lisbon, merging on to the A16 to arrive in Sintra.
Buses to and from Sintra are very crowded but it does stop along the way. It costs EUR5 from Lisbon. If you're coming from Praia das Maçãs, try the historic 8.6 mile tram journey for EUR2.
For the royal treatment, check into Tivoli Palácio de Seteais. Travelers will also like the moderately-priced Casa Miradouro. Oh Casa Sintra is popular for budget travelers.
Serra de Sintra - This district is famous for its Park of Pena, the Pena Palace, the Moorish Palace and eerie but beautiful Quinta da Regaleira.
Sintra Town Center - Overlooking the Gothic style National Palace are the beautiful mountains, visble from the center of town. This neighborhood is crammed with great outdoor restaurants and small souvenir shops.
Portela de Sintra - Quiet but accessible, this neighbourhood has lots of winding streets, a popular Bar Saloon and is close to the railway station.
Use Bus 434 to get from the town center to Castelo dos Mouros and Palácio da Pena for EUR5.
Taxi fares in Sintra start with a flat rate of EUR3.42 and then charge EUR0.76 per mile.
Parking is expensive and difficult to manage. It's best to park outside the city and then walk to the center. Car rentals start at EUR90.
Because it's just a day-trip away and mostly focused on its history, Sintra is not where you go for grand shopping. You can pick up local crafts and souvenirs at smaller shops in the town center district.
A quart of milk costs EUR0.62 and a dozen eggs is EUR1.58.
After a day of sightseeing, sit down to a hearty meal at Regional in Travessa do Municipio. Meals start at EUR13.