We get it, there are a ton of UNESCO World Heritage Sites in Portugal, and while you probably came here on holiday to mix in some culture in between enjoying the weather, beaches, food and so on, it can be quite hard to make a choice between them all. Let us try to convince you that the city of Sintra, population nearly 400,000 and just to the north-west of Lisbon, is worthy of a visit.
Sintra's history goes far back: the Romans and the Moors left their traces here, and after the Reconquista the city subsequently became a summer retreat for the Portuguese royals. UNESCO lists Sintra for being a center of romantic age architecture in 18th and 19th century Europe, spawning architectural treasures like the Palácio da Pena and the Quinta da Regaleira, which came in addition to ones that were already in place such as the Castle of the Moors. It was in that period that Sintra experienced its greatest heights, with aristocrats and foreigners traveling in to admire its charms.
What didn't change in all those years are Sintra's lovely surroundings: it is situated amidst forested hills at about 8km from the sea, which can be seen from some its higher points. With its castles, palaces, great views, museums, old villas and overall magical atmosphere, you can easily spend several days in Sintra. The above-mentioned sights are all must-see, but if you had to pick one it would probably have to be the Castle of the Moors - whose walls somewhat resemble the Great Wall of China! [Review by travelindicator]
You can find the best hotel deals in Sintra here.
- Sintra is a city in Portugal's region of Lisboa. It has a population of 377,835, is situated at an altitude of 656ft and the best airport to fly into is LIS (Portela, Lisbon)
- The currency used in Portugal is the Euro (EUR)
Other cities in the region (Lisboa, Portugal)
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