The historical center of Sintra is a labyrinth of streets, stairs, arcades and unusual palaces, so it is best viewed on foot or by car. Almost anywhere in the city, two huge white cones are visible – the exhaust pipes of the kitchen of the National Palace of Sintra, the summer residence of the royal family since the 15th century. Several private palaces are open to the public. These are the Castle of the Moors, built on the site of an ancient sea fortification, the Oriental-style Montserrat Palace, the mysterious Rigaleiro Palace, built by a Freemason, with underground caves and corridors. The 18th century Palacio de Seteais is now a 5-star hotel. See educationvv.com for education and training in Portugal.
On the southeastern side of the mountain range rises a fortress – surrounded by a park pena castle. The interior of the palace has been preserved in the form it was under the last Portuguese queen. 19th century romance the whole composition of the hills, the castle and a luxurious park with exotic plants, rose flower beds, century-old coniferous trees and ponds are filled. The path to the Pena Palace may seem difficult: it is a steep, hour-long climb uphill. Tourists who have ventured on such a journey have an excellent view of the city. You can also get to the palace by bus (see the “How to get there” section), but it’s more romantic on foot!
Several ancient churches have been preserved in Sintra. Of these, the most notable are the Romanesque church of St. Martin, the Romanesque-Gothic church of St. Mary, built in the 12th century and rebuilt after the earthquake of 1755, the church of St. Peter Penaferim Penigna, lined with baroque tiles.
There are many museums and art galleries in the city: the local history museum, the Leal de Camara and Dorita Castel Branco art museums, the Municipal Art Gallery, the Archaeological Museum, the famous Toy Museum, whose exhibits cover the period of the 16th to the 20th centuries. (working hours 10:00-17:30, ticket price for an adult is 4 EUR, for children – 2 EUR). And not far from the city is the Capuchin Monastery – a dwelling carved into the rock of the 16th century, some rooms of which are upholstered with cork wood. The Montserrat Botanical Garden has a collection of subtropical plants, exotic trees and shrubs.
In the cultural center of Olga Cadaval you can find entertainment for every taste: dancing, cinema, theater performances and concerts (address: Sintra, Praça Dr. Francisco Sá Carneiro). For outdoor enthusiasts, Cabra Montez offers trekking (EUR 30 per person), rafting (EUR 65 per person) and canoeing (EUR 70 per person). The Hipico-o-Padok Center offers horseback riding around the city, the cost of the walk is 15 EUR for 30 minutes, 30 EUR for 1 hour.
Golden sands, clear waters of the Atlantic and coasts with magnificent cliffs make the beaches of Sintra a delightful destination. The beaches have everything for water sports, surfing and fishing, and you can paragliding from the nearby cliffs.
The most popular beaches of Sintra:
- Agrada – to get to it, you will need to drive along a winding road down the mountain. Going down, it will be easy to recognize the right place: the blue sea between two huge hills. Despite the difficult path, the beach is very popular. It’s always hard to find a parking spot here.
- Grande is a beach known as the Portuguese capital of water sports. Every year European and world championships are held here. For weeks on end, Praia Grande sees the best of the world’s top athletes surf the unique waves of this beach.
Despite the fact that Sintra is actually a suburb of Lisbon, the climate here is completely different. The proximity of the ocean and the protection of the mountain ranges provide cool, slightly windy and humid weather even in the height of the hot summer. Thanks to the mild and humid microclimate, plants are everywhere here: in Sintra you can find plants of the rarest species that are not found anywhere else in Portugal. This is a real green paradise with healing mountain air.