An April 2001 trip
to Sintra by Re Carroll
Quote: Lord Byron called this small town "Glorious Eden" back in the early 1800s and I think he'd feel the same today. Although very touristy, it is Portugal at its prettiest.
The indoor tables are usually filled with tourists taking a break from sightseeing and locals who want to watch a soccer match on the overhead TVs.
Prices are reasonable and service is friendly. There are no waiters: you order at the bar and then find a table at which you can relax.
This is a good place to try ginja - a Portuguese cherry liqueur that reminded me of cherry brandy. Locals order tiny cups of (strong) coffee and have a shot of brandy or similar liqueur added.
Member Rating 3 out of 5 on May 21, 2001
Rua Higimo de Sousa 4
Attraction | "Palacio Nacional de la Pena"
The Pena Palace is open Tuesday to Sunday from 10 to 5 pm (longer after 1 June) and admission is 600$ escudoes (approx. $3.00 US).
Bus #434 drops you off at the parking lot below the Palace. There is a shuttle bus (also 600$)that takes you up to the Palance entrance but there is sometimes a wait until it is full.
The 10 minute walk uphill along the forest road is not too strenuous and is rather pleasant with birds chirping and a cool breeze blowing.
Member Rating 4 out of 5 on May 21, 2001
Palacio Nacional Da Pena - National Palace
Attraction | "Castelo dos Mouros"
You definitely need to be in decent physical shape to climb around the ruins and it's a good idea to carry water with you. Not only are there hundreds of steps but they are uneven and slippery in spots so you need to have good traction on your shoes.
There isn't much left of the castle, just the walls and stairs that climb to various view points. The town is spread below and you can see far away to the Atlantic Ocean.
There was a pretty strong wind blowing on the day I was there and it came in handy since I made a point of climbing just about every stair I could find.
On the trail leading to the ruins, a man was playing the flute and it fit perfectly with the atmosphere.
The ruins are open from 10 to 5pm (longer in summer).
Castelo Dos Mouros - Castle of the Moors
Estrada da Pena
Attraction | "Palacio Nacional de la Villa de Sintra"
I was very impressed with the long Swans Hall where each wooden ceiling panel had a painting of a swan. The Coat of Arms Room had a 16th century wooden ceiling with the Royal Coat of Arms in its centre and the walls were fully covered with blue and white tiles. Greatly influenced by Arab customs, an informal dining room was tiled from floor to ceiling and had a water fountain in the middle of the floor. Guests used this to wash their hands and then sat on the floor to eat their meals.
Much of the decor and furnishings are from the 15th century and there is a great collection of 500 year old tiles. The building has been nicknamed the "Madonna Bra Building" because of the two large white cone chimneys in the front.
The Palace is closed Wednesday but otherwise open from 10 to 4:30 pm. Admission is 600$ escudoes (approx. $3. US). The Palace is right in the centre of Sintra and is surrounded by lots of shops and restaurants. It is about a 10 minute walk to the train station.
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