Being one of the most western points of the European continent, Sintra, about an hour away from Lisbon, is a magical part of Portugal. A beautiful place, that seems to have been left alone since the time the Portuguese royalty went there to spend their vacations.
“To see the world and leave out Sintra is to go blind about.”
-A spanish saying, paying tribute to the importance of Sintra’s beauty.
Sintra has also been visited and complimented by many travelling poets. English poet Lord Byron called Sintra “a glorious Eden.” In a letter to his mother in England, Byron summed up Sintras romantic appeal, accurate both then and now, writing,
“Perhaps in every aspect the most delightful in Europe; it contains beauties of every description natural and artificial. Palaces and gardens rising in the midst of rocks, cataracts and precipices, convents on stupendous heights, a distant view of the sea and the Tagus (river).”
This is a video of one of the many winding roads in Sintra, on the way to Apple Beach. Near the end of the video you can start to see it. The beach is named this way because the apples would roll down the hill from the orchards and in to the sea, where people from the village would swim and collect their apples.
There is a reason some of the most powerful people in the country have decided over many centuries to make this their preferred destination. And the castles they have built there, show their appreciation.
The Royal castle, Pena Palace, is an incredible building. The location it is in, is even more impressive.
Its origins being as a monastery, hundreds of years ago. This building was taken over by the King of Portugal and what he created is possibly more than you could ever imagine of a fairytale castle. Standing alone atop a mountain, with nothing but forest and the castle garden around for many kilometers. The views from the top are magnificent. Imagine waking up to the view out of that window every morning! The work and detail on just about everything, on and inside the castle are made to compete.
The stonework, woodwork, tiling and even gardening, everything about the Royal castle has amazing detail and a lot of work is put in to keep it all looking so dreamlike.
After all that, the Royal Castle is not the only place to see in Sintra. The furthest west point on the continent is here, at Roca Cape.
Sintra is also home to the National palace, Monserrate and the Palacio da Regaleira.