Header Image


Navigation images

Palace-hopping in Sintra

I debated if I should write a single (long) post of the palaces we visited in Sintra, or break them down individually. Laziness won. ;)

Palaces of Sintra

Palaces of Sintra

The one really tricky thing task is whittling down the number of photos on this entry, so scroll down for the links to the Flickr photosets if you really want to see them all. Be glad I selected only some 30 photos on average per palace, from the few hundreds I took for each! :p

Quinta de Regaleria

The first palace we visited was not a royal residence but a former home to the Carvalho Monteiro family, designed by Luigi Manini over the course of 14 years. It is an enigmatic domain, filled with references to the quest for paradise and of one’s spiritual rebirth. The garden was symbolic to the path that one may take, along with choices to make, among the enigmas of mythology and epic journey. It is best to explore the Quinta de Regaleria with a guide who recounts the story well and knowledgeable about the domain.

Palaces of Sintra

Palaces of Sintra

Palaces of Sintra

Palaces of Sintra

Palaces of Sintra

Palaces of Sintra

Palaces of Sintra

Palaces of Sintra

Palácio Nacional da Pena

A former residence of the Portuguese royal family, the Palace of Pena has the look and feel of a fairytale castle that combines Manueline and Moorish touches. Every façade is bold and bright, every corner another view point of its environs. Its garden extends down the hill, with lakes and valleys which we didn’t have time to all see and enjoy. We came over from Quinta da Regaleria, through a path in the woods which took about an hour to walk. The hot day was not terribly ideal for hiking, even if this is not a very high mountain, but the majestic palace was well worth the effort to get to. Now, if only there were less visitors around… (we can’t be among the first at every palaces since we were only in Sintra for 48 hours)

Palaces of Sintra

Palaces of Sintra

Palaces of Sintra

Palaces of Sintra

Palaces of Sintra

Palaces of Sintra

Palaces of Sintra

Palaces of Sintra

Castelo dos Mouros

The Castle of the Moors is located just across the road from the Palace of Pena, but what a stark difference between them. Then again, how does one pit a medieval castle against a Romantic palace? The walls immediately remind many of the Great Wall of China; this once military outpost was abandoned in the 16th century and considerably damaged in the 1755 Lisbon earthquake.

Palaces of Sintra

Palaces of Sintra

Palaces of Sintra

Palaces of Sintra

Palaces of Sintra

Palaces of Sintra

Palaces of Sintra

Palaces of Sintra

Palácio Nacional de Sintra

Like a giant in the main square of Sintra’s historic centre, the Palácio Nacional de Sintra is a medieval royal palace immediately identifiable by its double, tall chimneys that stood over the kitchen of the palace. Many rooms are named after the themes of their ceilings, from swan to magpie, from galley to coat of arms. Arabic influence can be found in every nooks and corners of the palace; one can very easily imagine this palace in the Middle East! Another stand-out feature is the use of richly decorated tiles, patterned by latticework; truly elegant works.

Palaces of Sintra

Palaces of Sintra

Palaces of Sintra

Palaces of Sintra

Palaces of Sintra

Palaces of Sintra

Palaces of Sintra

Palaces of Sintra

What’s your verdict? Aren’t they just gorgeous!?

I guess I need not tell you that comfy shoes are the most important thing for anyone planning to pound the paths from one palace to another. Between the roads, narrow lanes in the woods, cobblestones, etc a good pair of walking shoes make the most sense, although a pair of runners work really well too. And ladies, please, leave the heels and the wedges at home. At a push, ballerina flats are acceptable, but be prepared to feel the impact after a long day on your feet without much cushion to absorb the impact of your movements.

Quinta da Regaleria: photoset on Flickr
Palácio de Pena: photoset on Flickr
Castelo dos Mouros: photoset on Flickr
Palácio Nacional de Sintra: photoset on Flickr



Category: Culture, Europe, Portugal, Travel

Tagged: , , , , , , ,

2 scribbles & notes

  1. med says:

    Awesome palaces indeed…and at a single location…a place i haven’t heard of until now…wow :)

Scribble a note to med × Cancel reply


Notify me!

Enter your email address to subscribe to this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

Most read today