The capital has its charms, and several attractions that take us on a journey through history while seducing us with the blue of the Tagus.
On the outskirts of Lisbon there are unforgettable places that deserve a day out of the city to discover:
About 40 km from Lisbon is a mountain facing the ocean, full of history and secrets waiting to be unveiled. It is the mountain of Sintra, long known and chosen by the kings of Portugal for their summer stays, for its beauty, tranquility and its constant mild temperatures throughout the year.
And that is why we are not there yet, and on the way we already see a palace on the top, some fortification walls, and as we get closer, we discover palaces and farms, surrounded by greenery, and in every corner, a charming story.
How to get from Lisbon to Sintra?
You can go by car from Marquês de Pombal - A5 - A16; or by train, with frequent departures from Rossio Station, all day.
We have arrived in Sintra. And what to do in Sintra?
The narrow streets that cross each other, the stores and cafes, the aromas of pastries and snacks whet our appetite, and we feel like entering every door, sometimes to see magnificent handicrafts, embroidery and wool, sometimes to sit down and enjoy a coffee with a couple of "queijadas de Sintra", small cakes made of fresh cheese and cinnamon, where just one doesn't take up space and you always want more.
From the historic center we can see palaces on the mountainside and the walls of the old Moorish Castle, where Arab ancestors lived and stayed in the region.
In the square of the historic center we find the National Palace of Sintra, a centuries-old palace with two huge gothic chimneys and medieval influences, full of curiosities and stories, and which was the favorite place of Queen Philippa of Lancaster, as it reminded her of her homeland. Further on, following the signs, we also find ... the famous Quinta da Regaleira, full of mysticism and mysteries to be unraveled, just like the descent to the Initiation Well!"
Climbing the mountain
On foot, by car or by bus, climbing the mountain is a real effort trial, compensated by the great beauty of the details, magnificent landscapes around every corner, romantic gardens, lakes and paths where curiosity peeks out.
At the end of the climb we find the Pena Palace, a fairy tale palace overlooking the ocean. Built on the site of a small monastery where we still find part of its structure inserted in the palace, we gaze at the many details and symbols that tell its history. It was built by King Fernando II, a great lover of chivalric novels and the tales of the Brothers Grimm, which can be seen in the decorative influences and collections displayed in the rooms. Outside, there are walls, terraces and arcades where we take the best photos and enjoy a pause, facing the sea.
At the foot of the mountain
As you leave the village and go around the mountain, you will find paths that extend along farms, vineyards, palaces, the famous Palace of Seteais which dates back to the 18th century and is now an elegant hotel, or the Palace of Monserrate, from the 19th century, with its arabesques and English style gardens; and a track that goes down from the mountain to the beaches, traveled by a small tramcar.
The charms do not end at the mountain and extend to the sea, and Cabo da Roca is the westernmost point in continental Europe. A rocky promontory facing the calm waters of the ocean, often buffeted by the cold, salty Atlantic winds. It's one of those iconic places where everyone takes a picture proving they've already set foot on one edge of the European continent.
Cascais and Estoril
Leaving the mountain behind and following the sea, at the end we find a small palace on the edge of a beach, with a small stone bridge, the palace of the Counts Castro Guimarães (open to public) and after which we enter the picturesque town of Cascais.
The bay, splashed with colors, the fishing boats and the beaches on the edge of which the villas, palatial houses of noblemen who spent summer seasons here with the Royal Family who settled in the Citadel Fort.
What to do in Cascais?
Here you can enjoy fresh fish, take a walk along the seafront, or stop at the beach esplanades. If the weather is good, bring your swimsuit and spend a lively day in this town that is side by side with Estoril.
Estoril began as a bathing resort with thermal waters, and today is famous for its Casino, the oldest in Europe, as well as for its golf courses, or the old Estoril Race Track, which has hosted several international competitions.
Here also takes place the international tennis tournament Estoril Open ... and from Estoril to Lisbon follows one of the most beautiful seaside roads in Portugal, passing by several beaches and the Belém district.
In your plans to visit Lisbon, save one day to get to know its surroundings.
Have a nice tour!