It’s my last day in Lisboa and I have to say I am starting to miss it a little already. Though the buildings are reminders of former glories and current harsh times are reflected in the state of the buildings, there is a certain charm that grows on you and finds a place of its own in your heart. Traditional shops making handmade shoes and gloves can still be found, old trams still run up and down the hills, neighbourhood baths still in use, people here are still living the traditional life. Outside of Lisbon, you see another side of Portugal. A more romantic side where rolling hills, deep valleys and moorish castles stand atop mountains.
We went to Sintra via train which is a mere 40minutes from Rossio station. A train leaves every ten minutes so its fairly convenient. If you buy the Lisboa card that gives you discounts to sites and public transport ( 24, 48, 72 hours) the fare is included. Just seeing the beauty of Rossio station is a lovely start to the trip. On the train if you sit on the left you will see views of roman aqueducts.
At Sintra, upon arriving I recommend turning right and taking the bus 434 or 435 to major sites. 434 takes you to the moorish castle and the highly recommended Pena palace, the former summer residence of Portugese kings. 435 takes you to other famous palaces of millionaires and convents. All unesco world heritage sites.
We went to Pena palace and at first sight I wondered if this was a fairy tale castle built for tourists yet it was indeed built for kings and queens. Its colourful and a mixture of moorish and european architecture. There are small castle towers and courtyards with beautiful views of the ocean. Surrounded by forests you could spend an entire summer day roaming around yet in autumn it gets a bit chilly.
I could go on and on yet I must go now..