|Sintra by FlickrDelusions, Creative Common Licence|
UNESCO declared it a World Heritage Site in 1995 recognizing the uniqueness of Sintra's cultural landscape. Yet, long before poets and writers had already praised the village’s beauty. Lord Byron described it as ‘glorious Eden’ while Poet Laureate Robert Southey declared Sintra’s region ‘the most blessed spot in the habitable globe’.
A memorable short break in Sintra at Valentine’s Day, which is coming soon, may be the perfect excuse to discover Sintra. After all, the village is called the Capital of Romanticism.
Sintra's natural scenario
The amazing scenario of a small village of white, yellow and ochre houses framed by a lush green mountain embellished by imposing palaces, villas and manor houses will cast a spell on you as soon as you arrive. Just 40 minutes away from Lisbon, the Portuguese capital, Sintra carries us into a world of phantasy, where the women can be princesses waiting for a shining armor knight riding his white horse and the men can play Prince Charming.
|Quinta da Regaleira by AMGPG, Creative Common Licence|
Much of the singular ambience of Sintra village comes from its incredible monuments. They witness some of the golden years of Sintra’s history. The Moorish castle is a legacy of the Moors and a reminder of the struggles between Arabs and Christians during the Reconquista that shape today’s Portuguese territory.
Sintra National Palace was the favorite summer residence of the Royal Family for ages and helped to boost Sintra’s recovery after the Black Death. Pena Palace is the highest expression of the Romanticism style of the 19th century. This Disney-like palace impresses for its opulence and richness of detail both in the architecture as in decoration. Other palaces like Monserrate or Regaleira are less famed but are also worthy of a visit for their singularity. While Monserrate presents the recovery of the Moorish style, Regaleira is the highest example of Sintra’s mysticism and exotericism.
Sintra charms us with small details that make all the difference. One of them is the centenary electric train that takes from the mountain to the sea in a slow pace so much more in line with the past than with hustle and bustle of today. Yet, the electric train isn’t the only means of transport in Sintra that takes into another era. During your short break in Sintra you will be able to feel like a true aristocrat while discovering the village’s wonders by one of its horse-drawn carriages.
Roca Cape is another highlight of Sintra you should visit. Aside being the western most point of Continental Europe, the landscape there is astonishing. Paraphrasing the Portuguese poet Camões ‘this is where the land ends and the sea begins’.
|Cape Roca, Sintra by cristophotos, Creative Common Licence|
But Sintra’s coast has other treasures waiting to be discovered. The beaches present an irresistible rough beauty coming from the imposing cliffs protecting them. The majority still keeps a wild aura, as construction is almost non-existing. Fortunately the small villages by the sea like Azenhas do Mar were kept small and protected against property speculation.
A short break in Sintra also attends to the needs of the stomach. The village offers wonderful restaurants serving the magnificent Portuguese food. At coastal villages like Praia das Maçãs fresh fish and seafood conquer visitors. However, in terms of gastronomy, Sintra stands out for its pastry. No one resists to a travesseiro or a queijada! With them your short break in Sintra will be even sweeter.
|Travesseiro at Sintra by PQz, Creative Common Licence|
Surely that a great stay also requires a wonderful lodging, don’t you agree? Well Sintra has a few remarkable hotels that do justice to the village’s magic. Lawrence’s or Seteais hotels, for instance, are ideal choices for a romantic getaway. All this and more, so much more, is waiting for you. So what about accepting my invitation and book a short break in Sintra?
About author: Clara Campos is a professional blogger who currently writes about Portugal for The Sintra holidays guide.
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