Sintra and QueluzBack to Royal Iberia: Portugal and Spain »
Lush, lovely Sintra was once the summer residence of kings and aristocrats, and its late-medieval palace epitomizes the royal wealth and power of its time. Sintra's history is so important that the entire area is a designated UNESCO World Heritage Site. The region, along with Queluz, is littered with palaces and monasteries, but do take time to get a nature fix as well.
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- Portugal's only surviving palace from the Middle Ages, Palácio Nacional de Sintra is a unique blend of Moorish, Gothic, and Manueline styles.
- You can hike up to Pena Palace, just 2½ mi/4 km south of Sintra, but it's more fun to take a horse-drawn carriage. The palace is a Disney-esque confection complete with a drawbridge.
- The original palace at Monserrate (2½ mi/4 km west of Sintra) was built by the Portuguese viceroy of India.
- Queluz National Palace was partly inspired by Versailles; you can tour the apartments and state rooms.
- Each June and July during the Sintra Festival of Music and Dance, the town celebrates ballet and classical music.
- The Estoril Open de Portugal is a major golf event held in Penha Longa.
- Windswept Cabo de Roca (9 mi/15 km west of Sintra) has jagged cliffs and a dramatic coastline.