Sintra, Portugal

Sep 26th, 2009, 02:07 PM
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Sintra, Portugal

Have - unfortunately - only 1/2 day for day trip outside Lisbon to Sintra. Would welcome recommendation on which Palace to visit - Queluz, Pena, or National Palace in Sintra?
halemu is offline  
Sep 29th, 2009, 06:36 AM
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nokomis is offline  
Sep 29th, 2009, 11:06 AM
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Hi, halemu,

I'm sure you won't get agreement on this question. It just depends on what attracts you the most. I've been to all three places, so here are some ideas about what each one offers:

Queluz -- actually not in Sintra, only about 10 km outside Lisbon. I LOVE this place -- it's a "down on its luck" miniature of Versailles (I don't mean that in a snobby way, I tried to think of a better way to say it, but couldn't). Not too prettified, lots of personal charm. You get to walk through the palace through personal family spaces and through the big formal palatial gathering rooms. The gardens are very nice, and the tiled boating canal is something else.

Pena -- Very heavily touristed, visits are heavily structured because of that. Meaning you must follow the arrows and visit the rooms in the order they tell you. Unless you are there at an off season date and time, you are likely to feel like you're in a line and must keep moving. Lots of unusual decorations, styles, etc. In contrast to the palace, the grounds are virtually empty and have lots of paths taking you up to the highest point in the Sintra mountains wtih spectacular views. If you like plants, you'll love this place, people tell me lots of them are quite unusual. But if you only have half a day, not sure you would have time to see the gardens. IMO that would be a shame.

National Palace -- advantage is that it's right in town, so you can sneak a quick trip through the village itself (and maybe catch a pastry or two at the Periquito). Everyone loves the kitchen with its enormous ovens.

If you only have half a day for this trip, you might want to reconsider leaving Lisbon altogether, and take a trip to the Marques da Fronteira palace. You get the palace experience, much closer to town center, beautiful grounds and rooms, lots of nice tiles, etc. (See Janenicole's recent report for some more opinions).

Hope you enjoy your trip, Laurie
lreynold1 is offline  
Sep 29th, 2009, 11:11 AM
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My favorite was actually Castelo dos Mouros (the wind! the views!) which would be on the way to Pena; I'd think you could do both of those in half a day, thus making that my recommendation. Here are a few pix to help you decide:
Amy is offline  
Sep 30th, 2009, 04:31 AM
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Having just returned from visiting all three, I would say that lreynold1's descriptions are very accurate. It really depends upon what your interests are. Because there were so few tourists at Queluz, I was really able to "feel" what it would have been like living there during it's glory days. Something about being in those magnificent rooms by myself made it more magical.

Some places are closed on certain days, so depending upon what day of the week you are going, that may be a deciding factor. You really can't go wrong.
janenicole is offline  
Oct 4th, 2009, 04:25 PM
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Many thanks to those who responded - we look forward to seeing Portugal for the first time.
halemu is offline  
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