Fairy Tales and Castles! Become a Princess in Portugal
Sintra (not to be confused with Sinatra ;-)) is a fantastical small town not too far from the bustling city of Lisbon, Portugal. Easy trip. So hop on a train for less than 20 miles... and soon you will feel like a fairy tale princess! Seriously... I felt like I was in a Disney movie... just call me Jasmine. ;-) I would recommend blocking out about half a day for this trip. I imagine you will want to see the National Palace, Moorish Castle, and Pena Palace.
The castle I'm standing in front of here is Pena Palace. It's been described as one of the world's best examples of 19th-century Romanticism. Sintra is a great place to visit with your honey or with your girlfriends. I also noticed a ton of families taking it all in... and little girls dreaming of being swept off their feet by Prince Charming. I am living out a childhood fantasy in the photo below... playing Rapunzel of course. Haha
The history of Pena Palace dates back to the middle ages. According to their official website... The grounds initially had a chapel on the top of the hill... it suffered a lot of natural damage... lightning and earthquake... and remained in ruins for a long time. But in the 19th century King Ferdinand II commissioned a project to acquire the old monastery and the ruins of Moor Castle (seen below) and the surrounding grounds. He was said to be enamored with the arts and it certainly comes through in the detailing. From the bright red and yellow stucco on the outside... to the Moorish-arched ceilings, columns and ornate Portuguese painted tiles.... the detailing is incredible. It was designed as a summer house for the royal family.
Portugal exiled its last royals in 1910. It is said they spent their last night in Pena Palace before fleeing. The palace has been a national monument and museum for over 100 years. Pena Palace (and the grounds around it) was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1995.
Below are a few tours that may help simplify your trip even more... and spice up your visit: