Before we flew to Portugal, I read a little bit about Sintra. It is an old town, not far from the Atlantic coast and only 30 kilometers from Lisbon. Movies have been filmed in Sintra. The town is an UNESCO world heritage site.
Pena Palace (a huge palace up on the hills) is something many tourist want to see in Sintra. Castelo dos Mouros and Sintra-Cascais natural park are also very famous. Some say Sintra is the most romantic place in the world. It is for sure an amazing city to visit.
ps. to enlarge the photos, click on them 🙂
Palacio Nacional di Sintra is an old palace in the middle of the town. We decided to go inside.
The rooms are quite amazing and the ceilings as well.
The history of Sintra is quite colorful, just like the town itself.
The houses are painted yellow, rose, blue, green and maroon. And just like the old castles and palaces, the houses takes your mind back in history, when King Afonso I, also called Afonso Henriques and Portuguese Afonso o Conquistador, conquered Sintra.
Many aristocrats and kings have lived in Sintra during the summer. The mild climate was appreciated. Further south it was much hotter. Fabulous houses and amazing gardens were built. The days were spent playing bridge and visiting the sandy beaches by the Atlantic Ocean. 800 years later we enjoyed time on the same beaches.
Very close to Praia Grande and our hotel, there is a small town named Colares. When you drive through the town, you see many vineyards.
We tasted this local wine, vinho verde, at dinner and liked the fresh wine. It is young and a little bit like sparkling wine. I was surprised how cheap it was. A local bottle of Vinho Verde costs less than four euros, even in the restaurants. (In Finland wine often costs over thirty euros in restaurants).
Walking around in Sintra, we happened to see a small port wine shop with a Tax Free sign. We had not tasted port wine before, so we entered this small and old shop. What a shop it was. There were old dusty bottles, priced over 2000 euros, and new port wine bottles for less than 30 euros.
The owner of the shop told us how port wine is produced and after a few minutes we had three different port wines in front of us. We tasted them. And we loved all of them. We bought two bottles of ten year old port wine. Tasting them at home in Finland the next winter was a wonderful experience. We fell in love with port wine. There are many different kinds of port wine, for example Ruby Style, Reserve, Late Bottled Vintage, Tawny Style and White Port.
The day we visited Sintra, it was a little bit cloudy, which was perfect weather for walking around the town in July. Usually the days were quite hot. When we arrived back at our hotel, the clouds disappeared and the summer sun felt hot on the skin. We ran into the Atlantic Ocean.
What a perfect day!