A short train ride from Lisbon is the town of Sintra, sitting in the shadows of a small mountain. Jaime and I ventured here for the day based on the recommendation of a friend, and it was very much worth it. On a walk through a tiny park, we found this little shed full of plants and garden tools and such. It was so quaint and quiet and seemingly uncared for. Not only is the town itself very cute (I wish we hadn’t had to rush out later just to catch the train), but the mountain hosts two castles – one a Moorish ruin, another a bizarre palace.
Both castles were spellbinding, for different reasons, and the views of the valleys below made the trek up (and run down) all the more satisfying.
The Moorish people built a castle in Sintra hundreds of years ago, and its ruins still overlook the little town. We climbed the mountain that it sits on (it was A LOT higher than either of us anticipated, and we had to run back down in order to catch our train back to Lisbon). It was so windy and so scary. And pretty precarious.
Farther along is the Palace of Pena, a 19th century palace built in the European Romantic style. But, I would say that it’s an absolutely crazy place. The statues of ghoulish creatures, intricate tiles, and beautiful arches all overlook the Moorish castle and the town. Much of the palace was still brilliantly colored, and it gives a taste of many of the architectural designs of the place.