Essentially romantic in character this town was poetically described by Lord Byron as "this glorious Eden". It was declared by UNESCO as a World Heritage Site.
Original Sintra is not a large place to visit but it is very worth while for its charm and visual links with the past. It encompasses two outlying areas named Estefânia and São Pedro.
As the older part of Sintra sits on a granite slope it is best seen on foot or by a horse-drawn carriage. Abounding in history the town is dominated by the two conical chimneys of the Palácio Nacional da Vila that was the a summer home of the royal family since the 15th Century.
Scattered on the surrounding hillside are several historical creations openly showing the diverseness of each original owner’s taste in personal architecture. The most outstanding example is possibly the Palácio da Pena, a 19th Century recreation of different styles admired by the King, Dom Fernando II, the German husband of the young Portuguese Queen Maria II.
This example often regarded as a failed attempt to create his own romantic revival. The castle stands high on the southeast side of the mountain range. Overlooking the village are the ruined ramparts of the Castelo dos Mouros, a fort dating from the 8th Century. Within it is an ancient Moorish cistern and the panoramic view from its walls is impressive.
There are several churches in the town and the most interesting is the 12th Century Igreja de Santa Maria which was rebuilt after the 1755 earthquake.
Several private palaces are open to the public, amongst which are the Palácio de Seteais, a magnificent 18th Century home built for the fifth Marquês de Marialva and later converted into a five star Hotel, Casa dos Ribafrias a 16th Century building once belonging to the Marquês de Pombal; Quinta de Pena Verde, another 16th Century palace, and the Palácio de Monserrate built in the 19th Century by Francis Cook and influenced by the architectural design of Nash.
Another place of interest is the Convento dos Capuchos, which is an unusual hermitage founded in 1560 with tiny dwarf cells cut from the rock.
Within the old town there are several museums. The Museu de Brinquedo displays toys from the past and present. The Museu Regional retells the history of the area with items and relics and often are also holding art exhibitions.
Casa Museu Leal de Câmara is a museum devoted to the works of the artist of that name. Casa Museu Dorita Castel Branco is also devoted to works of the sculptress after whom it is named.
Others are Museu de Arte Moderna, Galeria de Arte Municipal de Sintra, Centro International de Escultura, Museu de Arqueologia São Miguel de Odrinhas, Museu Renato L. Garcia, Atelier Museu de Anjos Teixeira and Museu Ferreira de Castro.
Not to be missed is the Jardins de Monserrate for the vast and endless variety of exotic trees, subtropical plants and shrubs that were imported in the 19th Century to create this attractive Park.
If the visitor has the time there is the charmingly restored old electric train from the town of Sintra that takes the visitor at the weekends (only in the summer), down to the west and to the not too distant beach resort of Praia da Maças and the craggily perched coastal village of Azenhas de Mar.
Also to the west of Sintra is the village of Colares that is famous for its white wine that is the only one in Portugal that enjoys a bottle life that exceeds the normal two or three years. To the north is the town of Mafra with its imposing Monastery.
Another place of interest are the Roman ruins that are to be seen at São Miguel de Odrinas.
|Festival de Musica
|Feira Grande de São Pedro
|Romaria de São Mamede
||14th to 22nd August
|Festival de Ballet
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|Support to Tourists
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