When I landed in Lisbon it seemed everyone wanted me to take a day trip to Sintra. It’s a municipality to the west of Lisbon filled with historic palaces and castles. You can’t visit all in day - so I picked what seemed the two most interesting to me - Pena Palace and the Castle of the Moors.

At Sintra it seemed everyone wanted you to take the bus or taxi to get to Pena. After queueing for 20 minutes with no movement I asked about walking there. I got many not s positive answers ― “a two hour hard hike”. Nonsense! It’s a beautiful 1hr easy hike. Absolutely recommended to walk to Pena.

Looking up at an ornate street lamp amongst some tall trees on a sunny day.

Pena Palace #

Looking through a circular arch between two pillars to some trees beyond.
A view of two buildings in the Pena palace. the near building is covered in deep blue tiles with light stone trim. The far building is cylindrical and yellow.
A view of the open-air courtyard in the centre of Pena Palace. The courtyard has blue and white checkerboard tiles, and a large fountain in the shape of a shell in the center.
A photo of Ed Horsford looking out over a round balcony to the landscape of Sintra beyond
Looking from inside to a window looking out on a high vista. The interior is dark with dark wood window frame. Through the window the sky outside is bright. The window is made from two sets of 2x4 small glass frames. The bottom row is bright orange from an balcony outside.
Looking down at a parque brick floor. At the base of the image are the photographer’s feet. Above them is speckled bright dots of light.
Looking up at a tall ornate red building in Pena palace.
Looking on to an exterior wall in Pena Palace. The wall is fortified.
A close macro photo of some carvings in Pena Palace. The carvings look like worms / coral.

Castle of the Moors #

For my second attraction I visited the Castle of the Moors - an 8th century castle perched on the top of the hill. It’s something of a fairytale image with battlements stretching as far as the eye can see.

Exterior castle battlements covered in moss on a sunny day.
Looking down on to one corner of the Moorish castle.
A view of one corner of the Castle of the Moors with fortified walls receding in to the distance.