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Adventures in Sintra, Portugal's Most Exotic City

Adventures in Sintra, Portugal's Most Exotic City

Sintra is a city to behold with its outstanding mountains, lush forests, exotic gardens, and glittering palaces. It's no surprise why it's become so popular among tourists--it's literally a fairy tale dream come true. The World Heritage Site, Sintra-Vila, is among its most notable attractions. Download the Sintra Travel Guide and Offline Map, but make sure to plan your travels early in the day or midweek to avoid the crowds.

1.     Palácio Nacional de Sintra

The palace's most iconic twin conical chimneys and the lavish interior is just part of Sintra-Vila's appeal. Its interior is a mix of Moorish and Manueline styles, with arabesque courtyards, barley-twist columns and 15th- and 16th-century geometric azulejos that figure among Portugal’s oldest. Highlights include the octagonal Swan Room, adorned with frescoes of 27 gold-collared swans; and the Magpie Room.

2.      Convento dos Capuchos

The hobbit-hole-like convent that was originally built in 1560 is hidden in the woods, which makes it even more appealing for adventurers. The convent was a house for Friars. Its cramped condition and tiny cells lined with cork having low narrow doors have gained it its nickname, the Cork Convent. Visting here will make you feel like you've been transported into Alice in Wonderland as you squeeze through the narrow cells, chapels, kitchen, and cavern.

3.     Parque da Pena

The romantic garden that is the Parque de Pena is filled with tropical plants, huge redwoods and fern trees, rhododendrons, and lakes that are lined with castle-shaped duck house. The gardens are filled with hidden gems and as crowds litter the palace, you might want to escape into the Chalet da Condessa d'Edla. It is an Alpine-inspired summer getaway cottage commissioned by King Ferdinand II and his future second wife, Elise Hensler.

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