If Bruges wasn’t on your list of places to see…
The charming city Lisbon has so much to offer, that it is hard to ever get bored there. Nevertheless the surrounding areas of Portugal’s capital are extremely beautiful and interesting and worth checking out on a day trip.
Visiting this “UNESCO” world heritage site is a must in my opinion. Only being 25km away from Lisbon, the village was once home of the rich and wealthy. I am sure there is no other place like Sintra with that many castles and villas that reminds us of the legacy of the people who had a say in old days. All those buildings are beautifully designed and still in good condition. There are a lot of castles and villas to see and you could spend days walking through them with your mouth open astonished by their beauty. The three main attractions are the Palácio National da Pena- the Portugese version of the bavarian fairytale castle Neuschwanstein, then there is the Castelo dos Mouros- a ruin from a castle that was built in the 8th or 9th century and last but not least Quinta da Regaleira. All of them are different, yet so beautiful. You can get a pass to all three, but if you are short in time and have to restrict yourself, go to „Quinta da Regaleira“. There is no place like this place. The castle is surrounded with a beautiful park with a wide range of interesting plants from the whole world, waterfalls and an underground hallway that leads to a beautiful grotto. Wherever you go, behind each corner, each rock – there is something to discover. There is something mystical about this place and compared to the palaces it is not as crowded.
After that go for a stroll through the narrow streets of Sintra, head to the viewpoints to take photos of the picturesque little town and have a look in the shops. In a lot of them you can try products of the region like wine, port wine, cheese, meat etc. and buy something to take home.
One thing not to miss are the mouthwatering pastries of Sintra. Head to the store Pirquita, which has been open since 1862, and try those two traditional sweets: Queijadas and Travesseiros de Sintra. There are two Tea salons and if you want to skip the queue head to the lesser known one in Rua Padarias 1/7.
One magical place- “Quinta da Regaleira”
The ruins of Castela dos Mouros
2. Cabo da Roca
“This is where the land ends and the sea begins” claims the sign there. Cabo da Roca is situated on the westernmost point on the European mainland. From there you can enjoy a panoramic view over the stunning coastline and the cliffs, go up to the lighthouse and head for a little walk. There is also a little café where you can have a drink and a few people selling roasted sweet chestnuts. I have been munching down my bag of sweet chestnuts while watching the sunset and loved it.
This spot is extremely busy in the evening, but I can promise it will take your breath away. What nature created here is extremely beautiful and this place is worth a visit.
Think beautiful beaches, sunshine and tasty seafood in the cafés along the promenade – do I have your attention already? Cascais is a lovely, little town not far out from Lisbon by the coast. Being not far away from the capital is very easy to reach via car or train and there are quite a few tour operators where you can book a transport to Cascais and back. It is the perfect spot if you just want to have a relaxed time on the beach and catch some sunshine. The beaches here are way nicer than the ones close to Lisbon, so it is definitely worth going a little bit out of the city. For those who want to be more active, there are a lot of surfshops that offer trial lessons for surfing beginners, like me, or rent out surfboards for people who are more experienced. You can also try out Stand up paddling, take out a boat or try out other water sports. Thanks to the hot climate in summer and the mild weather in winter it is possible to catch a wave almost all year round. It is also quite nice to walk around the promenade and look out for a small restaurant to enjoy a drink and don’t miss out on trying some seafood there. If you want, you can walk into town and look around a little bit or visit the lighthouse “Farol de Guia” or have a look at the impressive cliff formation “Boca do Inferno” which has the dramatic name “Hells mouth”.