Thursday, January 30, 2014

Sintra, Portugal

Sintra is about 28 km (~17 miles) from Lisbon.  It's a small town with about 33,000 inhabitants.  The historic town is home to numerous palaces and estates which makes it a very popular day trip from the capital.  There is so much to see that's impossible to do Sintra justice in only one day.  In 1995, Sintra was listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

The National Palace was a royal summer residence and is the best preserved medieval royal palace in Portugal.  It was built in 1839.  In 1910, it became a national monument and it was restored in the 1940s.

The remains of the Moorish Castle sits atop the surrounding hills.  The castle was built around the 8th or 9th century when the Moors occupied the Iberian Peninsula.

The Quinta da Regaleira is a popular estate and park.  Construction began in 1904 and was completed in 1910.

The Seteais Palace was built from 1783 to 1787.  The neoclassical palace was originally built for the Dutch consul.  The palace was eventually acquired by the government in 1946.  In 1954 it became a luxury hotel.

Sintra's highlight is the Pena National Palace which sits on a hill overlooking the town.  The palace was built on the remains of a monastery.

Construction lasted from 1842 to 1854.  The palace was used by the royal family but in 1889 it was purchased by the state.  The palace has an eclectic mix of styles including Neo-Gothic, Neo-Islamic and Neo-Renaissance.

View of Palácio Nacional da Pena
Cabo da Roca is 18 km (11 miles) northwest of Sintra.  It offers a great view of the Atlantic Ocean.  The cape is the westernmost point of continental Europe.

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