From Lisbon it is a short train ride and a trip back in time to Sintra. We spent a day climbing and exploring the castles and gardens dating back hundreds of years.

National Palace


The oldest parts of the National Palace date back to the 1500’s. While many of the furnishings were carted away by the royal family before some invasion, there is just enough left to give you a hint of what life was like.

Andy’s favorite room in the palace was the kitchen. ¬†Enormous, with multiple cooking areas, it features two large chimneys to vent the smoke. These two chimneys are what you see first as you approach the palace.

The floors, walls and ceilings feature intricate title work, wood patterns, and stone work. Each room is a new experience. My favorite spot was the view to the princess garden.

The Pena Palace

Experiencing the cool breezes and spectacular views, it is easy to understand why the royal family choose this location for their summer home. Riding the 4 km up the hill I had to wonder how they transported everything they needed to build it.
Once inside the palace, the climbs don’t stop as you wind your way up through the castle to the turrets on top. But the climb is with the trek for the views.

Photos are not allowed inside the Pena palace, which is a shame, because unlike much of the National palace, most of the furnishings remain.

The Moor Castle

The last climb of the day took us to the walls of the Moor Castle. Dating back to the sixth century, it is a marvel of construction that so much of it still stands today.

Standing high on the walls overlooking the valley it is easy to imagine what it must have been like for the various soldiers to stand watch across the years.