magical castles + the westernmost tip of europe.
the coast of portugal seen from the palace of pena. ahhhh.
a 30-minute train ride north of lisbon transports you from the city to another world…the majestic town of sintra, with its looming palaces and castles, nestled high above the coast in thickly wooded forests. it is often referred to as a real-life disney world, with quaint shops lining the cobbled streets and colorful minarets jutting into the bright blue sky. we ascend the winding roads which rise quickly high above the town, visiting first the palace of pena: a summer palace for portuguese royalty set amidst lush gardens with sweeping views of the town below and all the way out to the coast. we tour the rooms, well-preserved and decorated to the tastes of the king and queen. from there we descend upon the castle of the moors – an imposing stone castle with rugged steep steps which lead to the very top. from this vantage point one can see all the way to cabo de roca – the westernmost tip of europe. heading south along the coast we pass cabo de roca and its famed lighthouse landmark, and continue on to the fishing village turned resort town of cascais – a beautiful slice of coast considered to be the portuguese riviera. cascais oozes relaxation and granduer with its cool winds and bright sunshine, the colorful streets buzzing with ethnic restaurants and well-dressed, sun-kissed visitors. chic boutiques line the streets and a large fish market dominates a few blocks near the coast. from the pier the town is striking – a mix of fishing village + beach resort + stately architecture. no wonder the royal court were the first to claim cascais as their resort town in the 1800s…
the palace of pena:
the castle of the moors:
the fishing village of cascais: