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Sintra is a lovely and magical place in Portugal. It is surrounded by forests and green hills, only 30 kilometres away from Lisbon. This medieval town is well-known for its beautiful romantic castles, luxurious villas and Portuguese kings’ palaces.
But not only kings and aristocracy loved to come to romantic Sintra, even the famous fairytale writer Hans Christian Andersen was inspired by the beautiful castles of Sintra and its lovely nature. He used to live in a house called ‘Casa O’Neill’, and the unique landscapes of medieval Sintra were a great source of his inspiration. The truth is, Sintra and its surroundings really looks like a perfect romantic setting from a fairytale. Even the great English poet Lord Byron was seduced by the beauty of this romantic place and he called it ‘Glorious Eden’. Who would not describe this place as a paradise?!
The whole area of Sintra found its place on UNESCO’s World Heritage List. This is the place where European Romanticism in architecture began. The oldest monument in Sintra is Moorish fortress Castelo dos Mouros from the 8th century.
The old part of the town Vila Velha is full of little narrow streets with the old houses made of stone. During the summer these houses look even nicer with Bougainvillea and Hortensia flowers all around them. Another ornaments of these old houses are azulejos, painted ceramic tiles.
There are a lot of souvenir shops and sweet shops in the centre of Sintra. The other attractions of this romantic place are three fountains Fonte da Pipa, Fonte Mourisca and Fonte da Sabuga, a tower clock called Torre do Relogio, Jewish quarter Beco da Judaria, a column decorated in Manueline style Pillory, and Moorish mills. You can also visit Museum of toys called Museu do Brinquedo. Medieval Sintra and its environment is full of romantic castles and palaces such as: Palacio da Pena, Palacio Nacional da Vila de Sintra or Paco Real, Palacio Quinta da Regaleira, Palacio Monserrate and Capuchos monastery from the 16th century.
Palacio Nacional da Vila de Sintra is placed on a little hill in the centre of this romantic town. It is a landmark of Sintra because of its two big and grey chimneys. The palace was built at the end of the 14th century by order of Portuguese king Joao I. It has become favourite summer residence of kings’ families. This palace served as kings’ summer residence till the beginning of the 20th century. Its chambers are decorated by the most beautiful azulejos from the 15th and 16th century. In a room called Sala dos Pegas there is a ceiling painted with magpies. It is said that these magpies were painted by order of king Joao I himself. The best compositions of azulejos are on the walls of Sala dos Brasoes with a large cupola instead of ceiling.
Palacio Quinta da Regaleira is charming and magical palace. It used to be a summer residence of wealthy Portuguese millionaire Antonio Augusto Monteira. It was building from 1898 to 1912 in New Manueline style. Besides the main building, there are wonderful gardens, little lake, a lot of mosaics, a chapel and barns. There is even a building under the ground in a shape of a tower, and it is 27 metres deep.
If you wonder where to go on a holiday, the medieval town of Sintra is a perfect romantic place for you. Enjoy the world of mystique and magical castles, lovely palaces and villas, green hills and forests. Take a romantic walk and admire the most romantic area in Portugal. Welcome to a fairytale!