"Lo! Cintra's glorious Eden intervenes in variegated maze of mount and glen." —Lord Byron
Guidebooks rave about Sintra, a UNESCO World Heritage Site just one hour from Lisbon, set on hills overlooking the Atlantic. I knew I had to see it. But it wasn't a scheduled tour stop, so I arrived in Portugal a day early. And on my first morning there, caught a train in Lisbon's center heading west.
Because I had a hard time finding the right station in Lisbon, I got a later-than-planned start to the day. And I paid for it by arriving at the same time as several busloads of tourists.
That, of course, meant the shuttles running from the train station to the main sites were packed, and I chose to walk rather than wait for an open seat. The crowds contributed to some lost time throughout the day (and, at moments, a cranky mood).
Nonetheless . . .
What a picturesque little village—and a spectacular natural setting! On my way to the hilltop Moorish Castle and Pena Palace, you'll pass the perfectly regal Town Hall and see the double-spired National Palace.
Take a good pair of walking shoes; be prepared to have your socks knocked off.
Along the cool stone path to the Moorish Castle, I came upon these delicate and beautiful fuschia, lit perfectly by the dappled light.
Click photos to enlarge.