If I could pick a palace that embodies my ideal aesthetic, it would be the multicolored Pena Palace set amidst the plush green hills of the Serra de Sintra. The scenic views, enchanting historical buildings and close proximity to Lisbon make Sintra the most popular day trip destination. Thus, I visited Sintra during my trip to Portugal this past summer.
Fernando II, the husband of Portuguese Queen Maria II, built Pena Palace in the 1840s. Influenced by the Moorish, Manueline and German gothic architecture, the palace is one of the finest examples of 19th-century romanticism in Portugal. The vibrant colors, unique embellishments, opulent rooms, and decorative gardens make the Pena Palace the most exquisite attraction in Sintra.
In addition to Pena Palace, the town of Sintra consists of other royal estates and retreats such as the Sintra National Palace and the mediaeval Castelo dos Mouros. Situated in Sintra’s old town, Sintra Vila, the National Palace is the easiest to access and a great place to start exploring. The square by the palace is filled with cafes, and shops. From there, sightseers can catch a bus, drive or enjoy a lengthy hike to the other castles.
When to visit: The best time to visit Sintra is in the summer. Since there will not be any rain or fog, you will be able to get amazing shots of the sun bathed vibrant castle against the backdrop of the blue sky.
How to get there: The recommended means of travel to Sintra is by train. There is a regular train service that departs Lisbon from the Rossio train station and gets you to the Sintra train station in roughly 40 minutes. Driving is also an option but you might have a hard time finding parking since space is very limited.