History buffs, architecture enthusiasts, literature lovers, hopeless romantics, and even hikers all fall under Sintra’s seductive spell. The lush northern slopes of the Serra de Sintra (Sintra Mountains) have been inhabited since prehistoric times, although the Moors were the first to build a castle on the peaks. Later Sintra became the summer residence of Portuguese kings and aristocrats, and its late-medieval palace is the greatest expression of royal wealth and power of the time. In the 18th and 19th centuries, English travelers, poets, and writers—including an enthusiastic Lord Byron—were drawn by the region's beauty. The poet Robert Southey described Sintra as "the most blessed spot on the whole inhabitable globe." Its historic importance has been recognized by UNESCO, which designated it a World Heritage Site in 1995.
POINTS OF INTEREST
Quinta da Regaleira
A five-minute walk along the main road past the tourist office takes you to one of Sintra's most intriguing privately…Learn More >
Castelo dos Mouros
The battlemented ruins of this 9th-century castle still give a fine impression of the fortress that finally fell to Christian…Learn More >
Palácio Nacional de Sintra
The conical twin white chimneys of Sintra Palace are the town's most recognizable landmarks. There has probably been a palace…Learn More >