What Sintra is all about – The culture post!

Though quiet and peace of mind can easily be part of the package when you visit Sintra, the main goal is taking in the cultural sites the town has to offer. During our stay we saw some of the more famous attractions, as well as a couple of others.

Palácio Nacional, Pálacio da Pena and Castelo dos Mouros should be on your list. Situated smack in the middle of centro histórico you’ll find Palácio Nacional. Take an hour and wander through this huge mansion, and take in the royal living quarters. You’ll see two towering chimneys from the outside, and inside you’ll get to see the kitchen beneath them.

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Insider tip: The restrooms at Palácio Nacional are free and open (at least while we were there). Good to know in a pinch 😉

Palácio da Pena and Castelo dos Mouros can be found either by public transport or by walking. I suggest walking. You’ll get a nice cardio workout (not the worst thing if you’re as avid as me when it comes to tasting the local pasteries) and get to see the varied forestry that was brought in from all over the world by the king when he decided to live on top of the hill. Palácio da Pena is an amazing castle and personally I think the outside is the most impressive. The rooms inside (at least the ones we got to see) were very small and dark. Not too inviting, in my opinon. The ruins of Castelo dos Mouros works best as a walk around the wall, and you’ll get excellent views towards both Palácio da Pena and Sintra.

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Another one of the more famous sites are the gardens in Monserrate. The ruins and buildings are interesting, but only a small part of the visit compared to the walk through the garden. The rose garden is famous, but wasn’t in full bloom on our visit. Still, it was nice afternoon we spent there.

20130616-193357.jpgYou can have a fun half hour if you stop by the toy musem, Bringquedo, where you’ll find three stories of toys, with some of them dating as far back as 3000 years. It’s also an interesting perspective on the similarities in toys across ages and cultures.

While we stayed in Sintra, there was also a World Press Cartoon exhibit in town which was fun. There were even several local (for me, meaning Norwegian in this case) contributions. Understandably, many of the press cartoons depicted themes related to the economic crisis in Europe.

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If you’re only a day in Sintra, go for Palácio Nacional, Palácio da Pena and Castelo dos Mouros. If you go by bus or taxi all the way, consider adding Monserrate to your itinerary as well. It will be a packed day of culture.

One Response to What Sintra is all about – The culture post!
  1. Clarence
    July 11, 2013 | 7:52 am

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