A couple of kilometers west from Lisbon, nearby the Portuguese shores, there’s a huge territory full of wonder and historic sights. The colorful Palácio Nacional da Pena, the gardens of the palace and a Moorish castle make way for an exciting time in the outskirts of Lisbon.
Me and my friends are leaving Lisbon for today and we’ve planned to spend the day in Sintra. In this huge territory where many different historic places are situated, we start at the Moorish castle. To be honest, there’s not much left of the castle itself, mainly because large parts of it have been destroyed during wars. Not strange, considering the castle dates all the way back to the 9th century.
But luckily, the wall that used to protect the Moors who came here from North Africa is still standing. The walls seem to go on forever and the view is incredible, for you can look over the Atlantic Ocean in the west and also watch the National Park in a 360-view. You can even see a small part of Palácio Nacional da Pena in the distance. These surroundings can make you feel unbelievably small, and yet tall and powerful at the same time. It’s a strange mix, but that’s life sometimes; a strange mix.
Anyways, after the Moorish castle, we get ourselves some beverages at the café and go to our next destination: Palácio Nacional da Pena. This is the Sintra that’s a little bit more well known for most people: the colorful palace and its huge gardens.
We enter the palace through a large arc where you can see that a Moorish style is very present in the entire architecture of this building. However, looks are deceiving, because this palace hasn’t been built by the Moors. Instead, it was constructed in the nineteenth century in the Romantic era, and if you look closely, there’s more elements of different styles in this building. It’s an extraordinary place to be and wandering about, it’s no surprise this is considered a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The colors of the palace make it look like something out of a fairytale. One could argue that this is once again a strange mix, albeit quite an entertaining one.
Sintra’s ‘Garden of Eden’
The garden is where the place actually comes to life the most, in my opinion. The huge trees cast one big shadow over the tiny paths with their fully blossomed leafs. There are small ruins, a couple of ponds, a viewpoint over the garden and facing the palace, a place that looks like a square and even a hilltop you can climb, giving you an even wider view of the environment. These aspects of the garden made me fantasize about how this must’ve looked like during its prime time. People used to come together in these places, talk to each other, trade, fight and – undoubtedly – make love.
Why do I say that? These gardens just feel incredibly, how should I put it, ‘romantic’. I’m walking with two other friends and one of them says it first.
“This is a good place to bring a girl.”
“True that,” we both answer. It’s briefly silent. We’re all thinking the same, until one of us has the balls to say it: “and have sexy time.”
But all joking aside, this place is absolutely stunning and if you’re near Lisbon, it’s definitely worth a visit. We spent the entire day here without one second getting bored. It’s the perfect getaway from the busy Lisbon streets as well.
It’s getting late in the afternoon, so after climbing the hill, we decide to head back and look for a place where we can have dinner later. I don’t know what I’ll eat yet, but I feel like it’s going to be something fishy, because I’ve adopted a pescetarian lifestyle. I don’t know whether or not that’s worth mentioning, because for some people, that might sound somewhat pretentious. But whatever, don’t care, I’m too cool 4 school (not really though).
Ciao for now!