Keeping things Sintra-sting in Portugal

Hey Hey

My second and unfortunately my final, stop for Portugal was Lisbon. Absolutely devastated to be leaving such a beautiful place filled with lovely people. If only there was time… oh well! as I’ve said before, I’ll just have to come back. Continueing on with my gal group from Porto we kicked off Lisbon with a trip out to the Time-Out food markets, we also regrouped with Chelsea and recruited Meg. With a little detour through the hilly city via a sardine shop that literally only sold sardines with a different year and fun fact on each tin… weird… anyway, we made it to the markets and were far from disappointed with the selection of up market food stalls available. Emma and I were back to the hostel for an early night while the other kicked on and then we all met back up in the morning for some city exploring.

We had a very lovely time walking through Lisbon the next day. Thanks to Laura’s organisational skills and Portugal travel book we had a premeditated sight seeing route to follow, which was very handy. Starting off with a lookout and panoramic view of Lisbon, then around to the castle (which we didn’t bother going into), then down on to see Se de Lisboa cathedral and ending in Comercio Square. We ended the day by tramming it out to the UNESCO world heritage listed Torre De Belem Tower, which is an old prison where the prisoners in the basement would literally be up to there necks in water when the tide came in.

Day two we trained of to Sintra, an awesome little town FULL of palaces and castles. Starting at the white and orange National Palace in the town square, then a short walk up the hill Quintra Da Regaleira where we spent most of our time. The line in was a bit of manence although once inside time flew while we roamed the gardens, and posed for some insta-pics on the spiral staircases that lead down into underground tunnels and snaked through to different sections of the gardens. We also didn’t leave without making our way across the stepping-stones of the bright green pond. We were quick to regain awareness of time as we exited the palace and the cold weather came over us, so our next stops were probably a little shorter than ideal. We had a very very brief visit to outside of Moors Castle and then quickly moved on to the Pena Palace.

Pena Palace was something out of a fairytale. I wouldn’t say it was better or worse than Quintra though because they were both so amazingly different. Quintra was traditional with amazing gardens and Pena Palace up on the hill was as colourful as it was windy! The outside of the geometric and multi-levelled palace had decorated wings with block yellows and reds and decorative sections of purple tiles. The instagram game was on point, and the selfies were firing. Being much higher than Quintra it was literally up in the clouds at the time, which numbed the senses… figuratively, because it was beautiful but also literally, as the fog was super cold and we were very much underdressed. We made our way around the bright palace, though the grey skies had us eager to get back to the train. We headed back into Lisbon, stopped off at our hostels to get our jumpers and finished off the evening with a very much appreciated Chinese buffet dinner!!

Tips and Tricks:

  • Food:
    • Lisbon: Time out market was pretty darn cool. I really enjoyed it. It was super busy though, so if you’re starving it might leave you with some hangry vibes waiting for food.
    • Sintra: there weren’t really a lot of food options here and was fairly pricey, probably easier to take a packed lunch.
  • Drinks: There is a special local shot you can do (that I didn’t do, actually) that’s made out of little cherry-like fruits and served in a chocolate cup… its called Ginjinha
  • Sintra: This was super easy to get to from Lisbon. We just caught the train out, then once we got there we bought a ticket for 5.50 euro for a hop on hop off bus around a few of the main places. Also, it wouldn’t be a bad idea to pre-book the tickets for whatever palace you were thinking of doing during peek hours because we did waste a little time in line for Quintra, but we were straight on through for Pena Palace as it was later and colder

Next stop: Back to Madrid, Spain

Annie Charlotte xx

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