Sintra

Today we’re starting our Portugal road trip up the west coast.

After an uber ride to the car rental place and a 30 minutes drive, we arrived in Sintra.

Sintra is famous for its palaces staggered around the hills that were holiday homes for kings at the time.

As we didn’t have that much time to see all of the palaces, we decided to visit the main attraction – Pena Palace. We pre-purchased tickets online that day to avoid the queues at the entrance.

We parked the car in the huge parking lot near Sintra station and ordered a 6€ uber to take us up the mountain, as it is strongly recommended not to drive up there (parking options were mininal). It was only a few km, but took a good 30min up the winding busy roads.

The palace is so colourful. When arriving, the crowd and the colours make you feel like you’re on your way to Disneyland. Very weird.

Inside the palace we enjoyed strolling around the different old Portuguese style rooms; a lot of heavy wood furniture, carved ceilings, and bright colours.

It was very busy, so we had to line up and shuffle through the rooms in almost school-like single file, which we didn’t really enjoy as we felt a little rushed.

After visiting the palace, we got an Uber back down the mountain to the old town.

Like Pasteis de Belem is famous in Belem, Piriquita is famous in Sintra for the Travesseiro.

This is a pastry stuffed with sweet eggs and with an almond touch, and again the filling is a well guarded secret. This place has been in the family for 5 generations (and counting), and took its name from the nickname King Carlos gave to the original baker’s wife (as she was short).

Obviously we had to try it. In English it translates to ‘pillow’ due to its rectangular shape. This time the pastry was very sweet, so not my favourite but Nick prefered this one to the Pasteis.

Afterwards we walked off our snacks by browsing around the old town, before heading back to the car and driving down to our stop for the night, the small seaside town of Praia das Macas (20min west).

Our hotel had an amazing view from its terrace over the beach and crashing Atlantic waves.

Before dinner we went for a drink on the waterfront, where I sadly ordered a porto wine thinking it was a normal white wine and wow it was strong! Definitely not my favourite wine.

For dinner we ended up going to a restaurant right next to our hotel, which had the best view on the water and was the perfect place for a nice seafood dinner and watching sunset.

We tried the local tapas board with salmon, and also Bacalhau a Bras, a popular Portuguese cod dish with finely cut potatoes, onions and eggs.

We had a blast!

#TheDexplorers

TIPS

  • To get from Sintra town up to the Palace cost us 6€ with Uber. The bus was 3.6€/pp so even being 2 people, it’s cheaper and more comfortable to get an uber.
  • Sintra Parking is a free parking area to drop your car off when arriving in the town. Though it’s busy, it’s the perfect spot when you finally find a park.
  • Barmacia was a great spot for good food and to watch the sun go down.

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