In the 19th century Sintra became the first centre of European Romantic architecture. Ferdinand II turned a ruined monastery into a castle where this new sensitivity was displayed in the use of Gothic, Egyptian, Moorish and Renaissance elements and in the creation of a park blending local and exotic species of trees. Other fine dwellings, built along the same lines in the surroundingserra, created a unique combination of parks and gardens which influenced the development of landscape architecture throughout Europe.
Sintra is simply a must, if you are in the area of Lisbon! The old Moorish city, which was recaptured in 1147 by the Portuguese King Alfons 1, has been the summer residence of the Portuguese kings and the aristocracy for more than 600 years. Today Sintra is a popular tourist spot, surely not least because of its mild humid climate and its picturesque location at the foot of the small coastal mountains Sierra de Sintra that rise sharply above the city. The main attraction, however, are its historical sights.
The landmark of Sintra is theNational Palace (Palacio Nacional), with its huge, conic, white twin chimneys, which rise above the large palace kitchen, and are visible from quite a distance. It is one of the most important examples of regal architecture in Portugal and for that reason is classified as a National Monument.
The palace was continuously inhabited as a royal summer residence from the 14th to the 20th c. It is a conglomerate of different architectural styles. Elaborate wood carved ceilings, which arch over the rooms and marvellous wall decoration with ceramic tiles from the 15th/16th centuries, theAzulejos,, bear witness to the Arabic influence. The tiles were manufactured in Seville and it is the oldest and most extensive collection on the Iberian Peninsula.
Begin your day tour with hotel pickup at 9am. With transportation provided via an air conditioned van, head off to visit some of the historic towns most famous monuments. Stops include:
- Sintra Village
- Mouros Castel
- Pena Palace
- Serra de Sintra
- Ursa Beach
- Cabo da Roca
- Hell mouth
After a day full of sightseeing, conclude your tour and return back to your original departure point at approximately 7pm.