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The majestic Summer Palace in Sintra

Thursday, June 18:
Day trip to nearby Sintra

Located 15 miles (24 km) northwest of Lisbon at the base of a mountain range, the fanciful city of Sintra was described once by fairy-tale authority Hans Christian Andersen as “unrivaled, the most beautiful and lauded part of Portugal,” claiming parts are “a fairy-tale vision.”

Complete with castles and luscious gardens, Sintra was classified by UNESCO as a World Heritage Site in 1995, notably for its unique cultural landscape. It features many palaces, including the thousand-year-old National Palace of Sintra located in the city center (look for its unmistakable double domed chimneys), the summer home for Portugal’s royal family built in the 15th century on Moorish remains.

You will also see, from many different vantage points, the hilltop Pena Palace, aka National Palace of Pena, built in 1839 around the remains of a 16th-century monastery. The location is said to be where King Manuel observed the return of explorer Vasco da Gama from his two-year voyage to India in 1499; thus, the King was inspired to replace the wooden monastery with a stone palace. Recognized as one of the first examples of 19th-century architectural Romanticism, it is the last place the Royal Family hid before fleeing during the 1910 revolution. 

7am Optional run/hike along the Tagus River if you prefer a flat, early morning destination with nice sea breezes. 

8:15am Transport with Sophia, Patso and Harvey by van from Lisbon to Sintra.

10am Run/hike 10k in the natural forest around and in Pena Palace Park, which houses over 500 different species of trees from the four corners of the world, some of which no longer exist in the countries from which they originated. Designed to incorporate natural treasures and provide breathtaking views, the park promises surprises at every turn, including lakes, waterfalls, chapels and integrated vestiges from the Jeronimo monks. Option to explore the Sintra Summer Palace or Moorish Castle. 

11:30am Pleasant shaded hike downhill to Sintra village with chance to explore local shops, including a wine and cheese tasting. 

 

12:30am Savor a lavish outdoor lunch with wine or sangria in a quaint secluded restaurant.  

 

3pm Explore the magnificent estate of wealthy Brazilian merchant António Augusto Carvalho Monteiro: Quinta da Regaleira. Built in the Romantic revivalist style, it combines Gothic, Manueline and Renaissance architecture. Descend the spiral staircase at Capela da Santíssima Trindade (Chapel of the Holy Trinity) to see where it leads.

5:30pm Enjoy a short hike and dramatic vista from cliffs 140 m (460ft) above the Atlantic Ocean at Cabo da Roca, Europe’s westernmost point. 

8pm Enjoy a special culminating dinner with chef Sofia. She will pour a lot of love into catering this dinner in Lisbon with local Portuguese flair. 

(My Story Hotel Ouro night 2 of 2)