Sintra is both a town and a municipality in Portugal, located in the district of Lisbon. The town is a UNESCO World Heritage Site on account of its 19th century Romantic architecture, looks like an illustration in a fairy tale. Sintra has become a major tourist attraction, with many day-trippers visiting from nearby Lisbon.


Many castles and palaces can be found in its vicinity. One of them is Pena Palace, perched atop a steep hill and straight out of Disneyland. It is a yellow heap of small domes and turrets filled with a wide array of decorative arts. The most notable palace is the Sintra National Palace, whose white twin towers are the most distinctive landmark in Sintra. It is a combination of Moorish, Gothic and Manuelian styles. Inside is a beautiful collection of ancient and rare tiles and murals.

The Castelo dos Mouros, unlike the two palaces, is a ruin. Even so it should be regarded as a requisite stop when the bus arrives there on its way to Pena. The old battlements stretch for some way along a ridge and offer magnificent views of the town, Pena Palace and the area generally.

Sintra also has a fine collection of international contemporary art in the Sintra Museu de Arte Moderna. Other museums include the Toy Museum, the International Sculpture Centre, with Portuguese sculpture, and the Sao Miguel de Odrinhas Museum and Archaeological Site. In fact, the whole town looks a bit like a museum, filled with amazing buildings.

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