Travelling to Portugal for the third time, and trying to enter this beautiful palace for the third as well. Third is a charm – they say! 🙂
My friend picked me up at the airport. I had coul,e of hours free before my conference started, So we immediately went towards the city of Sintra – a picturesque Portuguese town that is set amidst the pine-covered hills of the Serra de Sintra.
The historic center of the Vila de Sintra is famous for its 19th-century Romanticist architecture, historic estates & villas, gardens, and numerous royal palaces & castles.
In all it’s mystical beauty – it used to attract famous people like poet Lord George Gordon Byron and still continues nowadays with people like Madonna etc.
You can notice the glorious houses and villas hidden behind the greenery and bushes while climbing upwards towards the castle.
Instead of climbing up towards the Pena Castle, my friend and I took the tuk tuk. I know, crazy, right? You wouldn’t expect it here in Portugal, right? However, if you look again, you will notice narrow roads which sometimes turns sharply where the opposite car is coming unexpectedly. Tuk tuk makes sense, no? 15 EUR for 20 min of the ride. Nikola and I happily jumped in 🙂
As per our arrival we decided to have a coffee first! After all, the queue to enter the castle was long and we had enough time to go local, hence Pasteis de Nata – a Portuguese egg tart pastry dusted with cinnamon.
Small break of 20 min made us new and fresh again! We purchased the entrance tickets and entered the a Romanticist castle on the top of a hill in the Sintra Mountains above the town of Sintra. The importancy of this place says that it is a national monument and constitutes one of the major expressions of 19th-century Romanticism in the world. The palace is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and one of the Seven Wonders of Portugal. It is also used for state occasions by the President of the Portuguese Republic and other government officials.
The castle’s history started in the Middle Ages when a chapel dedicated to Our Lady of Pena was built on the top of the hill above Sintra. According to tradition, construction occurred after an apparition of the Virgin Mary, of course.
The Pena Palace has a profusion of styles much in accordance with the exotic taste of the Romanticism. The intentional mixture of eclectic styles includes the Neo-Gothic, Neo-Manueline, Neo-Islamic and Neo-Renaissance.
As the castle is placed on such a strategic and I would dare to day – hedonistic place – the view goes up to the ocean…
The inside of the castle is astonishing as well. The decorations and furniture amazed us with its unique style.
Talking about kitchen – time to refresh with some Portuguese version of sangria, oh joy! 🙂
We sterted to glimpse down the hill. Not easy! We tried to avoid the main road and search for small paths through the forest. Of course, we got lost several times, the night started to fall down and the full moon (!!) started to appear. Should I mention that this is how all the horror movies start?
The garden is a park, well actually a labyrinth of through shaded woodland. The 200 hectares of the park may simply appear as an ancient forest but the area was specifically designed by King Fernando II, who wished the grounds to be a maze of romantic paths to enthrall his guests. Indeed.
Time to eat! Dinner a la ocean food in the pacific country! We met with another friend from Bosnia and Herzegovina and shared the wine and shrimp risotto.