With Lisbon as my base, I can explore another UNESCO World Heritage Site, just a 30-minute train ride from Rossio station. A train leaves every 20 minutes so I didn’t pre-book a ticket. My hostel was just 5 minutes away from the station. Had to purchase a separate train ticket for this one.
The grounds of Sintra are vast. If you want to explore everything, it would take more than a day trip. But I didn’t have the luxury of long travel so I had to make the most out of a day trip.
From the train station, I followed the signs until I reached the bus stop. Paid €5 for a round trip bus ride. Alternatively, you can reach the old Sintra castle by walking for 20 minutes – uphill. They said this is just around 1.5km. The hostel said you’ll pass by a shop selling some awesome pastries. If you are a slave to the sweets, it may be worth it – or so my hostelmates said.
|A full bus|
The hostel gave me great directions and tips how to reach Sintra. The girl was very enthusiastic, but I didn’t take note of all the details. Harharhar! I just remembered that if I decide to walk, I will be tired. Easy decision. I paid the €5,00 bus fare for a round trip ride. Remember to keep the ticket for your trip back.
I decided to stop at Moors Castle first, go to Pena Palace, then visit Palcio Nacional last. I chose the combo ticket to these three historical sites which costs €25,00. Quite pricey for a tourist spot, but Sintra is huge.
The ticket price was so well worth it. Here's a load of photos showing its worth.
|Ticketing office outside Moors Castle|
|I doubted if this was the entrance. But it was.|
Exploring a castle solo is challenging – in terms of getting someone to take your photo. I was able to explore Prague Castle with my travel buddy so photos came easier.
|Please stop for a moment and take my photo.|
|I found trail markers. Really useful guides.|
The scene is very Game-of-Thrones-ish. I’m not sure which castle though, the Vale perhaps?
I knew it would be inconvenient to tour the castle walks with my flowyyyy dress. But hey, vanity won. So I had to hold on to my skirt while my photo was taken.
Moors Castle, Torre de Belem, were all structures built to protect and defend some centuries ago. I wonder what everyone will say about the malls a couple of centuries from now.
Exploring the place, as awesome as it is, can be tiresome. You have to be a tad fit (which I was) to be able to climb up and down the walls. I had to refill my water bottle from a drinking fountain before I proceeded to Pena Palace.
I doused my hunger with water and my Oreo pack. I didn’t want to eat just yet. First, I woke up late (what’s new) and arrived in Sintra at almost 11am. I didn’t want to waste time finding some place to eat.
I waited for the bus that took me from Moors Castle going to Pena Palace. It wasn’t that crowded (Yay!). I walked all the way up Pena Palace, I didn’t want to pay for a train ride up (kuripot lang no). It was a manageable climb.
Pena Palace is… I have no words.
I couldn't even take a photo of the entire thing in a single frame.
|Too magnificent for one frame only|
|I had to get proper timing here. Get someone to take my photo without a crowd in the background.|
The place felt like a palace out of a coloring book. It is colorful for a castle but it just works! I think I spent an hour just outside taking photos, and finding kind strangers who would take my photos. I was in no hurry to explore the grounds because the castle’s structure is very intriguing.
Anyway, the interiors were nice, but I found the exteriors more amusing, and interesting.
|How many hairbrushes do you need?|
he rooms were grand, the ceilings were art themselves, and the wallpapers were, well, ancient.
As huge and nice as the structure is, I would still prefer a smaller residence that I can manage. I don’t think I can live in such a huge place without an army of helpers at my beck and call.
I rode the bus back to Palacio Nacional. Hunger pangs came again, it was almost 4pm. I ignored the pangs. I think the palace closes at 5pm so I went inside and enjoyed it quickly. Hehehehe. Different, but not that notable.
So after visiting those three sites, I was very hungry. I found a nice resto with a Tripadvisor sticker. Not a lot of people because it was way past lunch. A set fish meal costs €15,00.
Delicious. At this point, anything would be delicious.