Located under 30 minutes Northwest of Lisbon, Sintra & Cascais are both Romantic, charming and historical gem’s located in Portugal. From surfing, to shopping, to exploring historical castles, this area is filled with activities for all types of travelers. The best part? It’s easy to get to and easy to get around once you are there. Here at 10 reasons why you should visit Sintra & Cascais.
1.THE ROMANTIC PENA PALACE
If you aren’t familiar with Pena Palace, imagine a real life castle made of yellow, red and gray legos. BOOM! That’s Pena Palace! Part of the UNESCO World Heritage Site (Sintra-Cascais Natural Park) Pena Palace is a Romantic
2.DRIVE AROUND & DISCOVER HIDDEN GEMS
This area is filled with beautiful, hidden spots to photograph or simply take in. One hidden gem most people don’t know is that Johnny Depp’s ‘The Ninth Gate’ was filmed here in Sintra at the Challet Biester. Another beautiful place is a beautiful, Moorish water fountain on the side of the road leading up to historic downtown Sintra. Everywhere you look, there is beauty in these lands, you just have to look!
3. THE WESTERN-MOST POINT IN CONTINENTAL EUROPE
Cabo da Roca is a stunning, cliff side destination where thousands of people flock to everyday to checkoff a sweet bucket list item. Here, you will stand on the western-most point in all of continental Europe! How neat is that?
4. BOCA DO INFERNO
This seaside landmark is one of those must-see’s while in Cascais. The ocean waves, over the years, have formed a cave within the cliff. Here, you can spend a solid 30minutes just looking and admiring the power of nature!
5. UNESCO WORLD HERITAGE SITE: THE CULTURAL LANDSCAPE OF SINTRA
Sintra is a town where its landscape is so unique and admirable that all of it is a UNESCO Heritage Site. Ferdinand II turned Pena Palace and its surrounding forest into a landscape filled with exotic plants from all over the world. Along with Gothic, Romantic, Moorish architecture and more, this is a land unlike any other.
6.THE CASINO THAT INSPIRED JAMES BOND
Estoril Casino deserves all of our respect, as its the inspiration behind the famous 007- James Bond! Casino Royal, Ian Fleming’s first 007 novel, based his legendary character from a man he saw while at Estoril Casino. Whether you gamble or not, James Bond is one of the most adventurous characters that has successfully spanned over many generations and to see his birthplace, its awesome.
7.THE BEACHES IN CASCAIS
The beaches of Cascais are simply beautiful! Whether you’re surfing, fishing, sun bathing or people watching, this is the perfect spot near Lisbon to hit up for some beach time.
8.SHOPPING IN DOWNTOWN CASCAIS
If you are the type to buy souvenirs from a trip that aren’t just a stereotypical post card, Cascais perfect. Since this city is fairly large, there are tons of stores to check out- from well named brands to authentic products. Even if you do collect magnets or shot glasses, there are so many stores that will capture your eye, and people here are extremely friendly!
9. THE WORLD FAMOUS TRAVESSEIROS & QUEIJADAS
Before you go to Sintra, everyone and every website will tell you to try these two pastries. You should! It wasn’t life changing, for us, but it was delightful and worth trying. I think this is what makes traveling worthwhile and it’s a perfect way to immerse yourself in the culture, eating like a local. If you do make it to Sintra, go to Casa Piriquita, they have been serving these treats for 160+years!
As a biased Brasilian, I felt like I was home while I was in Portugal, especially in this area. Portuguese people are kind, outgoing, loud, vibrant and just simply full of life, love and joy. Maybe it was different for us, because I spoke Portuguese while here, but everyone went out of their way to make you feel welcome. If you embrace the culture, the people of that culture will welcome you with open arms- literally.
If you make it to Lisbon, you must make the quick trip to Sintra & Cascais. Whether you just want to be a beach bum or explore the Romantic landscape of Sintra- this is the perfect place to explore.
Have you been to Sintra & Cascais? Let us know what you did in the comments!