The historical and cultural heritage of Sintra is a powerful magnet for tourists from all over the world. The interweaving of architectural masterpieces and unique park areas has made it a real treasure trove not only of Portugal but of the whole world. Coming to Sintra, tourists can witness several centuries of the glorious history of Portugal. Being the concentration of many palaces and residences of the nobility, Sintra can tell a lot about the greatness of the past epochs. The historical center of the city is not very large, but it captivates with its buildings and the uniqueness of both grandiose palaces and small cozy streets.
Sintra Old Town is located in the São Martinho area, just a 15-minute walk from the train station. Going to the historical center, you will not only see the world-famous pearls of architecture but also discover many hidden secrets. These secrets are revealed only to those who delve deeper into its interweaving of streets and gardens.
The Best Attractions of the Historical Centre
The palaces and mansions of Sintra, which are the main attractions of the city, are beautiful and unique. Each of them has its own history and embodies certain ideals. From the Old Town Sintra, you can take the road to many stunning residences. But there are three places that are simply impossible to pass by without admiring them!
Being an unsurpassed monument of architecture, Pena Palace makes you fall in love with it at first sight. Bright and majestic, it is located on a hill surrounded by no less beautiful parks. In architectural style, it is a synthesis of Moorish, Romanesque, and late Gothic neo-Manueline styles. In the Middle Ages, the Virgin Mary appeared at this famous place. Since then, this hill has had a special sublime atmosphere, which Pena Palace embodies in the best possible way.
Pena Palace Park
When Ferdinand II purchased the lands of the monastery for the construction of a royal residence, he laid out a magical exotic park around it. Plants were brought from all over the world to create unique small ecosystems in the interweaving of alleys, lakes, waterfalls, fountains, and statues. Rising to the highest point of the park, tourists can enjoy a magnificent view of the area from a special observation deck.
Quinta da Regaleira
This amazing architectural masterpiece is also located close to the Old Town Sintra Portugal. It is the embodiment of the philosophical ideas of Freemasonry in architecture. Both the outlandish gardens and reservoirs and the synthesis of Greek and Roman Catholic architecture combined create the unique charm of the palace. On the territory of the palace complex, there is a luxury chapel made in the Roman Catholic style with rich stucco work, as well as the famous "initiation well" into the secrets of Freemasonry.
Where to Eat in Sintra Old Town
Walking through palaces and park areas, you will surely want to try local dishes. Sintra is famous for its cozy restaurants and cafes, such as Tulhas, Tascantiga, Dom Pipas, and others. Among other things, you will be offered many types of fish dishes, these are especially popular in Sintra, and magical pastries:
● Queijada are small pastries with a crispy golden crust. The main ingredients for cooking this dish are cheese, milk, eggs, and flour. This masterpiece of culinary creativity was born back in the Middle Ages thanks to the excess of cheese in Portugal.
● Travesseiros is an airy yet crunchy puff pastry dessert filled with delicious almond cream. Walking around the Old Town Sintra town, you can try them right in the Piriquita bakery, where they were invented back in the middle of the 20th century.
● For a romantic dinner, visit the best restaurants of Sintra Old Town and order the world-famous Portuguese wines such as Colares or Bucelas.
How to Find the Best Attractions and Restaurants in Sintra Old Town?
So that tourists can travel around the city as comfortably as possible and not miss any of the wonders of Sintra, the city administration has created the Tourist Office of Sintra. Here, you can find all the information about excursions, bus routes, accommodation options, Sintra Old Town restaurants, attractions, and much more. It is very conveniently located in the heart of the city. Walk to the Republic Square (Praça República) and ask the friendly staff any question you have.
Possibilities of Parking in the Old Town
In the past few years, parking in the historic center has been prohibited. And this is better not only for the preservation of valuable historical buildings but also for travelers. Because without a car, they will see so much more! But where can you park to start an exciting walk through Sintra Old Town? Choose one of the two best parking zones near the center:
● Rua Guilherme Gomes Fernandes
● Parque de Estacionamento
Both car parks are large, so tourists can be sure to find places there. If parking is free, it is likely that it will not be guarded. Remembering that, do not leave valuable things in plain sight. Paid parking in Sintra is inexpensive, so prefer it whenever possible.
After reading this article and leaving your car in a safe place, go on a delightful journey through the ancient streets of Sintra. You can start your journey right from the parking lot. And if you arrive at the train station, follow the Volta da Duce. After 10-15 minutes of walking, you will find yourself at the very Old Town Sintra, which is waiting for all the guests to reveal its timeless secrets.