Sintra is a picturesque Portuguese town that is set amidst the pine covered hills of the Serra de Sintra, just to the west of Lisbon. The slightly cooler climate attracted the nobility and elite of Portugal, who constructed exquisite palaces, extravagant residences and decorative gardens. The variety of fascinating monuments and historic buildings makes Sintra a highly regarded tourist destination and is a popular day trip from Lisbon or Ericeira.
The Sintra-Cascais Natural Park is one of the 13 Natural Parks of Portugal. While only established in 1994 as a Natural Park by the Portuguese Government, it has been protected since 1981. Its area is approximately 145 km². It includes the Serra de Sintra Mountain Range but extends all the way to the coast and Cabo da Roca, continental Europe’s westernmost point. The natural park boasts a wide diversity of impressive sights and is definitely worth a visit.
Lisbon is Europe’s second-oldest capital (after Athens), once home to the world’s greatest explorers like Vasco da Gama, Magellan and Prince Henry the Navigator, becoming the first true world city, the capital of an empire spreading over all continents, from South America (Brazil) to Asia (Macao, China; Goa, India). The former launch pad for many of the world’s greatest voyages is now where modern travellers discover…
Mafra is the main city near Ericeira and is mostly known for it`s sumptuous National Palace. The Mafra National Palace is a monumental Baroque and Italianized Neoclassical palace-monastery and is considered as one of the Seven Wonders of Portugal. Construction of the palace began in 1717 and was completely concluded in 1910. Other points of interest nearby include the stunning naturaleza of the Tapada Nacional de Mafra, an enclosed wildlife and game reserve, and Ericeira‘s World Surf Reserve, the N2º of it`s kind in the world.
Cascais is a coastal town with plenty of grandeur, located just west of Lisbon, along the Estoril coast. It is a cosmopolitan suburb of the Portuguese capital and one of the richest municipalities in Portugal. The former fishing village gained fame as a resort for Portugal’s royal family in the late 19th century and early 20th century. Nowadays, it is a popular vacation spot for both Portuguese and foreign tourists with plenty of historical charm wrenched in its romantic alleyways.
When 13th-century Portuguese Queen Isabel passed through Obidos and marveled at its beauty, her husband King Denis I simply gave it to her. For centuries after, the kings of Portugal followed suit, presenting the picturesque little town to their queens as a wedding gift. With its white buildings shining as brightly now as then, the walled city of Obidos is very popular with tourists, its hillside location offering amazing views of the Estremadura area. The medieval castle is a main attraction and definitely worth the drive from Ericeira.
Located next to the sea, between Setúbal and the fishing town of Sesimbra, Arrábida Natural Park has incomparable natural beauty, where the blue of the sea alternates with the white tones of the chalk cliffs and the depths of the green vegetation that covers the mountain range. If you are a lover of pristine beaches and stunning nature, then this region is a must-see!
Evora is a delightful Portuguese city that is situated in the heart of the arid Alentejo region of central Portugal. Evora makes for a fantastic tourist destination with numerous interesting sights, a traditional heritage and an unhurried ambience, in part due to the intensely hot summers. Historically, Evora was an important trading and religious centre, and this is reflected by the many tourist attractions which can be discovered within the city walls. A must-see when in Portugal!