During our week in Lisbon we took two day trips. I already wrote about our day trip to Evora where we saw the ancient Roman temple among other landmarks and where we had a wine tour as well.So this post is about our second day trip.
It was a warm & sunny day when we visited Sintra & its surroundings. Firstly, we saw the Roman aqueduct and then we continued on the motorway to Sintra which is roughly an hour away from Lisbon. At the entrance of Pena Palace grounds we left our mini bus and boarded another crowded mini bus which takes tourists to the gates of the colorful Pena National Palace. I have never seen such a palace. It’s a mix of all styles and yet it’s fairly modern; it dates from the 19 th century but it’s a UNESCO World Heritage Site. It looks more like something from a fairy-tale and yet it was a home of the Portuguese royal family. Our guide told us some basic facts about the palace at the entrance and then we explored it at our pace. It looks more like a proper palace once you get in with the huge chandelier-decorated rooms, lots of beautiful furniture and modern-day amenities such as a fully functional bathroom. The kitchen was amazing too with all the giant copper pots. I like visiting castles and palaces and this is definitely one of the most interesting I have ever visited.
The view from the palace is lovely too and you can see as far as the ocean (which isn’t that far away actually). If we did this tour by ourselves then we would have had time to visit the Moorish castle and the Sintra National Palace as well but then we probably wouldn’t have seen the other places on this tour because we would have just visited Sintra. Hopefully, my husband and I will return to Lisbon one day ( maybe for some anniversary?) and then I’d like to visit Sintra again but on our own.
After the palace we had some free time in the center of Sintra before our organized lunch. We wandered around for a bit and took a lot of photos. We also ate the famous cheese pastry from the even more famous shop called Piriquita. Then we had the famous liqueur ginjinha, but in a chocolate cup. That was awesome! But then it was time to leave Sintra and move on.
A short drive through the countryside brought us to a very special place. Cabo da Roca is the most western point of the continental Europe. The high cliffs and the ocean below together with the lighthouse make a picture postcard scene. I loved that landscape. However, as beautiful as it is, it’s also very dangerous because not long before our visit one couple fell off the cliffs and died while attempting to take a selfie. Horrible!
But this natural beauty wasn’t the last stop on our itinerary. We stopped briefly in the seaside town of Cascais. It was a perfect day for a beach but the tour didn’t have beach time included. Walking around we saw a couple of interesting things but the most important one was the only stone bridge over the Atlantic ocean in the world. Yes, a small bridge over the ocean! But only when there’s tide. There was also some kind of a palace /museum with a very profound inscription in English (?) on a plaque on the wall. Cascais is also a place I’d like to revisit. On the way back to Lisbon we drove through Estoril and saw a lot of pretty beaches.
Al in all, it was a very good day drip and our guide was excellent. Somehow we were the only non-Brazilians in that group and she translated everything to English just for us and made sure that we didn’t feel somehow left out. Even though our day trip to Evora was with the same agency the guide wasn’t as nearly good as that lady on Sintra tour.
We ended that day listening to fado in a lovely restaurant O Severa in Bairro Alto. ˝In popular belief, fado is a form of music characterized by mournful tunes and lyrics, often about the sea or the life of the poor, and infused with a sentiment of resignation, fatefulness and melancholia˝(wikipedia). It was a very expensive experience though. You don’t pay for the show but for the dinner but you can’t just order the drinks. The minimal consummation was 25 euros per person and together with a couple of glasses of porto and wine the dinner which only consisted of a salad and a bad cake for me and a soup for him added up to a pretty hefty sum. It was the most expensive meal we had in Lisbon. I had searched for a good place for fado before the trip but I wasn’t sure about my choices and so listened to the recommendation of the hotel’s concierge. Maybe If I had listened to myself we would have had a cheaper and probably more local experience. Anyway, the food was good but the wine & porto were excellent. There were several singers (male and female) as well as a guitar player. Some of the songs weren’t as sad as I thought they would be. The singers were really good and I’m glad we did this because fado is so quintessentially Portuguese.