Departing from Lisbon, we will head towards the rippling and dewy Sintra. We will start the day by visiting the amazing Pena Palace (read more here) (the Park and the Palace of Pena entrance fee are included in the price; 14€ per person). The palace’s history started in the Middle Ages when a chapel dedicated to Our Lady of Pena was built on the top of the hill above Sintra. According to the tradition, construction occurred after an apparition of the Virgin Mary, though it was sadly all but ruined in the devastating earthquake of 1755. The current palace dates back to 1839 when King Ferdinand II bought the ruins of the Hieronymite Monastery of Our Lady of Pena and started to adapt it for use as a residence according to his romantic taste. Today the palace constitutes one of the major expressions of 19th-century romanticism in the world.
Next, you will be ready to explore the unique Sintra village, a UNESCO world heritage site since 1995. You will have some free time to explore the village that the Greeks named the “Mountain of the Moon”, a true fairy tale village that is also full of Muslim influences.
Here you will have free time for lunch (lunch costs are not included). Moreover, you will have the opportunity to enjoy some famous travesseiros (pillows), which are light puff pastries that are turned, rolled and folded seven times, and then filled with delicious almond-and-egg-yolk cream and lightly dusted with sugar. Or you can also enjoy the Sintra cheesecakes (the first references to the famous Sintra cheesecakes date back to the XIII century; at that time, these cheesecakes were a form of payment for rent).
Next, it is time to cross the mystic mountain of Sintra towards the Atlantic Ocean. Along the way, you will have the opportunity to see the quaint Colares village and to learn more about local wines dating to the 13th century. You’ll also see Praia das Maçãs, a small and popular local beach.
Reaching the coast, we will make a stop in one of the most picturesque seaside towns, Azenhas do Mar, which has a stunning view overlooking the Atlantic Ocean.
It is now time to leave the beautiful and magical Sintra Mountain and head in the direction of Cascais, but we will make a stop midpoint in the wild Cabo da Roca, which is a sheer 150m cliff that forms the most western point of continental Europe.
Then we will visit Cascais, a former fishing village that gained fame as a resort for Portugal’s royal family in the late XIX century and early XX century. Nowadays, it is a popular vacation spot for both Portuguese and foreign tourists, as well as a village with small museums, picturesque gardens, a shiny marina, and a pedestrianized old town.
During our stay here, we will try the most famous ice cream of Portugal, Santini’s Gelati, which you may then consider the best ice cream in the world. It is truly a gift from the gods! Santini’s has been tantalizing Portuguese tongues since 1949. Finally, it is time to go back to Lisbon.