The beautiful and dreamy landscape of Cascais and a tour of the Sintra palace and castle. So many things to see in just one day!
We decide to leave quite early in the morning to take advantage of the sunny weather which was supposed to change quite soon. Taken a train to the little village of Cascais, we immediately notice the “luxury” feeling of this seaside town, known to be the summer vacation spot of choice for the Portuguese Royals (and not only). There are flowers and palms everywhere (as every proper seaside town), the houses are all elegant and colorful and the pavements have beautiful mosaics in the perfect Portuguese style.
As soon as you reach the ocean, you get a nice view of a beautiful sand beach and a few little boats anchored a few meters away from the shore. On the side of the beach there are a bunch of different nets used for fishing, even though today here there is way less fishing action compared to the past. Years ago, Cascais was one of the main fishing villages of the area but today’s is mostly a touristic spot.
Faro de Santa Marta
We decided to take a nice walk along the coast, passing by beautiful colorful mansion in which I would move in in a heartbeat. After few minutes we come across one of the dreamiest view which I only saw in painting before: the Cascais lighthouse and Casa de Santa Maria. Between trees and bushes, walking down a path of big rocks, you can stand in a secluded beautiful little corner between two strips of land forming a little river with beautiful clear water and musky rocks, looking at the ocean, a lighthouse and a 19th century mansion (which is now transformed into a museum). I felt I was standing in a postcard and I didn’t want to leave that view.
Boca do Inferno
Soon after my boyfriend convinced me to keep going, we reached a spectacular cliff (I’m particularly fascinated by cliffs) known as Boca do Inferno, translated Hell’s Mouth. During storms, when the ocean is rough, the waves shatter with violence through the cave making a growling sound wh It’s not particularly hellish looking, it’s just a hole in the rock, but apparently Portuguese people were quite impressionable at that time. I must say the ocean view here is quite breathtaking. Since we didn’t have enough time in our schedule to go back to town for lunch, we decided to eat a tuna sandwich on top of the cliff, taking advantage of the fantastic view.
We went back to the station and took a bus to Sintra. 1 hour bus drive in the breathtaking panoramic route. Breathtaking also because it was going way too fast in tiny curves on top of 100 meters high cliffs where you could see the ocean beneath from the window; a couple of times I thought we would die on that trip.
The bus also stopped at Capo de Roca but we didn’t go because of our tight schedule, although we could at least say that we’ve been there. Capo de Roca is the westernmost point of Europe; it’s the closest point to America.
Then we arrive in Sintra, situated on hills (even though it felt like mountains for how much colder it was) and filled with castles and palaces. Here we find the worst weather ever on this trip, cold, windy and on the verge of raining (although it didn’t actually rain). We take a hop-on-hop-off bus which stops at all the most interesting attractions of Sintra: Palácio Nacional de Sintra, which we saw just from outside; Castelo dos Mouros, which I really wanted to see because I love ruins even more than cliffs but once again our schedule was against it so I just took a picture from far away; and finally Palácio da Pena, the actual main reason of the whole trip to Sintra.
Palácio da Pena
The palace is beautiful, colorful, very eccentric and quite big. When I visit big castle I always like to imagine the people living there at that time and wondering if they actually spent time in every single room, tower and terrace of the palace or if in reality they really couldn’t enjoy it all. The furniture inside is still original and there are handmade Portuguese tiles Azulejos or mosaics in every room (Portuguese have nice taste). The palace was built in 19th century as a gift for the King of Portugal from his wife, on top of ruins of a monastery and it has a variety of architectural styles which makes it even cooler.
The view from the palace’s terrace is amazing although it was so windy that we risked flying away like Mary Poppins a couple of times. Before leaving, we decided to look also at the immense park/forest following the map trying to reach a little lake on the way to the bus stop. We didn’t find the lake even though we circled the area a couple of times so exhausted we decided to go back to the bus.
We were so tired that for dinner we decided to go to the closest restaurant to the hotel, a local chain called Portugália which has nice beers and decent food. The place was full of people every night, so we trusted that. We ate Bacalhau “Bros”, a very fat and heavy mix of cod, fried potatoes, onions and scrambled eggs. Even though it was delicious, the portion was too big, so I couldn’t finish it. To wash it down I had a red beer Sagres Bohemian, really nice!
Now read: Day 4 & 5 – Bairro Alto, Fado and the Oceanarium ——>