Vandog Traveller

Exploring the slightly surreal town of Sintra, Portugal – and where to park your van!

I stopped in Sintra, an interesting town at the foot of the Sintra mountain range, just outside (N.W) of Lisbon.

The atmosphere of this place is different – maybe a bit creepy. I don’t know what it is but I like to think that this town always has this eerie fog hanging about, does it?

Sintra is a smallish town but there is a lot to explore. Many big mansions were built here – some of them now unoccupied (by living humans at least) and have been taken over by ivy and moss… and cats and ghosts and probably cat ghosts.

I spent the whole day exploring the town, the castle and the palace, and that’s what I’m going to show you in these 16 photos:

Parking is difficult here… and so is driving

I did drive the van through these streets but I don’t recommend it – now I need a new wing mirror. See the end for my camp/parking location.

I parked up and walked into the town

Look at these buildings

The textures and the colours…

After you…

This is the Quinta da Regaleira

An estate just outside the town, on the walk up to the castle. Impressive building and gardens but I carried on walking up the hill to the castle

The Moors Castle overlooks the town looking north

And behind the castle is the Pena Palace

The palace is about a 10 minutes walk from the castle

I went off the path and climbed some rocks to get my own special view 🙂

This palace is a crazy mix of styles… and colour!

Over 200 hectares of forest make up the gardens of the palace

It’s a maze of winding paths and ‘kind of’ paths

and hidden caves

There are many exotic plant species from all over the world

I got totally lost

This town was a nice surprise. I got totally lost in the forest and ended up spending most the day there. Thank you to Tânia in the comments for mentioning it. It’s definitely a tourist place but for a good reason, although I don’t think I’d like to go in the summer.

Where to camp/park?

Parking is really difficult here but I found a good cobbled square area, away from roads, not far from the centre. GPS coordinates: N38 47.407 W9 22.791

Please share if you like this place 🙂

See more of Portugal in this post: Portugal by van – my journey in 20 photos