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-portugal-town-family-walking

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.

sintra-portugal-narrow-road

I parked up and walked into the town

sintra-portugal-town-family-walking

Look at these buildings

sintra-portugal-buildings

The textures and the colours…

sintra-portugal-pastel-colours

After you…

sintra-portugal-abandonded-building

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

sintra-portugal-regaleira

The Moors Castle overlooks the town looking north

sintra-portugal-moors-castle

And behind the castle is the Pena Palace

sintra-portugal-pena-palace-from-castle-view

The palace is about a 10 minutes walk from the castle

sintra-portugal-walk-to-pena-palace

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

sintra-portugal-pena-palace-view

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

sintra-portugal-pena-palace

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

sintra-portugal-exotic-trees-forest

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

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and hidden caves

sintra-portugal-cave

There are many exotic plant species from all over the world

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I got totally lost

sintra-portugal-pena-gardens-forest

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

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