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Stepping into Sintra is like stepping into a magical wonderland where elves and leprechauns exist. At least, it feels like it anyway. It’s a quaint little town, approximately 30 minutes away from Lisbon by train. The trains come fairly often, so it’s reasonably convenient to get to. However, if at all possible, avoid going on Mondays. Most attractions in Lisbon close on Mondays which means that the entire tourist population ends up in Sintra, and that in turn means hours of queueing for buses and entrance tickets. Don’t say I didn’t warn you.

Obviously this warning comes by experience because… yeah, we went on a Monday. In the photos above from Palácio da Pena (Pena Palace), you’ll see that there’s no escaping from the throng of tourists that splatter across every photo. Ah well.

There were two main places that we visited: Palácio da Pena and Castelo dos Mouros (Castle of the Moors). As much as we would have loved to visit the other attractions, there wasn’t much time since getting tickets, hopping on the TukTuk (after waiting for the bus for a while) and getting into each location took some doing. There was a lot of uphill climbing involved as well when we entered each property.

Tickets to Palácio da Pena cost €13,30 and the ones to Castelo dos Mouros cost €7,60. Both of which are reasonably affordable. To be honest, I would say that they’re worth the price, especially if you go during low season and take your time to explore each venue. We didn’t have as much time as we hoped, but I suspect that Sintra is the kind of place that you visit over a few days so you can make your rounds.

Overall, we had a great time. What struck me most apart from the architecture was the breathtaking views all around. Obviously, it took a great amount of physical effort to get to those vantage points, but it was well worth the climb (and braving the fear of heights). It was unfortunate that we could only make it a day trip instead of an exploration over a few days. Definitely a place I would visit again and would highly recommend to all of you. Remember: don’t head there on a Monday!

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