There are many reasons to visit Portugal, a beautiful country, with so much to see and do, with really friendly people who take pride in keeping their country special, clean and inviting to tourists - the hidden gem of Europe!! And the region of Sintra and the Sintra Natural Park has been considered a special, magical area since pre-historic times. The reasons to visit are vast. But these are considered the top 10 by the Sintra Department of Tourism.,
1. Sintra is an UNESCO World Heritage Site and Cultural Landscape. The dramatic and amazing rural areas surrounding Sintra which are protected in the 14 000 HA Sintra Natural Park and the wonderful, historic old City of Sintra with its many palaces, ancient beautifully tiled buildings, winding roads, parks, churches and convents etc are truely worth seeing.
2. The Serra da Sintra with its magic mountains, rare flora and fauna, birds, unique micro climate, lush greenery can be explored on foot , bikes, Segways etc. There are the wonderful parks of Monserrate, Pena Park, Conventos dos Capuchos to name a few.
3. Quinta da Regaleira is an awesome Neo-Gothic and Neo-Romantic Park and Manor house. There are many hidden grottos, underground tunnels, chapels, towers etc waiting to be explored. (We think Walt Disney must have been here and found inspiration for his Disney Land!!)
4. Sintra´s natural beauty streches from the mountains, hilltops, valleys and forests down to the Atlantic coast with an incredible rugged coastline boasting some of the most beautiful beaches in Europe. Miles of white sandy beaches beneath towering cliffs are perfect for beach combing, relaxing, surfing….and for the very brave: swimming. The Portuguese are very proud of their beautiful beaches and keep them clean.
5. The antique tram, which during the summer and early autumn travels from Sintra to Praia das Macas and back, dates back to the 1850´s and is a fun way to get to the beach town of Praia das Macas from Sintra´s historic center.
6. The National Palace of Sintra is worth seeing. It is a monument to the interesting architectual style which combines Gothic with Manuline. It is in the middle of the historic center of Sintra.
7. The Pena National Palace and Park is considered to be one of the 7 wonders of Portugal.
8. O Cabo da Roca. This is a popular tourist spot being the western most point of continental Europe. It boasts a lovely lighthouse and amazing vistas of the coastline.
9. The delightful pasteries and delicious fish served at many quaint cafes and family owned restaurants at very affordable prices.
10. The wines of Portugal – especially Colares Wine. The Colares wine dates back to Roman times. Colares wine is the oldest Portuguese wine. Its Ramisco grape survived the European blight of the late 1800´s. The ancient wineries host tours and winetastings.
And last but not least there is an interesting selection of unique places to stay in the Sintra area: all sorts of hotels, B&B´s, guesthouses, villas and apratments.
for more information on Sintra www.sintraromantica.net