This is a charming town with fairy-tale appeal, where the kings of Portugal used to come to escape Lisbon’s summer heat.
Hidden among wooded hills above the Atlantic Ocean are a scattering of palatial retreats, their fanciful turrets peeking out. At their center is the Palácio Nacional de Sintra, instantly recognizable by its twin chimneys. Begun by the Moors, it was home to Portugal’s royal family for nearly 500 years.
Exploring Sintra by foot involves lots of walking, but take heart – you can always hop aboard one of the horse and carriage rides if you tire of climbing the town’s steep hills.