I was certainly not prepared for the mystical land of castles that awaited me in Sintra. My boyfriend had been before, and told me it was a place with beautiful castles that I must see. I thought, “doesn’t all of Europe have beautiful castles? Why are these ones such a must-see?” But, even “typical” castles in Europe are something I would never turn down a visit to, so off we went. 

A 30 minute train ride through the suburbs of Lisbon, and we arrived at a quiet little train station in Sintra. It felt out of a movie – the silence and beautiful greenery all over the place felt too idyllic and staged to be real. We followed the signs and began our uphill journey – a journey I did not prepare well for, as I wore a long dress and sandals. Unbeknownst to me, we would be hiking up nearly 45 degree angle pathways for the majority of the day.

Bottom of Sintra, looking up at the Moorish Castle This is where it all began. You can see up above amongst the greenery and cliffs the Moorish Castle that we hiked to.

Hiking up to the Moorish Castle, breaks were a necessity. With a hike such as this that both of us lacked proper footwear for, we did stop and take a couple breaks. Here is Reed taking a breather with some Moorish skull & crossbones.

Above Sintra, with the ocean below Almost to the top. Behind us you can see the Atlantic Ocean. We haven’t made it to the beaches of Sintra yet, but I hope to soon. I can only imagine how beautiful they are. 

The Moorish Castle sits atop Sintra. Conquered by the Christians in 12th century, deserted in 19th century.This is from what I believe is the highest point of the Moorish Castle. This castle was built in the 9th century by North African Moors, and conquered by Christian crusaders in the 12th century. It has slowly fallen apart over time, and now is just a shell of its original glory.

You can see Pena Palace from Moorish Castle in SintraFrom within the walls of the Moorish Castle you can see the spectacular Pena Palace. Although we didn’t venture over to it this time, hopefully someday. Pena Palace was built in the 19th century, and was the place that the royals of Portugal spent their last night before the Portuguese revolution forced them to Brazil. 

Atop the Moorish Castle with Pena Palace behind in SintraWe had a fellow tourist snap an obligatory “we made it!” shot before heading back down.

Juice bar in SintraThe reward of our hike – the tallest glass of freshly-squeezed juice I have ever laid eyes on; I had to lift myself out of my seat to reach the straw. 

There are a number of other castles in Sintra that we didn’t make it to that day. Look for another post soon about the second trip to Sintra we took when my sister, Tawney, came from London to visit!

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  • Reply Jayde September 16, 2015 at 8:30 pm

    your blog is wonderful, i love the variety of the posts – thats what i look for in a blog, especially travel posts.

    You look so lovely here.

    • Reply Leslie Hughes September 16, 2015 at 10:00 pm

      Thank you so much, Jayde!

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