This is a report of our trip to Lisbon region in Portugal with visits to various estates, palaces and gardens of Sintra, the coast of Cascais and of course historical neighborhoods and lookout points of Lisbon.
Palacio da Pena
The first day in Portugal was dedicated to Sintra. We took a train from Lisbon to Sintra and hiked from the station all the way up to the palace. The place is really crowded and even in October there are huge lines to buy tickets, although actually entering the castle does not take that much time. Personally I enjoyed walking around the park and going to the High Cross more than the palace. As the tickets are separate I would recommend getting only the one to the park, as you can get the best of the Pena Palace without actually entering the rooms.
Quinta da Regaleira
Quinta means villa or estate in Portuguese, and there are a lot of them in that region, Quinta da Regaleira being the most impressive of them. Seemingly endless labyrinths of towers, initiation wells, decorated walls, a creek with small cascades and a palace with it’s own shrine at the bottom. You can find all of this inside the gardens of Quinta da Regaleira.
In order to get to know Lisbon better we went on a guided tour around Alfama neighborhood which was recommended to me. The tour turned out to be great, if you’re in Lisbon Alfama tour guided by Silvio is one the best things in there.
There is a very nice train ride from Lisbon to Cascais since the tracks go parallel to the coastline giving you nice views all along the way. We came off the train a few stops before Cascais to walk along the promenade which actually forms a part of European long distance trail E9 (Caminho do Atlántico).
The most famous places in Cascais probably are Boca do Inferno and a cove next to Farol de Santa Marta, which are located just outside the town.
After lunch we took the bus to Cabo da Roca – most western point of continental Europe. The views are breathtaking (although I would prefer a hike leading up there), although it’s quite windy and of course full of tourists and tourist buses.
On our way back to Lisbon we also stopped to get a look at Torre de Belem; it just got dark, so the tower had fairytale-ish look with all the illumination taking it out of darkness. The statue of Christ the King on the other bank of the river and (almost) full moon, provided a special ambiance to this visit as well.
To complete Lisbon visit, we went to Parque das Nações (Park of the Nations), which to many of us seemed like Lisbon’s equivalent of Jardín de Túria in Valencia, with lots of trees and sculptures, some modern buildings and even a science museum and oceanarium.
The whole area is full of very nice restaurants. I would make a special note of Café Saudade in Sintra and Bubbles and Bites in Cascais. We have also visited one of the smallest restaurants in the world in Lisbon – Estaminé.
And some more photos which I could not categorize.