Before we even left the US, we were already aware of one snag in our travel plans. The direct flight planned from Lisbon to Tangier, Morocco was pushed back from its original 11:00 am departure (several times) to an ultimate takeoff of 10:00 pm! We found ourselves with a full day to fill, and only a two hour drive from the coast back to Lisbon. Initially, we thought exploring Lisbon would be best, because I'd heard great things, but Pinterest intervened and the rainbow-colored allure of nearby Sintra won out.
Only thirty minutes outside of Lisbon, Sintra is an idyllic, colorful town filled with 19th century Romantic architecture that's earned a spot as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Situated among picturesque, lush green mountains, the town is home to both the Pena National Palace and Sintra National Palace, as well as the Gothic estate Quinta de Regaleira.
We both fell in love with Sintra from the moment we pulled into the main square, and were so glad we made the trip... even with the seemingly endless stairs and uphill treks to reach the worthwhile sites at the summit.
Quinta da Regaleira
The Initiation Well - two deep underground wells sit on the property of Quinta da Regaleira, which were never used for water collection, but rather for secret Masonic initiation ceremonies.
Pena National Palace (aka Candyland in real life)