Nestling in the lap of a wooded mountain range, Sintra’s stunning location is reason enough to visit this charming, verdant town. Indeed, UNESCO acknowledges the destination as a World Heritage cultural landscape such is its beauty and the significance of the collection of historic visitor attractions clustered in and around the old town, Sintra Velha.

A favorite summer retreat for the kings and queens of Portugal and an alluring destination for numerous writers and poets, including Lord Byron and William Beckford, Sintra exudes romance. The old town is a maze of cobbled lanes lined with handsome town houses painted in pastel hues of pink, mustard, and lilac. The narrow streets surround a pretty central square that’s dominated by the wonderful Palácio Nacional de Sintra.

Easily recognized by its huge conical chimneys, Sintra’s National Palace dates from the late 14th century and is the oldest surviving palace in Portugal. Regally furnished, the building is set over several floors, many conveying a unique theme and decorated accordingly. A highlight is the magnificent Sala dos Brasões, a glittering domed hall embellished with the coats of arms of 72 noble Portuguese families.

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