Sintra – a Fairytale Town

Hope you’re having an easy Sunday my little Blogmonkeys. It’s laundry day in our Casa on wheels so mucking the van out whilst we wait instead of watching the machine go around. Domestic detention, boo hiss. Still at Armacao so won’t bore you with any more about this place. Suffice it to say it’s fab so those of you on tour in Portugal, if you miss it, you must be bonkers!!

Just a little tip for you Motorhome types, should you find yourself in this locality. You can get LPG and do your laundry about 4.5 miles away at Carrasquinho near Gale. As you come out of Armacao, turn right at the roundabout just before the Motorhome park (not the big campsite) on the left signed Albufeira. The co-ords are N37.095329 W-8.39434. I also recommend the little site at Parque da Gale, you’ll find that on CamperContact App. It is super. The owners are just so very friendly. The beaches are a ten minute walk and absolutely stunning. See earlier posts for details. We did our usual stock up at the market yesterday ready for moving on today. Our pals from Somerset, Pam and Andy have invited us up to Silves where there is a really good band on tonight. We now have lovely fresh bedding and towels and a full tank of gas and we’re ready to rock and roll.

For now my friends I’m going to tell you a little bit about a town called Sintra, to fill in until we get to our next location. We visited it earlier on our travels. For me, this place is one of the biggest ‘must sees’ in Portugal. We stayed at a gorgeous little Motorhome park in the hills, an easy 15 minute bus journey away from Sintra, called Odrinhas Parque. It’s right on the edge of the National Park. Again details are on CamperContact. It’s in a sweet little village with a few shops for supplies and a couple of decent, reasonably priced, restaurants. Sintra is an extremely attractive place. It’s historic centre is spread out across the slopes of several steep hills. In the centre, you can’t miss the tall chimneys of the Palacio Nacional surrounded by an array of tall houses painted in a rainbow of colours with turrets and balconies galore ,it feels almost like you’re on a film set. The steep, narrow cobbled side streets are lined with interesting little shops and cafes. The town is buzzing and very vibrant. Above Sintra-Vila, on the two high peaks, you have on one a huge Moorish Castle, Castelo dos Mouros and on the other, the fairytale Palace, Palacio da Pena. It’s a long, steep winding walk up to both. Not recommended! Shuttle buses run regularly from the station or the old town. A far more fun way is to take a Tuk Tuk! The drivers race up and down going around the sharp bends on two wheels. Exhilarating and hilarious!!

You won’t see this place in one day, simples. The castle and the palace command a day each. The gardens are spectacular, it fair blew my mind. You can see for miles and miles, all the way to Lisbon actually, from the top! Made my knees go a bit wobbly looking down from the narrow parapets!

Along the coast from Sintra is the seaside town of Cascais. It’s a natural progression from Sintra to there. We stayed at Praia da Guincho, a series of fabulous surf beaches just outside the town. Absolutely loved it. Cascais itself is very pretty with a couple of interesting Museums and parks. Our friends, David and Helen Spencer recommended this place. It has a pretty little lighthouse. Really well worth a visit. I can certainly see why their children christened this Mermaid Cove.

Just another couple of spots to hopefully inspire anyone out there interested in visiting this beautiful Country. It’s not all golf courses, yacht marinas and Ronaldo you know!

On that note I shall sign off for today as it’s time for us once again to drive off into the blue yonder. TTFN folks. See you on the other side xxx

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