A Sunday in Sintra…
I’ll say one thing for Portugal: they have a decent train network. Our Sintra day trip fell on Easter Sunday and despite checking in advance I was convinced trains wouldn’t be running. But, trains from Lisbon were regular, tickets were a cheap as chips €2.15 each (double for the return cost) and the journey took only 40 minutes each way. Take note, Britain.
Sintra is bigger than we expected so you’ll either need to be in town early or accept that you won’t have time to see it all. Our visit started with an excellent lunch, one of the best we had in Portugal (recommendations below!), before a wander round the town.
We started to walk up to the Moorish Castle, which you can see looming over the town on the top of the hills, but it was poorly signposted and while we knew we were heading in the right direction we had no idea how far we had to go. With limited time, we decided instead to head back to town and catch the bus (€5 return). It turned out we’d walked at least halfway…then back on ourselves…FOL (f*ck our lives…?).
After a quick poke around the castle walls and a peer through the gates of the Pena Palace it was time to head back to the train station – but the bus had other ideas. After waiting well over 30 minutes we just walked. Moral of the story: don’t get the bus, unless you have to.
In a nutshell
Eat: Caldo Entornado, Rua Guilherme Gomes Fernandes, 19
Top tip: Dress appropriately – it’s slightly chillier than Lisbon, being higher up, and practical shoes are advised for the walk to/from Pena Palace and the Castle