Today was especially good. We drove from Lisbon to Sintra to visit the Pena Palace, a fairy-like castle that took thirty years to build. We got there early, to avoid the lines that inevitably start in the late morning. From the bus, there is a shuttle to take you to the castle itself and we got one for our group very quickly. You can also walk for free (the tram costs $3 EU) but our shuttle was included.
As you can see from the outside, the colors, various styles of architecture, details, Moroccan and Chinese influences, all play a part in making this castle a destination for many tourists. Its location gives you a unique opportunity to view Lisbon from this high point miles away.
We were not allowed to take pictures inside the castle. We understand that this policy changes daily, depending on the number of tourists there. If everyone stopped to take pictures inside, the lines would be unending. As it was, by the time we left, around 11:00 AM, the line just to get into the castle was hundreds of people long. Jim and I walked down easily and waited for the shuttle at the bottom, where there was a huge line to get the next shuttle. Perfect timing for our group.
Of course, we had to do some window shopping and stop for a coffee for Jim and cappuccino for me, plus a pastry or two…
We decided to relax a bit and then checked out the rooftop bar to catch the best views of Lisbon. It was a spectacular day. We got there just as they opened, at 5 PM. It was breezy, yet warm. I got some pictures of the surrounding hills and a cruise ship just departing from the port. We ordered smoked salmon tapas, a sangria for me and a draft beer for Jim. It was the perfect light meal to end the day.