We travelled the 300kms down to Sintra, stopping on the way for lunch at the coastal town of Nazare.
Nazare is a very pleasant town with nice beaches but is best known for being the location of the biggest waves in the world. Driven by powerful Atlantic storms these waves reach 80+ feet and surfers come from all over the world to surf them. We were there at the start of the big wave season but on the day we visited it was like a mill pond. Cool place to visit though.
Sintra is set in the hills above Lisbon and is one of the wealthiest municipalities in Portugal. It is a beautiful place with many fine homes and a rich history. It is also 'mountainous' and the drive through the crowded, narrow streets to our accommodation was exciting to say the least!
Sintra has a tumultuous history of occupation and overthrow having been occupied by both the Romans and the Moors. It was the Portuguese seat of power from around the 1100's through to relatively modern times. The Portuguese royal family was abolished in 1910 via revolution.
There are a number of amazing historic sites and beautiful gardens to visit in Sintra.
Pena Palace built in the 1830's as a summer retreat for the royal family is stunning, sitting atop a 480m hill (mountain!) and surrounded by beautifully landscaped gardens. We spent several hours there but be warned you will need to book ahead. Neighbouring the palace is the Castelo Dos Mouros which was constructed by the Moors in the 8th and 9th centuries to defend Lisbon. It was restored in the 19th century by King Ferdinand as a romantic ruin. It's visible from Pena Palace and is well worth a visit in it's own right. The Palacio Nacional de Sintra is in the old town of Sintra and contains a rich store of Portuguese history. There are many other sites to visit.
Sintra is very popular so be warned. We were there in the shoulder season but it was still very busy. It's also very hilly but you are richly rewarded for your toils - go there!