Sintra, Portugal

May 11, 2014 at 5:37 pm Leave a comment

Portugal phone 285

After reluctantly leaving the beautiful Algarve area of Portugal we headed north towards Sintra.  We saw many cork trees along the way.  It was so interesting to me to have a close up look at the trees.  The cork is harvested every 9 to 12 years and doesn’t harm the tree.  Only the bark is extracted making it a renewable resource.  Portugal accounts for around 50% of the world cork harvest.

Cork trees along the roads in Portugal

Cork trees along the roads in Portugal

We arrived in Sintra and drove along the timeless back roads towards the Palacio de Seteais.

Typical road in Sintra

Typical narrow, winding road in Sintra

The Hotel Palacio de Seteais is a luxurious and romantic palace (now a hotel and restaurant)which takes us back to the days of the elegance of the 18th century. Located on the mountain side of Sintra, and with its spectacular views, it was an honor to be able to visit this beautiful palace built by the Dutch consul to Portugal.  I love to daydream of those elegant days gone by.

Hotel Palacio de Seteais

Hotel Palacio de Seteais

Beautiful gardens of Hotel Palacio de Seteais

Beautiful gardens of Hotel Palacio de Seteais

One of the many mazes surrounding Palacio de Seteais

One of the many mazes surrounding Palacio de Seteais

A beautiful meeting room at Palacio de Seteais.  Notice the chandeliers and paintings on the walls that continue onto the ceiling

A lovely meeting room at Palacio de Seteais. Notice the chandeliers and paintings on the walls that continue onto the ceiling

Frescos of rare beauty in a sitting room at Palaceo de Setais

Frescos of rare beauty in a sitting room at Palaceo de Seteais

Sintra is a town of marvelous historic mansions, royal retreats, estates, castles, and buildings from the 8th-9th century as well as the 17th to 19th century, all set against the backdrop of lush hills and winding roads.

A small castle we passed along the roads of Sintra

A small castle we passed along the roads of Sintra

The Pena Palace, or Palacio da Pena as it is known in Portugal, is probably one of the most iconic and best-known images of Sintra. Perched high on a hilltop, it can be seen from as far away as Portugal’s capital, Lisbon, on a clear day.  This is a definite must-see if you are visiting Sintra.

A grand view of the Pena Palace atop the hill

A grand sight of the Pena Palace greets you as you come up the hill

The Pena Palace was built during the first half of the 19th century by the Queen of Portugal and definitely has a woman’s touch, with the brightly colored exterior and feminine interior.

Pena Palace

Pena Palace looking up towards the Queens terrace

Entrance to the palace

Entrance to the courtyard of the palace

The Portico of the Triton is one of the entrances to the Court of the arches Moorish.  It symbolizes the creation of the world.

The Portico of the Triton is one of the entrances to the Court of the arches Moorish.

Ballroom

Pena Palace Ballroom

Pena Palace dining room

Pena Palace dining room

Modern bathroom for the Queen in Pena Palace

Modern bathroom for the Queen in Pena Palace

Donna overlooking the courtyard

Donna looking out onto the courtyard

 

The park surrounding the Pena Palace is a natural environment of rare beauty.  The exotic taste of the Romanticism was applied to the park as it was to the palace. Once a barren hillside, trees from diverse, distant lands are now planted here as well as a wide variety of ferns and tree ferns, concentrated in the Queen’s Fern Garden. The park has a complicated system of paths and narrow roads, connecting the palace to the many points of interest throughout the park.

My next post and our last destination in Portugal will be about our time in Lisbon!

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