The palaces and castles in Sintra were a shocking surprise architecturally but lacked one thing – the grand, huge palaces with hundreds of rooms. How could we visited all those palaces and castles in Sintra and not make a trip to THE national palace – Palace of Queluz? Palace of Queluz is just a short train ride away, you’ll pass the train station along the way from Lisbon to Sintra. However, the neighborhood around the palace is probably the sketchiest and the most poor among the areas where tourists would go. As soon as we stepped out the train station, there were signs pointing the way to the palace which we found convenient. It was a long 13 minutes walk but quite straight forward on the main streets, hardly any tourists along the way so we were very stand out as tourist passing through many men that looked like unemployed and just hanging out on the street. I hold on tight to my bag of course and avoided making any eye contacts, keep on walking and walking and eventually we arrived at this lovely door!
It was really hard to believe the national palace located in this area, I didn’t have that approaching the palace feeling until we arrived, unlike approaching Versailles in Paris or Buckingham Palace in London. Unbelievably there was no line of tourists nor tour buses; in fact, we probably ran into less than 10 visitors! We went up to the ticket booth, purchase the ticket, and obtained an information guide. Off we go…exploring the empty palace. The first room we stepped into was WOW – this is the national palace grand feel!!! By the first room, I am already convinced that it was the right choice to make a trip here! The pink outlines on the walls and the ceiling..I love it!
Then, the next room totally impressed us! My head was looking up to the magnificent ceiling, so much details that I had no clue where to start. We were totally dazzled by the luxurious ceiling and also the fact that we were the only ones in this grand ballroom! Imagine the Hall of Mirrors in Versailles have no other tourists except you, that was exactly how we felt!
We were turning left, right, top, and bottom nonstop taking photos, one photo just can’t capture it all! Next, another beautiful hall.
We walked through room after room snapping photos like we were exclusive VIP guests!
They were repairing the musical instrument of this chapel within the palace:
Each room and its ceiling is uniquely designed, I have never seen so much different style and design of ceilings!
This was the sculpture room:
Tea room? I lost track of all these rooms!
The dining room:
Another interesting mirror!
I really like the colorful tile paintings filled this room versus the “typical” blue tiles! This is named “Sala de Mangas”.
The Red Room – the queen’s bedroom:
Another making your eyes dizzy room – he Hall of Ambassadors!
It was like an optical illusion!
The Portuguese really like mixture of colors!
The patterns of this ceiling and the walls looked like a secret maze and oh yes that colorful Murano glass lamp! I was totally speechless, Queluz totally showcased the Portuguese’s wealth during the age of exploration!
The king’s bedroom:
What are you looking at Jason?
Then, we were out at the garden and have a look at its colorful exterior:
They even covered the walls of the canal with colorful tiled panels!
Our selfie I guess?
Finally the beautiful exterior, the architectural style is very different than other palaces we had visited! And almost empty, there was another guy in the garden! No words can describe it, let the photos speak for themselves 😀
And then we ended up inside again, we haven’t finish the interior of the palace yet woahhh so many rooms, I lost count!
This is my favorite Murano glass lamp, I want one!!!
Finally, back to the main entrance! My eyes were tired after looking all those rooms!!! I highly recommend Queluz National Palace, it’s totally worth a trip there!
We spent almost 2 hours there and half more day to go so enough time to add another place….which we chose Cascais. According to Google map, to get there by public transportation will take 2 hours so I pulled out my phone and first time ever used Uber! According to Uber, the drive time is around 30 minutes and cost around 19 euros. It was totally worth the money to save time! The car arrived in less than 10 minutes and it was a really clean car; the driver speak good English and also said has wifi inside the car! Our first Uber ride was certainly comfortable! I input the destination as Cascais train/bus station so we will know how to get back there to return to Sintra. It was lunch time and during the ride, I searched and decided on a restaurant in Cascais that has good review for its Portuguese seafood rice (Arroz de Marisco) – Don Pedro.
We arrived when it first open so we were able to get a table without reservation, however, their Arroz de Marisco was not impressive at all!
The lunch was €25.60 and was disappointed. It wasn’t as rich in seafood flavor nor as much seafood as the ones we had in Lisbon awww 😦 After lunch, we walked to the beach area and wandering around the cute little beach town.
The architectures in Cascais are very cute so I was very excited to stop and take photos!
Sand fountain haha welcome to flip some coins 😛
Cascais is filled with tourists, felt like a resort town but still enjoyable!
Woah this bright red building, I never like red but this is cute!
Two streets mainly filled with souvenir shops, priced similar to Lisbon and same items…they also have cherry wine on chocolate cup tasting but cost double than of Obidos!
We decided to get off main souvenir shops and into the smaller back streets….and found this cute wall 🙂
If you ever stay in Cascais, you need to stay in this bed and breakfast, it’s so beautiful!!!
The houses in Cascais are super cute, I wish I have a house like that!
Even the tourist information desk is cute!
Another cute house!
Walking through the residential neighbor…so cute!
And we walked through the street and out to the beach again!
End of the port is the Nossa Senhora da Luz Fortress:
A look back to the town:
Hum…..what statue is that?
Back to the fortress, not as pretty as the ones we had been though.
Cascais Cidadela Palace:
Then the artist square, it reminded me of the “marshmallow” white cubed houses of Mykonos 🙂
How would you interpret this “free or guided tours?” We thought it’s free or you can pay a guided visit…so we walked in to check it out and…..the lady said the admission price is xx euros urg!!! We turned back, don’t think it’ll be worth it!
At 4 pm, we were done with Cascais and ready to head back to Sintra……finding the 403 bus was “interesting”. I went into the train station and asked where can we catch the bus to Sintra and the guy there said in broken English that it’s all the way down to the shopping building. We walked down the street and saw a bus station there with the sign “403” so we though the bus stopped there. Then, a 403 bus came but the bus driver said nope, it’s the opposite direction and just pointed his finger to the street up. We walked up the street but no sign of a bus station. It just didn’t seem right so we walked back and around to the other side of the building thinking the opposite direction. Luckily, we saw some buses coming out of the building so we walked over and found the bus terminal there inside the building!!! Such a pain to find! Bus 403 or 417 go to Sintra but only the 403 stop at the most western point of Europe – Cabo da Roca.
I read that Cabo da Roca is worth a visit, although when I looked at photos, all it has is cliff and lighthouse but since we were on our way, we stopped for photos and to show my blogger readers – you 🙂
It was crazily windy there, there was no way to have a picture without hair flying all over the place LOL! Here it is, I’ll let you decide if it’s worth it to pay a visit or not!
Yay, we visited Europe’s most western tip! In my opinion, I wasn’t impressed at all! The ride back was totally unimpressive as well….sighhh…
The bus ride took more than half a hour to get back to Sintra and without any good views, I have no idea why people said good views along the coast!
I was super cold after those crazy wind so I was craving for hot food – Indian cuisine – Bengal Tandoori hidden in some corner side street in Sintra. The restaurant was completely empty; I started to get nervous that we are in a tourist trap LOL! But the decors looked authentic!
When we see the menu, we know must be authentic because they have like 30+ kinds pages of curry!!! We ordered the nan bread yummy, I got warmed up 🙂
The dinner was €32.75 with the garlic bread, two mango lassi drinks, and two curry. It was filling 🙂 The walk back to the hotel was cold and it was cloudy that we couldn’t see Pena Palace again. We finally walked back to the hotel and asked the receptionist for an estimate of taxi cost from the hotel to Sintra train station (bus starts at 9:30 am and we need to get to Lisboa Oriente to catch the train to Porto the next morning at 10:09 am). He said around 10 euros depending on traffic, which shouldn’t be an issue early in the morning. We checked Uber, around 5-7 euros so we decided to wait and see tomorrow morning if there’s Uber available early in the morning. Our 3 nights in Sintra was totally the right choice to visit all those palaces and castles and not to be rushed. The town itself is lovely place to stay, peaceful after the day trippers left. I highly recommend to stay in Sintra and pay a visit to Queluz National Palace!