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Romantic | © jarmoluk / Pixabay
Romantic | © jarmoluk / Pixabay
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A Couple’s Guide to Sintra, Portugal

Picture of Nina Santos
Updated: 1 October 2017

Couples looking for a romantic getaway should consider Portugal’s most magical town and “Capital of Romanticism.” Sprawling around the lower end of a small mountain range, Sintra is a beautiful and historic village surrounded by woods and covered in palaces that have classified the area as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. It is also easy and convenient to find, located less than an hour from Lisbon and reachable by train and bus. Couples will have no problems tuning out the world and focusing on each other, but here are some tips for anyone needing a bit of inspiration.

Book a romantic night

Get a feel for what it’s like to sleep in a palace by staying for a night or two in one of the village’s amazing boutique hotels. One of them, the Lawrence’s Hotel, is also the oldest hotel on the Iberian Peninsula.

Visit the many beautiful estates

Perhaps the most popular reason why visitors head to Sintra is to tour the many palace and manor estates that have given the town its “fairytale” reputation, with the 19th-century Pena Palace easily being the most romantic of the bunch. Sitting at the top of one of the highest mountains, the Pena Palace offers some of the best views in Sintra, and the gardens and woods around the estate add to the beauty on-site. Other showstoppers include the Quinta da Regaleira, Monserrate Palace, and the Palace of Sintra.

Hike through the mountains and to the historical castle

Go for a hike and climb to the medieval Castle of the Moors, built in the 8th century, or take a cozy bus ride up and hike back down after exploring each stone corner. The sights from this vantage point are also phenomenal, and the green woods are peaceful and beautiful.

Get cozy over coffee or dinner

Downtown Sintra is full of charming cafés and restaurants, many of which offer outdoor terrace seating. Many of these spots are fairly small, so feel free to get close to your someone special. Among the best sweet treats to try are the local travesseiros (“pillow” pastries) and queijadas, pastries made with cheese.

Watch the waves crash over the beach while indulging

Close by Sintra is some of the most rugged coastlines around Lisbon. Head to Guincho Beach with a picnic or venture further north and dine at the cliffside restaurant in Azenhas do Mar where the ocean backdrop only adds to the fresh seafood meals.

Visit the westernmost point in continental Europe

West of Sintra is Cabo da Roca, the cape and lighthouse that mark the westernmost point in continental Europe. Keep in mind that it’s almost always windy there, but it’s a memorable spot to take a photo or two if you don’t mind having wind-blown hair.