A fairy tale castle not far from Lisbon, the Pena Palace.
The Pena National Palace, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, is located in Sintra, Portugal. Only a half hour drive from Lisbon (3 day itinerary to Lisbon), Sintra is one of my favorite cities on the Iberian Peninsula. There is way too much to see in one day, though, so you might want to stay overnight. Sintra is full of parks and palaces, it’s very near the ocean with cliff views and beaches, and there are plenty of restaurants to choose from as well.
We visited the Pena Palace in the later afternoon, after we had already run around all day long. Sometimes, that last castle or museum is just too much, but not in this case. Just arriving on the grounds and walking up to the palace was a treat. The gardens are lush and exotic, with plants and trees from all over the world.
The palace itself is something straight out of a fantasy novel with its pastel colors of lemon and melon, and its crenellated walls and sentry towers. The details and sculptures conjure images of magic and creatures from your imagination. Alice from Wonderland would be right at home here.
On our way out of town we had to go to Cabo de Roca, the westernmost point in Europe. It’s one of those traveler must-dos, and we arrived right around sunset, so even though we could hardly stand up straight thanks to the wind, it was a gorgeous little walk.
A great website to visit is the Sintra Parks website for times, prices, etc.