We decided to spend our third day in Lisbon on a day-trip to Sintra, which is only about a half hour out of the city by train. We were a little nervous due to our previous struggles with Portuguese trains, but the rail line to Sintra was much simpler and easier. We started from the Rossio Train Station in Lisbon, which has cool horseshoe doors, and made it to Sintra with no hassles at all.
In Sintra, we decided to skip the most visited palace close to the train station and instead walk a little ways to a different palace, the Quinta da Regaleira, which is most known for its gardens.
We really enjoyed exploring here! There were all kinds of stone buildings, statues, and pretty trees.
One of my favorites was a small, castle-like structure that we were allowed to climb into. Dylan had fun tucking himself into a corner behind the stairs. He then took some photos of me - first as the benevolent queen and then as the angry queen of the castle.
One of the main attractions on the grounds is a well that you enter through a doorway in some rocks. You walk in a spiral down the sides until you get to the bottom that has a whole bunch of tunnels that take you through grottos. The grotto water was very green and slimy, but still really cool to explore. We were daring and took the step stone path across!
Here's me posing with a cork tree, which Portugal is quite known for, and Dylan demonstrating that things are not made for tall people here.
At the very end, we also checked out the actual palace, but even then, we mostly liked the views from outside the palace.
The other main thing that we wanted to see in Sintra was the Castelos dos Mouros, a Moorish castle from the 10th century. We had read several travel blog posts that all said that trying to walk from the main part of Sintra up the hill to the castle was a bad idea since it was so steep and tiring. They suggested taking a bus instead. But Dylan and I aren't big fans of buses. And our legs and feet have proven strong. So we decided to ignore the internet advice and take the walking trail to the castle.
We were really glad that we did! The walking trail was really nice and took us right next to the most popular climbing spot in Portugal. Towards the end, we could see the castle in the distance too, which was neat.
We ended up really liking the castle too. We had been happy with the Castle S. Jorge the day before, but this castle ended up being even more impressive because it was so massive. There were inner and outer walls that were integrated into the hill and surrounding some impressively large boulders.
The castle grounds also included the ruins of people's "houses" from centuries ago. They were mostly holes in the ground.
We walked along the walls to the highest point, and from there got a decent view of another palace on the adjacent hill.
On our way back down from the castle, we stopped to take some pictures with a chair carved into a tree stump and a cool stone throne bench!
Once our walk was complete, we enjoyed a nice lunch outside, overlooking the Sintra palace below. We ended up siting next to a group of super hipsters who seemed to be real or at least wannabe Instagram influencers. They were equal parts annoying and hilarious to listen to as we ate.
After our lunch, we took the train back to Lisbon and picked up some cheese, chorizo, crackers, and beer from a local market and spent the evening relaxing in Alfama. Sadly, I did not get any pictures of this. You'll just have to trust me that it was nice.