On this post I will highlight the places we visited and the best things to see and best things to do in Sintra Day 5.
The day started bright and clear with no rain. The plan today was to visit the “Chalet of the Countess of Edla”, “Convent of Capuchos” and “Quinta da Regaleira”. As these attractions are away from the centre (except Quinta da Regaleira) and out of the route from buses 434 and 435, we needed to get there with some other type of transport.
We could have gone by taxi or to take a tuk-tuk, but we’d seen some small, yellow, electric cars around town and were curious about them. We found out where their shop was and went there to enquire. We discovered that they were for hiring as part of a self-guided tour. The cars can be hired for a period of 4 hours for 60 Euros, and each extra hour is charged at 10 Euros. They have various ready-made tours, or you can pick the attractions you want to visit, and they programme it for you. They have a navigator and recorded information in various languages. We thought it was a good idea to rent one of those and so we did. You can hire one of these cars via this LINK.
That was an adventure, the car can fit 2 people and is very tight, but it drives very well and off we went stopping first at the “Chalet of the Countess of Edla”.
The chalet was built between 1864 and 1869 by Ferdinand II and his second wife, the opera singer Elise Friederike Hensler, later given the title of Countess of Edla. They built this chalet on the grounds of the Palacio da Peña Park as a romantic refuge for them. It was a Swiss style chalet surrounded by a beautiful garden and within the palace’s grounds. After the death of the king, the countess inherited the chalet, but the government bought the property from her. However, she continued to visit the chalet until she died in 1929. You can buy a ticket to visit the chalet together with your Peña Palace and Park ticket on this LINK or you can buy it on arrival at the chalet.
After the government purchase, the chalet fell into disrepair and a fire in 1999 almost complete destroyed it. In 2007 it was restored to its original design as when it was built, and it opened to the public for visitation in 2011. It is a lovely building and worth going off the beaten track to visit.
After visiting the chalet, we continued our tour to “Convent of Capuchos” further away. The convent was funded in 1560, by Alvaro de Castro and was part of the Franciscan Order of Friar Minor or Capuchins. It is a group of simple buildings built around rocks and dense vegetation that formed the community of eight friars. The buildings consisted of the “Chapel do Senhor dos Passos”, “Casa do Capitulo”, “Patio do Tanque” with an octagonal fountain, “Chapel of Santo Antonio”, “Grotto of Friar Honório”, and the monks private accommodation. The complex of buildings is small, decoration is minimal, doors are small and low, decorated with cork, a traditional material in Portugal. It is an interesting place to visit, and worth taking the extra drive. If you have time in Sintra you can get a guided tour of the convent that lasts five hours and where you will learn all about the history of the convent via this LINK.
Once we saw everything, we headed back to Sintra and stopped at “Quinta da Regaleira”. This is a 16th century renaissance style palace within the historic centre of Sintra. It was designed by an Italian architect called Luigi Manini. The palace is surrounded by four hectares of land transformed in an exquisite park and gardens. The park contains various tunnels, grottoes, a chapel, waterfall lake, a cave and the famous “Initiation Well”. The garden has luxuriant vegetation and the whole estate is spectacular.
This is one of the best attractions in Sintra and because it is very central it is possible to walk to the “Quinta” from the historic centre. If you only have a day in Sintra, I advise you to visit Peña Palace in the morning and Quinta da Regaleira in the afternoon. Or you could visit the National Palace and Quinta da Regaleira instead as both are in the centre and there is no need to get any transport. You can have a private guided tour of the quinta and can book the tickets HERE.
After our visit to the “Quinta” we drove the little car back to the hire shop as our four hours had already expired long ago. We used the rest of the day to explore the centre of town which is full of charm and charism.
We visited a famous bakery called “A Piriquita” where they sell traditional Portuguese sweets called “Travesseiros” (pillows) and “Queijada de Sintra” (cheesecake type of sweet). We bought a good variety to take to my friend that we were due to visit next day. We sat in a bar in front of the National Palace and had some beers to refresh and rest for a while. If you are in Lisbon and want to spend a day in Sintra, you can book this guided tour that will include the entrance tickets to Peña Palace and Quinta da Regaleira. Book it HERE.
Tonight, we had a dinner reservation at a restaurant called “Incomum”. It also had very good reviews and we were looking forward to trying their food. It was located close to the train station and about 15 minutes’ walk from our hotel.
This restaurant was very different from the one we went last night; it was more modern and didn’t have the same appeal as the other one. However, the food was delicious, and we had another memorable meal accompanied by the most tasteful wine. We can highly recommend this one as well and I would love to go back again to have the “Scallops on passion fruit risotto” I had tried. So different and so tasteful!
Once again we walked back to our hotel, Sintra Boutique Hotel in a high, enjoying our last night in Sintra.
Below you will find a list of what to visit, where to stay and where to eat in Sintra, Day 5. I classified each place as follows:
BOLD – Visited, tried and recommended
NOT BOLD – Not visited or tried, but planning to visit or try and heard very good reviews
*** – Excellent
** – Good
* – OK
£££ – Expensive
££ – Fair and affordable
£ – Cheap
WHAT TO SEE IN SINTRA DAY 5
1 – Chalet of the Countess Edla – ***
2 – Convent of Capuchos – ***
3 – Quinta da Regaleira – ***
4 – Sintra Old Town – ***
5 – “A Piriquita” – ***
WHERE TO STAY IN SINTRA DAY 5
1 – Lawrences Hotel – 5* – £££
2 – Eighteen21 Houses – 4* – ££
3 – Casa do Valle – 3* – ££
WHERE TO EAT IN SINTRA DAY 5
1 – Incomum – *** – £££
2 – A Piriquita – *** – £
3 – Tascantiga – £
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