Sintra Full Day – 08 Hours
This tour takes us to meet one of the most romantic villages of Portugal. Its history and its charm makes Sintra a unique place. It is located half an hour from Lisbon.
During this tour we will visit the following places:
Sintra Nacional Palace
Made up of various constructions built over successive eras, it is one of the most important Portuguese examples of royal architecture and has therefore been classified as a National Monument. This palace is thought to have been originally a palace of the Moorish walls. Its current layout results from two phases of building works: the first one, in the reign of King John I (15th century), and the second in that of D. Manuel I (16th century). It has the greatest collection of Mudéjar tiles in the country. It is topped by two large twin chimneys built over the kitchen, which have become the symbol of Sintra.
After the visit of the Palace we will stop at “Piriquita” Pastry (dated 1862), here you will taste the famous “Travesseiros” (egg and almond pastries) and “Queijadas”(cheese pastries). The next stop will be at Regaleira Palace and Gardens.
Regaleira Palace and Gardens
This is a fabulous assemblage of styles and constructions ( gardens, wells, towers, statues, mysterious grottoes, etc.), which Manini succeeded in imbuing with exceptional characteristics. Albeit having a semblance of a scene from opera, the Quinta da Regaleira has alchemical and sacred connotations. The origins of this Quinta (palace and estate) which is currently known as the Quinta da Regaleira date back to 1697 when José Leite purchased a huge tract of land at one end of the Old Quarter of Sintra. The property was bought at a public auction in 1715 by Francisco Alberto Guimarães de Castro who diverted water from the mountain to supply a fountain on the property. In the possession of João António Lopes Fernandes in 1800 it appears some thirty years later in the possession of Manuel Bernardo from whence it derived its current name, having formerly been known as the Quinta da Torre or the Quinta do Castro. It was then purchased by the daughter of Allen in 1840 (a wealthy trader from Oporto) who was later given the title of the Baroness of Regaleira. At the beginning of this century, however, the Quinta da Regaleira was purchased by the capitalist António Augusto de Carvalho Monteiro, a man of enormous culture with a degree in Law from the University of Coimbra who had amassed a fortune in Brazil. Carvalho Monteiro, who was profoundly inspired by the glorious national epic poem, whose expression at the time was found in the "revivalist" taste of neo-manueline architecture, took inspiration for the construction of the manor house and its respective chapel both from the structural and decorative eclecticism of the Pena Palace and the neo-manueline style of the Hotel Palácio do Buçaco, designed by Luigi Manini. It was Carvalho Monteiro who invited Manini to design and build the house at Regaleira . The project was completed in 1910.
Lunch at Hotel Tivoli Palácio de Seteais. After lunch the tour will continuing to Palácio de Monserrate ending at the most beautiful monument of Sintra the Palácio da Pena.
Nowadays a de luxe hotel, Seteais Palace was built in the last quarter of the 18th century by the Dutch Consul, Daniel Gildemeester. At the end of that century, the property was sold to the 5th Marquis of Marialva, Royal Chamberlain, who added a second wing to the original construction, connecting them by an arch surmounted by the Royal coat-of-arms and a medallion with the effigies of Dom João VI and Queen Carlota Joaquina. The work was completed in 1802.
Monserrate Palace and Gardens
In 1858, Francis Cook contracted James Knowels Jr. to design the pavilion that he wanted to build in Monserrate. The architect found that he was restricted in various ways however, since he had to work with the existing structures of DeVisme’s old small Neo-Gothic Castle. But the construction followed Knowels’ plan and the building proved to be original and highly eclectic. The three bodies of the pavilion – topped by bulbous red cupolas - have facades opened by doors and windows of soft Gothic curves. Preceding the entrance is an equally Neo-Gothic portico with a cincture of large entablatures. In the cornice are alternate modillions of trilobite spirals and arches, and emerging from the central body is a balcony with arches ornamented with decorative tiles imitating the mudejar style, which overlooks a leafy park. Inside the palace, the exuberant decoration of the plaster and domes accentuates the oriental style of the pavilion, particularly in the gallery and the “Music Room”, where a profusion of Indian and classical themes permeates the ensemble with its own dynamic, creating a unique aesthetic effect. The superb gardens around the royal building were designed and created by Stockdale and Thomas Gargill, who used the micro-climate of the mountain to create a magnificent park where more than three thousand exotic species can still be seen today.
Pena National Palace
This palace is the most accomplished and remarkable example of Portuguese Romantic architecture. Built at approximately 500 metres above sea level, it goes back to 1839, when the prince consort D. Fernando II of Saxe-Coburg (1816-1885) bought the ruins of the Hieronymus Monastery of Our Lady of Pena and began to make it into a small palace. To oversee the work, he called Baron Eschwege, whose inspiration for this remarkable edifice came from palaces in Bavaria. Extremely fanciful, Pena’s architecture uses not only Moorish, Gothic and Manueline motifs, but also the Wagnerian spirit of Central Europe’s, Schinkel castles. Crowning the Serra de Sintra, as if it were a harmonious prolongation of the range itself, the picturesque and also fantastic Palace of Pena cannot help impressing the visitor. This supreme example of Portuguese romantic architecture is due to the magic materialisation of the dreams of a Prince of Bavaria, Ferdinand of Saxe Coburg-Gotha, husband of Queen Maria II. In 1839 he bought the ruins of the former Monastery of Nossa Senhora da Pena, built in 1503; he developed and enlarged them, with the collaboration of the Prussian engineer Ludwig von Eschwege, to achieve an extremely sensitive creation. Of note inside the Palace are the Renaissance retable by Nicolau Chanterenne (1529-1532), the exotic, richly worked furniture and the whole romantic atmosphere par excellence. Apart from its historical and museological importance, the Palace is host to concerts of classical music, exhibitions and historical plays.
After the visit, return to the hotel.
Entrance Fees included: Sintra National Palace, Regaleira Palace and Gardens, Monserrate Palace and Gardens, Pena National Palace.
During the summer and as a option, the above tour could be done using a typical horse and carriage.