Portugal,  Travel

A weekend in Sintra: about hidden beaches and magical gardens

Have you ever heard about Sintra? Or about the edge of the world (it used to be for people in Europe in the 15th century)? Nowadays Cabo da Roca is the most western point in Europe. If you have been here, you would probably agree that this all Sintra-Cascais Natural Park is full of magic.

Beaches that are worth reaching

Although all beaches in Portugal are pretty amazing, currently from all that I have visited, Praia da Ursa is number one from its stunning scenery. But be prepared for the not short climb down to it. We started hiking to this beach from the most western point Cabo da Roca (from Sintra city we reached this place by bus) in the direction to north. Found some remote narrow paths curving on the top of hills and felt like having a really cool adventure. After about an hour we reached the beach, the water was so bright blue, huge waves were crashing and it was really remote, not many people were there. We really enjoyed the time here.

Praia da Ursa

After a while, we decided to hike to the second beach Praia da Adraga. Oh boy, that was an exhausting climb. But the views…we just stopped on the peak of one of the hills, sat down on the rocks and just enjoyed it in silence. Watching tiny people walking on the beach, waves following one another, and trying to see something far away on the horizon. I really felt for some seconds that I’m on the edge of the world!

On the edge of the world

When we reached Praia da Adraga, we decided to take a rest in a bar, ordered some drinks and just watched the locals around. There were a lot of camper vans in the parking lot, some hippies were doing a mini performance with a guitar. The people were chilled and friendly. The evening was really warm. Although this place is quite remote, we managed to order Uber for our way back home! We stayed overnight in one of the hostels in the Sintra city – Casa Azul. I would really recommend this one because I felt like home there!

Magical gardens of Quinta da Regaleira

The second day of a weekend we spent exploring the city of Sintra. It has several places to go like Pena Palace, Mouro Castle, Sintra National Palace. There was some rain coming so we decided to stick to one place and explore it fully – Quinta da Regaleira. Actually, rain and mist added a lot of magic to these gardens, so we just walked around, no matter the small rain. Quinta da Regaleira, one of the Sintra’s monuments, built in a romantic period, is just a perfect example of a genius architecture. We spent there around 3 hours walking in the outside gardens, exploring hidden cave system, paths, and couldn’t get enough of that!

Quinta da Regaleira

I remember, we sat down to rest near the access to one of the caves and started to observe people. The majority of them were just rushing through the caves, without any curiosity and excitement. The only excitement they had just to make perfect pictures out of these landscapes. Maybe they forgot that putting a phone aside for some time and losing a path can be the most exciting thing while travelling. I’m not a person of a “best fake smile”. I want to see things how they really are, not through the lenses of a camera. So I felt sad for those people, who were just rushing around, taking selfies and didn’t recognize how beautiful is this place, especially right after the rain when leaves of the trees started to sparkle in the sunshine.

In the future, if I have a chance I would really like to explore the gardens of a Pena Palace. Unfortunately, we didn’t make to them, but I believe the fairy tale feeling will continue if I come back again to Sintra one day.


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