Sintra is a small resort town that’s just a 40 minute train ride from the Lisbon city center. I went there for the day and was blown away by all there is to do – it’s truly a destination in itself! While the actual town is rather sleepy (but still nice for a quaint lunch or coffee), there are several castles and palaces dotting the hills that guests can visit by bus. We visited Quinta da Regaleira and got lost in the fairy tale estate and its lush grounds (including the mysterious Initiation Well that is a mossy inverted tower, spiralling down into the earth).
I’d also recommend seeing the Pena Palace, the Castle of the Moors and the Monserrate Palace. This is a lot to do in just a day, but the bus system runs throughout the region and connects visitors between the several popular destinations. One other notable spot is the dramatic cliffs of Cabo da Roca – a cape which forms the westernmost extent of continental Europe. We sat for hours in the sunshine on the edge of the huge cliffs, it’s a gorgeous landscape that cannot be missed!