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Sintra Travel Guide

The picturesque resort town of Sintra, 18 miles (29km) north-west of Lisbon, lies at the heart of one of Portugal's most appealing holiday regions, abounding with natural beauty, historical and cultural attractions and plenty of leisure opportunities. Sintra itself, characterised by lush greenery, bright splashes of flowers and elaborate 'wedding cake' palaces, was described as a 'glorious Eden' by classic poet Lord Byron.No wonder it was once chosen by royalty and nobility as the place to build their summer holiday retreats and, in more modern times, has been accorded the status of a UNESCO World Heritage Site.Sintra is actually an amalgamation of three villages, sprawling down a steep granite hillside, so the layout is a little confusing for visitors on holiday. The huge Palacio Nacional, with its tall, conical chimneys serves as a landmark in the centre of Sintra, and makes a good starting point for walking tours of the key attractions of this fascinating fairy-tale town, captured by Christian Crusaders from the Moors in 1147.A fun way to see the town and surrounds is aboard the historic 100-year-old Sintra Tram, which connects Estefanea to Praia das Macas. It is open for rides for the public on Friday, Saturday and Sunday for a couple of Euros.

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