1. Quinta da Regaleira (Sintra)
Although this palace is located in Sintra and not Lisbon, it’s quite accessible from Lisbon and what’s a trip to Lisbon if you’re not going to visit Sintra!?
This might come as a surprise, since many tour guides would mention Palacio da Pena as their first option. However if I were to choose between them I would still go for Quinta da Regaleira and here’s why: Quinta da Regaleira is a fairytale palace and garden with a romantic architecture. You’ll see a mix of Roman, Gothic, Renaissance and Manueline architectural style. The palace itself is quite small, but Quinta da Regaleira is all about its secret passageways, tunnels, towers, hidden waterfalls and lakes. I imagine it would be like a wonderland for kids.
Price: 6€ unguided
How to get there: You can take a train from the Restauradores Station in Lisbon’s city center. There’s a specific line that comes directly to Sintra and will take around 30 min. There are buses at Sintra train station for all the palaces but Quinta da Ragaleira is only in a 20 min walking distance so it’s totally recommended to go walking and enjoy the beautiful village of Sintra on your way.
Duration of Visit: It will take you around 2-3 hours to visit the whole resort. There’s only one restaurant inside so you might want to take something with you incase you get hungry.
Website: Here’s a website for all the palaces of Sintra including this one: http://www.parquesdesintra.pt/en/index.php#.Ue1VtxYgaCI
3. Palacio de Monserrate (Sintra)
Monserrate is another one of my favorites. It was a summer residence of an English millionaire. It’s again a romantic architecture with a mixture of Gothic, Indian and Islamic style.
It comes with an abandoned small chapel, a Mexican and a Japanese garden and a beautiful lake with waterlilies. In the garden you’ll find exotic plants coming from many other countries.
This castle is one of the main sites of Lisbon that pop ups in every travel guide. There’s not really much left from the castle apart of it walls which were also reconstructed. There’s a museum inside but the main highlight of this castle is the gorgeous view of Lisbon. Here is where you’ll get one of the most beautiful views of the Tejo river and Lisbon. Another of its advantages is that getting there you’ll have to pass through Alfama which is the oldest neighborhood in Lisbon. You might also like to get on one of Lisbon’s yellow electric buses to get all the way up the hill, which is quite a treat.
My 5th option would be a tie between Palacio Queluz and Palacio Marqueses da Fronteira. However Queluz is historically much more important and it’s much bigger. It was the residence of the Royal family and is also known as the Portuguese version of Versailles. It’s one of the last great examples of Rococo architecture in Europe. This palace is also located in Sintra however it’s not as accessible as the other palaces. The easiest way you could get here is by a car.
I hope you’ve found this post inspiring and useful.