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Comments and reviews of Sintra
Sintra was just beautiful. It had all the charm expected of an old European village, lots of hills and wonderful architecture, tropical forests, views of the Atlantic and several spectatular castles on top of the mountains. I loved the winding road to the top of the castle ruins which had spectatular views of the countryside and ocean. Much preferred the old Arab ruins to the Disney-esque castle next door.
We had a great hotel. It would have been one of the best of our three week trip if the beds hadn't been so bad, like sleeping on a convent floor, I imagine. All's well. I would go back again for more!
Just returned from a fabulous trip to Sintra, bought for me as a birthday surprise - I love photography and architecture, so this trip enabled me to mix both together.
We stayed at the 5-star Lawrences Hotel (www.lawrenceshotel.com/) - and what a super place it is, too. Built in an 18th century manor house, with stripped wooden floor, shutters on the windows and open fires in the rooms. The room was sizeable - a suite - and comfortable, the bath even had a jacuzzi - great after a long walk to the Moorish Castle. Apparently, Lord Byron stayed in the building in 1809.
Food at the hotel was excellent (if a bit pricey) - we also ate at the Cafe De Paris in town which has similar levels of service but the food didn't seem as good. The hotel has a good value afternoon menu, with a decent burger costing about €6 - similar prices at the other restaurants in the town again didn't meet the standard I felt we had at the Lawrence's.
Sintra is a town of contrasts - high quality restaurants vie for space with terrace cafes and coffe shops, typical 'tourist' souvenir shops rub shoulders with boutique clothing stores and jewellers selling Breitling watches.
As a town, it also suffers the age old paradox of restoration/renewal. Sintra is a UNESCO World Heritage Site because of the palaces and historic architecture, but this means that it is increasingly expensive for people to buy and restore properties to a suitable standard. unfortunately this means there are many fine old manor house that appear to be going to ruin.
For anybody touring Portugal, it is well worth spending a good day or so in the vicinity so that you don't feel the need to rush between all the sites.