Beautiful fairytale town in Europe 20 million tourists flock to every year

Sintra is famed for being the traditional summer haunt of the Portuguese aristocracy and once you set eyes on the fairytale towers and perfect pastries the timeless appeal is easily apparent.

Nestled amid rolling hills and lush pine forests, Sintra is within easy reach of the capital Lisbon.

The ideal day-tripper excursion boasts stunning squares, colourful palaces and no shortage of breathtaking scenery.

Topping the architectural offerings are the Palácio Nacional de Sintra and the iconic Palácio da Pena.

Home to Portuguese royalty, Palácio Nacional de Sintra harbours a rich history with lavish furnishings and ornate ceilings.

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Over the generations, Portugal’s monarchs bankrolled various architectural transformations resulting in a flourish of Moorish, Gothic, and Renaissance influences.

Perhaps the most striking feature is the palace’s famous towering twin chimneys which have been adopted as a symbol of Sintra.

While Palácio da Pena is also a must-see attraction though visitors are advised to come at the end of the day to avoid the crowds.

The UNESCO World Heritage Site has pride of place atop the hills of Sintra drawing millions of visitors every year.

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The former monastery is world-famous for its vividly coloured facades, ornamental turrets and striking dome-topped clock tower.

Besides touring Sintra’s castles and palaces, visitors can spend time wandering the MU.SA (Museu das Artes de Sintra) gallery which houses some of Portugal’s most celebrated modern paintings.

Lovers of Portugal’s Pasteis de nata (cream pastries) will enjoy Sintra’s signature ‘queijada’, a traditional dessert made from cheese, sugar, eggs, and sometimes cinnamon.

The picturesque town’s fantasy feel and wealth of attractions make Sintra a must on any Portugal holiday itinerary.

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