LAST WEEK’s post covered our 2012 arrival from Lisbon and Sintra’s beautiful statues. Just before reaching the town proper I spied what looked like a Moorish Fountain. Still used as a drinking fountain, the Arab Fountain, was actually built around 1922 by local sculptor José da Fonseca. Moorish in looks only!
The Arab/Moorish Fountain.
What is a tourist town without a tourist train?
Skirting the faux train we headed for the tourist office to discover more about bus 434 that does the rounds of the attractions on the Serra de Sintra hills, the train station, and the town. Then we went looking for some pasteis de nata.
These pastries are famous in Belem, Lisbon, but I may or may not have got my notes mixed, so we tried them here instead!
Sintra is actually famous for the pastry Travesseiros (a sugar coated pastry pillow) and Queijadas de Sintra (a cold cheesecake) which can be sampled at Piriquita or Casa do Preto.
(I chuckle thinking about the travel competition I entered recently that deduced my travel style as “
Tidy Messy Traditionalist.)
When we located our pastries, in a cute cafe on a cute cobblestone lane, they looked just like the burnt custard tarts they were meant to look like. Identical to those in Belem, I like to think that they are universally good. Of course those of us who did not get their notes mixed, might feel that the Casa Pasties de Belem at Rua de Belem 84, Lisbon serves superior ones.
The Bus 434 that would deliver us to Castello des Mouros arrived late at the stop near the central tourist office. Those who didn’t score a seat (us) were packed in like bottled anchovies, where we swayed together in solidarity, attempting to stay upright on the steep switchbacks. It was great fun, but hopefully any passengers who were unsteady on their feet would be offered a seat.
Bus 434 has a strangle hold and charges accordingly.
We paid 5 Euro each (2012) for a round trip as we only wished to visit one attraction on the hill. Most people would buy the all day round trip ticket at a cost of 10 Euro each. The first bus does not leave the town until 10.15 a.m. after which they leave every 40 minutes (length of the round trip). In the height of summer I believe they add more buses.
- Purchase a single bus trip up the hill for 2.75 Euro and walk back down – there is a dedicated walkway.
- Time and energy allowing, walk to Castello dos Mouros (50 minutes), and then a further 20 to Palacia Pena. A little further again to the views from the Cruz Alta, the highest point.
Do you think the women in the photo below are tourists or locals?
Looking up to our destination.
Main attractions within the town/hill (Serra de Sintra) area. Prices in Euro.
- Castello des Mouros (7 Adult, 6 Child) Walk or Bus 434 – 3.5 km up on Serra de Sintra (our choice)
- Palacia Pena (13.50 Adult, 11 Child) Walk or Bus 434 – the stop after the Castello
- Palacia National de Sintra (9 Adult, 7 Child, 31 Family) Walk – in the old town
- Quinta da Regaleira, (6 Adult, 4 Child, 18 Family) NOT on Bus 434 route. 1km walk. DIRECTIONS here.
There are OTHER ATTRACTIONS in the area – enough to warrant staying for longer!
Join BTT next week for spectacular views from the battlements of Castello dos Mouros.