Sintra, Portugal

With its rippling mountains, dewy forests thick with ferns and lichen, exotic gardens and glittering palaces, Sintra is like a page torn from a fairy tale. Its Unesco World Heritage–listed center, Sintra-Vila, is dotted with pastel-hued manors folded into luxuriant hills that roll down to the blue Atlantic.

Sintra is known for its many 19th-century Romantic architectural monuments, which has resulted in its classification as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Although its heritage in buildings and nature is the most visible face of the historic individuality of Sintra, a whole literary heritage has made the area a legendary reference in Portuguese culture. It has become a major tourist centre, visited by many day-trippers who travel from the urbanized suburbs and capital of Lisbon.

In addition to the Sintra Mountains and Sintra-Cascais Nature Park, the parishes of the town of Sintra are dotted by royal retreats, estates, castles and other buildings, including the Castelo dos Mouros, the Pena National Palace and the Sintra National Palace.

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