Sintra and Evora are both UNESCO World Heritage listed towns outside of Lisbon. Sintra is to the North-East of Lisbon and Evora is to the West of Lisbon. Lagos is a beachy tourist town on the south coast.
Sintra is an absolutely enchanting little town on the hillside, hidden gems all over the place! I loved my visit here and the single full day I had to explore simply was not enough time.
Quinta da Regaleira
Quinta da Regaleira is the property of an eccentric the house itself was quite beautiful but the highlight of the visit is the gardens.
The gardens are extensive with winding paths and hidden underground tunnels taking you between towers, a church, a waterfall and different wells.
Many years ago I saw a photo of the Initiation Well and I was simply captivated by its rustic beauty, so to see this first hand was absolutely the highlight of my visit to Sintra.
Pena Palace was the palace of the last king of Portugal. The palace architecture is pretty ‘out there’, there are loads of very bright colours, various different textures and patterns. While it seems to be a clash of concepts, it works really well and is spectacular to see.
The inside of the palace is also fascinating and every room has something different, painted walls, elaborate timber carvings, colourful tiled walls and ceilings. Simply spectacular!
Beyond these two sights, we had no time to visit other things in Sintra, but wandering the streets as the sun dropped in the sky was lovely. The cobblestone laneways were charming to explore.
Entry costs about €14.
Evora is a gorgeous little walled city with absolutely tiny narrow streets, some of which take a three or five point turn to make it around the corner without damaging the car. Evora was one of those places that was gorgeous to wander, but otherwise only had a few sights to visit.
The things I saw which I thought were worth seeing were the aqueduct, it was really cute to see people had built houses and shops into the old archways. The roman temple is a famous site, but I am not particularly sure why. The cathedral is lovely and costs 3,50€ to visit the cathedral, cloisters and tower. The tower had a lovely view of the city. The church of San Francisco and it’s neighbour the chapel of bones are also fascinating to check out.
Lagos is a super touristy town on the south coast of Portugal. It has gorgeous beaches and dramatic cliffs. The centre of town is a walled city like Evora and again has crazy narrow cobblestone streets.
It’s a great place to wander, to spend time relaxing on the beach, but otherwise the one sight that I would say is a must is a boat tour of the grottos.
The cliffs and grottos are spectacular from the water. I did a tour with Days of Adventure. For 10€, the 1.5 hour tour was money well spent!!