Sintra – Lisbon, Portugal
Summer Resort of Portuguese Royalty
Lord Byron had already seen his fair share of the Continent when he wrote to his mother from Sintra, calling it “perhaps the most delightful [village] in Europe.”
Today the same cool, gentle climate and garden setting that made this a favorite summer residence for the Portuguese kings for more than 500 years provides city dwellers and tourists an idyllic respite from the heat and hustle of Lisbon.
Commanding the highest peak are the dramatic 8th-century ruins of a Moorish citadel, the Castelo dos Mouros, with a heavenly view to the sea.
Stay in a castle of your own at the Palacio de Seteais, a dreamy 18th-century palace built by the Dutch consul to Portugal that looks down across vineyards and orange groves to the sea mist.
Common areas and some of the older guest rooms are graced with antiques; gold leaf and crystal chandeliers anchor ballroom-high ceilings. The name Seteais refers to the seven sighs said to have been the reaction to a peace treaty signed here during the Napoleonic wars—a reaction shared by many guests today, enthralled by the palace’s spell.