Hidden Europe: unique experiences in Europe's cities
8920 · By Katie Shaw
Europe’s cities are treasure troves of culture, teeming with iconic, must-see sights to enthral even the most seasoned of tourists.Read more
The old Moorish city of Sintra, which was recaptured in 1147 by the Portuguese King Alfons I, has been the summer residence of the Portuguese kings and the aristocracy for more than 600 years. Today Sintra is popular with visitors thanks to its mild, humid climate and its picturesque location below the small coastal mountains, Sierra de Sintra, which rise sharply above the city. The city's most recognisable landmark is the National Palace (Palacio Nacional), with its huge white twin chimneys that rise above the large palace kitchen, and are visible from across the city and surrounding region.
The palace is regarded as one of the most important examples of regal architecture in Portugal and has been classified as a National Monument. The palace was continuously inhabited as a royal summer residence from the 14th to the 20th century. It boasts a mix of different architectural styles, with elaborate wood-carved ceilings and marvellous wall decoration with ceramic tiles from the 15th/16th centuries. The tiles, which were manufactured in Seville, form the oldest and most extensive collections on the Iberian Peninsula.