ende
ende
menu
ende

You wouldn't be here if you weren't curious.*

Hi! I'm Elena! Welcome to my travel blog Creativelena.com.
For me, it is all about “life-seeing instead of sightseeing”: Join me as I create, eat & live my way around the world. Curious?

*Check out my book, “The Creative Traveler’s Handbook”, for learning more about what we mean by creative travel. Travelling means the world to me, makes me fit for everday life and sometimes, I trust, also calmer on the inside. Read this blog with a smile, share what you love and remember to check back regularly: After all, when was the last time you did something for the first time?

Combining Lisbon with Sintra on your next trip to Portugal

What to do if you’ve only got a day or two to spend in the Portuguese capital city? Many of you city break travellers might have the same thoughts or concerns as I did on this fourth visit of mine to “boa Lisboa”. After food-touring downtown Mouraria districts as well as Campo d’Ourique with my friend Filipa, of Taste of Lisboa Food Tours, I knew it was time to get to know yet another lovely side of Lisbon.

 

Only half an hour’s train ride away from the bustling city life of downtown Lisbon, you are met by the lush, fairy-tale like forests, palaces & gardens of Sintra.

“Just take the train from Rossio station; it leaves every twenty minutes”, my friend André tells me with a smile. André and I just caught up in one of the coolest places in town, called “By The Wine” in Lisbon’s famous Rua das Flores, easily one of the city’s trendiest streets chock-full of charming cafés, bars, restaurants and inns. After dropping me at the train station and me snoozing for the promised half-hour, 40 minutes train ride, I can hardly believe my eyes “waking up” again in magical Sintra. …

From the hip, trendy, and very cool wine restaurant "By The Wine", boasting a mélange of a wine cellar with a superb restaurant ...

From the hip, trendy, and very cool wine restaurant “By The Wine”, boasting a mélange of a wine cellar with a superb restaurant in downtown Lisbon …

 

… where catching up with my dear friend André Ribeirinho, of Adegga.com means sharing the passion for "The Creative Traveler's Handbook" ...

… where catching up with my dear friend André Ribeirinho, of Adegga.com means sharing the passion for my recently published “The Creative Traveler’s Handbook” …

 

… all the way to magical Sintra is quite a stunning change of scenes.

… all the way to magical Sintra is quite a stunning change of scenes.

 

“Yes ..! Let’s go to Sintra”, my dear friend Marc would chime in, eyes lighting up, literally bouncing up and down with delight. “I have read so much about its fairy-tale like palaces and gardens .. and did you know that some of them kings of old even imported exotic plants and trees there that only grow in this part of Portugal? Not to mention the historic palaces and mansions …”

We found a great place to stay for our short time in Sintra, called Almáa Sintra Hostel, a small eco-hostel tucked away in a quiet little forest near the main Sintra Palace of Regaleira. From there, it is easy to explore all that Sintra has to offer.

Magical, fairy-tale like gardens that seem straight out of a fantasy novel ...

Magical, fairy-tale like gardens that seem straight out of a fantasy novel …

 

… gardens that even see me touching my beloved "koru" tree ferns again, reminding me of mystical, far-away New Zealand (!) ...

… gardens that even see me touching my beloved “koru” tree ferns again, reminding me of mystical, far-away New Zealand (!) …

 

… are only a part of the magic of exploring Sintra Palaces & Gardens, denominated a World Heritage Landscape by UNESCO.

… are only a part of the magic of exploring Sintra Palaces & Gardens, denominated a World Heritage Landscape by UNESCO.

 

The fog on our first day only added to the mystery ...

The fog on our first day only added to the mystery …

 

… of exploring ...

… of exploring …

 

… and navigating our way round Regaleira Palace Gardens.

… and navigating our way round Regaleira Palace Gardens.

 

Just a short bus ride away from Regaleira Palace, you can visit Pena Palace, one of the most “exotic” and worthwhile palaces of the entire Sintra Heritage landscape. Besides offering an insightful history on late 19th century Portugal, including stints by king-cohort Ferdinand from Austria (!), its gardens offer some of the best 360° views around Sintra all the way out to the Atlantic Sea and back to Lisbon. A gorgeous place to be discovered. Check this out.

From "La Cruz Alta" in Pena palace gardens, you can enjoy some of the best views of the Pena Palace itself ...

From “La Cruz Alta” in Pena palace gardens, you can enjoy some of the best views of Pena Palace itself …

 

… as well as all the way further out to the capital city of Lisbon.

… as well as all the way further out to the capital city of Lisbon.

 

The palace itself is a collection of stunning objects of decoration, historical artifacts and clever engineering - such as "modern" 19th century telephones.

The palace itself is a collection of stunning objects of decoration, historical artifacts and clever engineering – such as “modern” 19th century telephones and crocodile waterspouts.

 

The tour in & around the palace takes about two hours and is truly worth your while ...

The tour in & around the palace takes about two hours and is truly worth your while …

 

… learning more about the historical daily life of the Portuguese court ...

… learning more about the historical daily life of the Portuguese court …

 

… while constantly being enchanted by the beautiful palace atmosphere.

… while constantly being enchanted by the beautiful palace atmosphere.

 

Sintra, we'll be back!

Sintra, we’ll be back!

 

Back in Lisbon, I suggest you take it easy. Take a walk downtown, feel the sand between your feet at Tejo river just off the famous Praça do Comércio, and look for “Gelato Therapy” whenever possible.

This is mid-October talking, and we are still at a pleasant 20°, 25° degrees in the middle of the day. Oh, Lisbon … You just have to choose well, I am tempted to think of my friends and family now, sure jealous under the rain (even snow!) back home in Austria. Sometimes, of course, you just have to go with the (weather) flow, even in a sun-kissed city like Lisbon. Thank God there is always a delicious eatery, an artisan ice-cream shop or a beautiful (wine) bar near to you. Let me show you where to go for fun and easy city strolls in Lisbon

Beautiful Lisboa ...

Beautiful Lisboa …

 

… is a magical place, especially at sunset: Look at this view from "The Lisbon Poets Hostel", a really cool place to stay and our choice again this time ...

… is a magical place, especially at sunset: Look at this view from “The Lisbon Poets Hostel”, a really cool place to stay …

 

… from here right next to the Metro station Baixa-Chiado, it's easy to explore downtown Lisbon ...

… from here right next to the Metro station Baixa-Chiado, it’s easy to explore downtown Lisbon …

 

… including a pleasant stroll over to Mouraria, one of the city's oldest districts ...

… including a pleasant stroll over to Mouraria, one of the city’s oldest districts …

 

… at the foot of the famous Jorge Castelo castle hill. Here, old photographs of local heroes line the streets ...

… at the foot of the famous Jorge Castelo castle hill. Here, old photographs of local heroes line the streets …

 

… streets that are now being crossed by Segway ...

… streets that are now being crossed by Segway tourists …

 

… or if you prefer in the more traditional, Lisbon fashion: By taking the old city tram.

… or if you prefer in the more traditional, Lisbon fashion: By taking the old city tram.

 

Never far: An excellent ice cream shop, such as this one called "Gelato Therapy". Love their banana chocolate chip ice cream ..!

Never far: An excellent ice cream shop, such as this one called “Gelato Therapy”. Love their banana chocolate chip ice cream ..!

 

Walking off those calories is best achieved by crossing the city all the way down to Praca do Comércio ...

Walking off those calories is best achieved by crossing the city all the way down to Praça do Comércio …

 

… including dipping your toes in the Tejo river, right before it meets the Atlantic sea.

… including dipping your toes in the Tejo river, right before it meets the Atlantic sea. Beautiful!

 

Last but not least, I have a special, almost “secret tip” for you. Ever heard of Patrícia Canejo and her company Singulartrips.com?

To be fair, I haven’t either – before lovely Patrícia came up to me in this year’s World Food Tourism Summit here in Lisbon and we ended up becoming friends thanks to our shared passion about creative travel. “With my company, we organize cooking classes, excursions to wineries, opportunities for travellers to participate in the olive harvest …” I just knew Patrícia and I were to hit it off immediately. Take a look at what you, too, can do if signing up for one of her tasty culinary experiences

Home with the family: Patrícia and her husband Luís invite us home to share a family meal with them and their two daughters ...

Home with the family: Patrícia and her husband Luís invite us home to share a family meal with them and their two daughters …

 

… featuring Alentejo-style pork & veggies ...

… featuring Alentejo-style pork & veggies …

 

… as well as a selection of beautiful, home-made bread, olives, cheeses and chourico sausages ...

… as well as a selection of beautiful, home-made bread, olives, cheeses and chouriço sausages …

 

… I could easily come again, any time. Thank you for such a wonderful welcome, dear Patrícia & family!

… I could easily come again, any time. Thank you for such a wonderful welcome, dear Patrícia & family!

 

Check out my Flickr Photo Gallery for another introduction to Lisbon & Sintra on this rather magical, short-term city visit of ours. Hope to see you soon for more cultural & foodie travel in Portugal!

 

Spread the love

Written by Elena

Elena writes about creative destinations, shares her personal travel stories and brings inspiring photography & interesting news updates home to you. Her mission is: "Continue to be amazed at this world, one creative travel experience at a time."

Ready for learning even more about creative travel?

Elena has recently published "The Creative Traveler's Handbook". Chock full of inspiratinal stories, travel tips and advice, it offers everything you need for planning and managing your next creative escape, addressing beginners and experienced travelers alike. Here's how to get your hands on it now!
#SomosPatrimonio: Creative Travel Keynote Speech in Coimbra, Portugal
INATEL #ISTOForum2015: European Tourism For All Conference in the Algarve, Portugal

0 Comments

Leave a Reply


Follow me on my travels: