Just 15 miles outside Lisbon, perched on the craggy slopes of the Serra de Sintra mountains, this village appears upon the horizon like an illustration from a fairy tale. A smattering of pastel-hued cottages and castles marks out Sintra, one of Portugal's oldest inhabited locations and a UNESCO World Heritage Site. A place where time seems to stand still, lush forests surround the medieval town preserving it in a state of both man-made and natural beauty which Lord Byron described as a "glorious Eden". If Disney are looking for a new location, we've found it - it's no wonder the Portuguese royal family chose to holiday here.
When to go?
A trip in spring or autumn will ensure that you miss the coach loads of tourists who flock here in the sweltering summer months. Visit midweek to avoid the visitors who come from the city for a long weekend.
Who to take with you?
It's pretty romantic, so if there's someone special on the scene Sintra is perfect for an idyllic weekend break.
Most likely to bump into…
Aristocrats and artists looking for some escapism.
You couldn't miss Pena Palace if you tried. One of the seven wonders of Portugal, this majestic stronghold sits upon a verdant hilltop rising out of a heady mist which lingers numinously overhead. Explore the eccentricity of the palace and its colourful history before checking out the sweeping views of the valley.
Essentials to bring with you
Long floaty dresses to bring romance and drama.
How to get there
Catch a flight to Lisbon then take a 30-minute train north.