We started off with breakfast at the Club and decided to explore the grounds. The hotel is surrounded by two 18-hole golf courses and is located within a protected natural reserve along with a 14th century monastery and chapel. The grounds are lovely and most rooms have a fantastic view of the forests and hills.
Scenes from Sintra
As it was the first day of May, labor day, most museums and monuments were closed but we decided to go to Sintra anyway to have a look and walk around the historical town center. After our brisk walk around the grounds, we drove to the nearby Sintra. The town of Sintra was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1995 and its’ winding cobble stoned streets and 19th century architecture has been preserved. As the town center is quite small, it could get very crowded on the weekends when busloads of tourists are walking about. Try to visit on a weekday like we did so you can wander around and enjoy the scenery without the crowds.
Sintra’s tiny cobble stoned streets
We walked all around the town and explored the tiny streets with the 15th century Palacio Nacional de Sintra right in the center while taking into account the views over the valley and the hills and the imposing 17th century Palacio Nacional da Pena .
We did some shopping as well. Sintra is well-known for its’ linen and there are many shops around town that sell place mats, tablecloths and guest towels. There are also beautiful quilted cotton bed covers and pillowcases plus fine cotton embroidered nightgowns, pajamas and robes. Portugal is also known for its’ tiles and pottery and a selection of these are at most of the stores. We bought some beige linen place mats with matching napkins and a white quilted bed cover from Artinis (Praca da Republica 17/19), a large store right by the main square, which had the most choice.
After that, we made a wrong turn and ended up driving down the hill on the winding road called Ruta de Castanhos. Lucky that we did, as we explored this tiny road lined by ancient walls, villas and shady chestnut trees which led us back down to the Estoril coast.
Grilled vegetables to accompany our main course of grilled pork, chicken and chorizo on a skewer.
By this time, we were hot and hungry so we went back to the hotel and had a quick lunch at the poolside restaurant Serra . After that we sat in the sun and then had a dip in the indoor pool for the rest of the afternoon.