High up in the dewy hills on the outskirts of Lisbon you’ll find the palatial and opulent hill station of Sintra. Once referred to by Byron as a “glorious Eden”, the suburban retreat has been a favourite of Portuguese royalty and international aristocracy for generations because of its cooler micro-climate and lush surrounds. The impossibly pretty town is just 30-odd minutes outside Lisbon by train or car.
It’s a UNESCO World Heritage Site and is home to more fairytale palaces than Disneyland. Most folk come to nose around the eclectic palaces playing out regal fantasies from the ivy-blushed turrets. Filled with dense tropical gardens, it’s also a great spot – to not only escape the mid-summer heat of the city below – but also for hearty walks through wild flower-filled fields and regally manicured grounds.