The Romantic Village of Palaces, Magical Gardens and Dreams Come True
✨ Fairytale Land Do Exist, And You Can Go There Too. ✨
Ever since I started dating, I realised that I have a quirky penchant of asking cheesy questions like, “If you had to choose one place to be with JUST me, where would it be?“. For most men, that’s a pet peeve – they feel as if they are defencelessly put in the spot for a surprise ‘test’. That was an actual question I once asked É in the context of Portugal and he for one found it rather peculiar. “What do you mean?”, he questioned back. “What do you mean; ‘what do you mean?’. I mean exactly what I just said!”
After a stupid argument that lasted 20 minutes, I finally got my answer. “Alright, Sintra.” (You see, fairytales don’t come easy. )
Satisfied, I requested for an elaboration of why. Poor É . . . He tried.
About a year later, I found us in Sintra hunting for wedding venues. Surprisingly, because of the small big deal we made, this municipality became even more special to me than it already is. I thought, “So, out of the maaaaanyyy places, THIS is where he chose to take me!”. It must mean something, right?
What You Need To Know
- Sintra is less than 30 km from Lisbon.
- The best way to get there is by train because finding parking spots is very challenging especially during summer.
- Sintra has its own microclimate, which means it might be cold, gloomy or raining when it’s hot and sunny in Lisbon; vice versa. Bring a lightweight raincoat if you can.
- Pena Palace always has a long looooonnnggggg queue, so start your day early..
- It’s better to eat outside of Sintra.
P.S. As Sintra is a famous spot for weddings, I’ve included some tips of what I’ve learned for brides-to-be who are looking to plan their big day there.
Top Palaces to Visit in Sintra
Did we just drive into an entirely different world? Spotless blue skies transformed into a vast blank space of greyness with a totally different scene. Breathlessly, we rode past each palace peaking through old trees. Inevitably, there was serious traffic going on as cars parked along the hill, but it’s all easily forgiven.
Monserrate to me is the epitome of a true fairytale palace. It was my #1 choice of wedding venue before I decided to cross out all possibilities in Sintra because of the cheeky microclimate factor. I wouldn’t say I have SAD (Seasonal Affective Disorder), but my mood does get easily influenced by the weather and should it rain on such a special day, I might just start to think the date is cursed. Nonetheless, it is my favorite place in Sintra. Get lost in the gardens, search for the chapel dressed in tree roots and marvel at the intricate details of the music room.
- Book more than 1 year in advance.
- Monserrate imposes and dictates many restrictions for your wedding.
- The chapel might be too small if you have many people attending the ceremony there.
- Kids are not allowed in the music room during the reception.
Pena Palace emerges as the runner-up not because it is any less beautiful, but because it is just way too crowded. The moment I laid eyes on the one-of-a-kind colorful grand palace, my heart diverged for a few seconds. My jaw dropped when I took my first photo of it. Call me exagerated but I dare say no one can possibly not feel the same way.
The problem is this: 25% of the palace tour onwards was a slow moving queue you can barely skip; even if the person in front was just standing there like a lemon, you wait for the lemon to move before you can too. Back-to-back it was like so. Should you give Pena a miss though? Would you?
- You will have tourists checking out your wedding from a certain distance.
- Wedding photography anywhere other than the enclosed area will be tricky, with tourists scattered around.
- Ceremony is usually done outdoors where there is zero shade.
- Reception is usually done indoors because it gets really cold at night.
As advised earlier, it is wiser to dine out of Sintra where it is too touristy. É took me for an incredibly tasty lunch of Filetes de Peixe (fish fillets) and Costoletas (grilled black pig pork chops) at Adega das Azenhas – highly recommended! If you are a big eater, try ordering their fish soup as starters.
Adega das Azenhas
Address: R. do Pinhal 1-3, 2705-096 Colares, Sintra, Portugal.
Hours: 12 – 3 p.m. and 7 – 10 p.m. everyday except Thursdays.
Contact: +351 21 928 1357
SETEAIS QUINTA DA REGALEIRA
Our first stop was actually Seteis to check it out as a wedding venue option. If you are not considering this venue (shown above) at all because of the reasons below, go to Quinta da Regaleira, which I missed. No matter what you do, you CAN NOT miss out the Initiation Wells here, spiralling 27 meters down!
- You have to book the entire palace and book out the rooms.
- That said, a very expensive wedding.
- However, you can choose to just do the ceremony here and bring the reception to another location; which will make it more affordable.
PALÁCIO NATIONAL DE SINTRA
It is not hard to guess by the name that this is the National Palace of Sintra, easily located in the centre. A must-see, whether you like it or not, this palace is very close to our next location:
Piriquita II for Queijada de Sintra
The ONE thing you must eat and can only find in Sintra is Queijada, this little cheesecake. É and I had a couple and we were very happy with the find. Get a box from the best bakery in town that is:
Address: R. das Padarias 18, 2710-533 Sintra, Portugal.
Hours: Open today · 8.30 a.m. – 8 p.m. everyday except Tuesdays.
Phone: +351 21 923 1595
If This Was A Fairytale fashion post here.