Portugal Palaces and Coast Walk

Portugal Palaces and Coast Walk

Trip Highlights

  • Discover the unique and historic town of Sintra
  • Exploring Sintra's decorative and flamboyant palaces, mansions and gardens
  • Visiting the most popular summer residence for the families of Portuguese rulers and noblemen
  • Walking through fields, vineyards and forested hills to the rugged and dramatic coastline with its pretty fishing villages
  • Enjoying easy walks along coastal trails

Trip Summary

Set amidst the pine-blanketed hills of the Serra de Sintra, Sintra has been plucked straight from a book of fairytales. Explore the former summer residences of the nobility of Portugal and its impressive Manor houses and national monuments over the course of a week. Arriving in Sintra, discover this unique and historic town, which punches well above its weight in terms of historic monuments and tourist attractions. Its elaborate 19th century design style was inspired by the mysticism of ancient cultures, and is Europe's finest example of the whimsical and colourful Romanticism architecture. Take your time exploring Sintra's decorative and flamboyant palaces, mansions and gardens, including the Palácio da Peno, Castelo de Mouro, the Palacio Nacional and hidden gems like the Arabic-inspired Palacio de Monserrate. Leave the crowds behind and transfer to a 16th century Franciscan monastery, which you'll have the opportunity to view before setting off on a walk through the mystical Mediterranean woodlands to Azoia. Traverse fields, vineyards and the forested hills of the Parque Natural de Sintra-Cascais to the rugged and dramatic coastline, which is dotted with pretty fishing villages, glorious sandy beaches, interesting rock formations including the "Boca do Inferno" (Hell's Mouth) and the most westerly point of mainland Europe, the "Cabo da Roca", whose raw beauty, epitomised by raging seas and wind-blasted cliffs, makes it a memorable detour to top off a week of diversity.

Suitability

INTRODUCTORY TO MODERATE – GRADE 2

This is a self guided walk with average daily stages of 4.5 to 17.5km (3-5hrs excluding breaks). The trip is graded introductory to moderate as it is on hilly to mountainous areas using well kept, sometimes stony paths. The use of walking sticks is optional. A reasonable level of fitness is required. As with all of our trips it is important that you are well prepared. We suggest that you undertake regular exercise – swimming, cycling, and jogging, two to three times a week for three months prior to your departure.

Itinerary

Make your own way to Sintra and your hotel, located just outside Sintra’s town centre. Sintra is a picturesque town in the pine-covered hills of the Serra de Sintra. In 1995, UNESCO classified the area a World Heritage Cultural Landscape, the first to receive this category in Europe. Overnight Sintra.

Meals:  Nil

Your walking tour today takes in the three most prominent monuments of Sintra: Castelo de Mouro (Castle of the Moors), Palacio da Pena and the Palacio Nacional. To start, there's a steep ascent to the Moorish castle and the colourful palace of King Ferdinand, followed by a walk in the vast palace grounds. You then descend steeply and continue via Vila Sasseti to the town centre of Sintra, where you'll find the Palacio Nacional, the main residence of Portugal's royal nobility from the 15th to the 19th centuries. Overnight in Sintra. Distance: 9km/5.5mi, +475m -475m

Meals:  B

Today you leave the crowds behind, with a transfer to the Convento dos Capuchos, a classic example of an austere 16th-century Franciscan monastery which you can visit before heading off for your walk. The walking route leads you through mystical Mediterranean woodlands, past hillside menhirs and the shrine dedicated to the Virgin Mary of Peninha. You then descend to Azoia and take the bus back to Sintra and your hotel. Distance: 11.5 km/7 mi, +425m -500m

Meals:  B

In the 19th and early 20th centuries a Romantic wind blowing through Europe was strongly felt in Sintra. Within a few square kilometres you will find extravagant palaces and mansions built by nobles and wealthy merchants, most of which are still occupied or in use as luxury hotels, many of which you can visit. Overnight in Sintra. Distance 4.5-7km/2.8-3.4mi

Meals:  B

Today you leave the wealth and romance of Sintra behind as you walk north through fields, vineyards and pine forests toward the rugged coast. In the pretty fishing village of Azenha do Mar, you pick up the GR11 trail and follow it south to your beachfront hotel on the "Praia Grande" in Colares. Distance 15km/9mi, +225 m -485m

Meals:  B

From your hotel you follow the long-distance walking path, the GR11 "Costa Atlantica", heading south along fishermen’s trails towards the village of Ulgueira. There are beautiful views of the Cabo de Roca - the westernmost point of the European continent - and nice sandy beaches along the way. After a drink or ice cream in Ulgeira, you return to Praia Grande and your hotel via a different route which passes through the authentic village of Almoçageme. Distance: 11.3 or 12.6km/7.8mi, +575m -575m

Meals:  B

Your last walking day begins with a transfer to Azoia, where you pick up the GR11 and follow it along the coast to the 17th-century fortress of "Fortaleza de Guincho", now a luxury hotel, with views over Praia do Guincho. You can stop off part way (after 8 km and approximately 2.5-3 hrs walking) and take the bus directly to Cascais, or walk an additional 9.5 km all the way to your hotel (footpath between the road and beach). Overnight in Cascais. Distance: 8 or 17.5km/5 or 11mi, +175 -375m or +275m -475m

Meals:  B

Your trip concludes after breakfast. You can travel back to Lisbon by public transport (one hour) or by private transfer - please ask for our rates.

Meals:  B

What's Included

  • 7 breakfasts - breakfasts will be buffet style
  • 7 nights in 2-3 star hotels on a twin share basis with ensuite facilities
  • Luggage transfers on days 5 and 7
  • Information pack including route notes and maps per room booked
  • Emergency hotline
  • Private transfers on day 3 (Sintra to Convento dos Capuchos) and 7 (Praia Grande to Azoia)

What's Not Included

  • Lunches, dinners and drinks
  • Travel to Sintra and from Cascais
  • Entrance fees
  • Items of a personal nature
  • Travel insurance

Upcoming Travel Dates

AT A GLANCE

Duration:8 Days
Countries:Portugal
Starting Point:Sintra
Finishing Point:Cascais
Activities:SELF GUIDED WALK
Grade:introductory to moderate  Click for more information
Trip Code:UPP
Prices From:GBP£655 Per Person
single supplement - low season:GBP£230  Click for more information
single supplement - mid season:GBP£310  Click for more information
single supplement - high season:GBP£340  Click for more information
Single traveller supplement - low season:GBP£290  Click for more information
Single traveller supplement - mid season:GBP£370  Click for more information
Single traveller supplement - high season:GBP£400  Click for more information
Please do not book any flights or extra arrangements until such time that your booking is confirmed by Sherpa Expeditions by phone or email.