3 Magnificent Destinations in Western Portugal

Another guest post written by David Henderson, an avid traveler who has been all over Europe, seeking the most unforgettable experiences at every turn. His favourite season to travel is winter and he's an expert when it comes to pre-travel prep and packing. 

It's not an exaggeration when we say that Portugal is a blessed country with natural and intrinsic beauty. The incredible landscape of the country combined with its Mediterranean climate turns it into a superb destination for any traveller looking for all this indescribable beauty of the sea and the sun. Throughout it, one can locate places and points on its map that will surely leave you breathless. But today with this article, we will present you the three not so famous regions of Portugal that deserve your attention. You can also call them well-hidden diamonds if you will.

So our trip includes three destinations from the western part of the country, which consist of Sintra, Campo da Roca and Cascais to get the information you probably need to travel like local folk in the country.

Sintra: the first centre of European Romantic architecture

Sintra is about 45 minutes by train from Lisbon, and the routes are relatively frequent. The municipality of Sintra is the second largest in Portugal in terms of population, after Lisbon.

The city is a UNESCO World Heritage Site due to its 19th-century architecture and is a significant tourist attraction. During the 19th century, the town of Sintra became the first centre of European Romantic architecture. Elegant houses are also built in the same way in the surrounding area, so he created a unique combination of parks and gardens that influenced the evolution of "landscape architecture" throughout Europe.

The highest altitude attraction is the Palacio da, Pena. It is located literally in the Parque da Pena forest. The forest is beautiful, full of local and exotic trees. Ferdinand II commissioned for planting the trees in the forest in 1869, to create a place where he and his secret mistress would spend their time away from the indiscreet looks of other people.

About 10 minutes walk down from da Pena forest, is Castelo dos Mouros, the castle built by the Moors when they dominated the area.

Quinta da Regaleira is a trendy tourist spot in Sintra. The architecture of the palace is reminiscent of Roman architectural style, but also the Gothic and Renaissance times. It was renovated in 1904 and finished in 1910.

The old town has beautiful buildings such as the City Hall, the post office and the Museum of the Region. Most visit the Palacio Nacional de Sintra located in the heart of Sintra Villa (Old Town). The building stands out from afar due to its two strange, conical, white chimneys.

Book your hotel in Sintra here.

The Cape of Cabo da Roca

Cabo da Roca is a cape that forms the westernmost part of Portugal and mainland Europe, west of Lisbon. The Portuguese poet Luis de Camoes describes Cape Cabo da Roca as the place "where the land ends and the sea begins" since America had not been discovered at that time.

The existing rocks are over 100 meters high while the various stones in the area are of rich geological importance. The vegetation is adapted to the saltwater and the prevailing stormy conditions. The area is home to some migratory birds that nest temporarily in the protected coves of the coastal zone. At the top of Cabo da Roca are the ruins of a 16th-century castle that served as Portugal's naval defense. In its main building, today is a lighthouse dating from the late 18th century.

Visiting Spain? Read about how to plan your itinerary.

The beautiful Cascais in the arms of the Atlantic

Cascais is a small coastal town on the coast of Estoril in the greater Lisbon area. Here was the holiday home of the former royal family and is playing one of the most critical parts in Portuguese tourism. It is a gorgeous area worth visiting for its historic centre, which is full of architectural treasures.

The imposing Cidadela fortress is mostly known for its striking architecture but also known for its small museums such as the Museum of the Sea, the Casa das Historias de Paula Rego and the Municipal Museum of Condes de Castro Guimaraes.

Stop for a meal at local restaurants and discover thousands of small culinary delights, mainly fish and seafood, as Portugal consumes more fish per capita - primarily cod - than in any other European country.

Near the train station, there is a beach with soft sand and turquoise waters where you can swim. A strictly touristy place in the Atlantic with lovely stylish shops. It offers peace and quiet for anyone looking for it. An ideal way to get around the city of Cascais and its surroundings is by a car. And since you may not have your own vehicle with you, you will be led to the option of renting a car. So if you are looking for car hire in the city of Cascais, Enjoy Travel will provide you with a massive range of vehicles for every need and every budget, to get the comfort and convenience you'll probably need.

Click here to book your hotel in Cascais.


11 thoughts on “3 Magnificent Destinations in Western Portugal”

  1. We spent 4 weeks in Portugal and would gladly go back. Even in 4 weeks we missed key spots like Sintra. We travelled along the Atlantic coast when we were in the Algarve but am not sure we visited Cabo da Roca. Definitely a spot we would add to our list on a return visit.

  2. Wow, there is so much of Portugal that we really need to explore. I have only been to Lisbon and spent some time in Oporto. But I have to say when we return I really want to explore Sintra first and foremost. Also, Cascais looks absolutely amazing. What a beautiful area along the coast with the Citadel and all the historic landmarks.

  3. Though I havent been to Portugal yet, this post makes me want to pack my bags and go explore Sinatra. While I’m not that much into history and architecture, and more into outdoors, what makes me happy is that, Sinatra is an attractive destination for Outdoorsy people as well. I would love to take a stroll in the Parque de Pena forest for sure, and the Cape of Cabo da Roca, looks so Instagrammable.

  4. Sintra would have been my first choice for sure – especially with all those UNESCO heritage sites. But I did not expect Cascais to be so pretty. I like what I have read and it has got me researching more. Thanks for adding this to my list.

  5. I like the yellow palace in Sintra a lot because yellow is my favorite color. But this is the first time I read about Cabo da Roca. It looks mysterious and promising new things in a distance. No wonder they described it as “where the land ends and the sea begins”.

  6. Portugal is one of my favorite countries in Europe, and possibly the world. I did the Caminho Portugues last year where I walked from Porto to Spain. Although I only saw a small part of Portugal, I fell in love with it. I’d really love to visit again and see other parts of the country. I think I’d enjoy Sintra and Lisbon, but I’ll check out the other places you listed here as well.

  7. What a fantastic post, so informative! I was only in Lisbon, so far. But the rest of Portugal is still on my bucket list. I would love to visit Cascais, photograph Cabo da Roca. And of course, visit Sintra, the first center of European Romantic architecture.

  8. Portugal is one of my favorite countries to visit especially because of its mind-blowing destinations. I agree that this list of the 3 best places on the west coast of Portugal is one of the best. You can never go wrong with Sintra. Those colorful, architecturally-rich castles will enrapture any traveler. And of course, Cabo da Roca being the westernmost point of European mainland has a special appeal too.

  9. I must put the Cape of Cabo da Roca on my list when traveling near Portugal. That view reminds me of a mix between Bali and Hawaii, two of the most beautiful sea landscapes on earth in my opinion! Thanks for sharing!

  10. I love Portugal and the places you have chosen look amazing. Well, I have done Sintra and that was an amazing day out from Lisbon. I love walking around the Moorish castle and checking out the beautiful decor inside the Pena Palace, will never forget that day. Would love to check out the other two places and as a geography nerd, the Western point of mainland Europe has to be done. 🙂

  11. Sintra is absolutely one of the favourite places I’ve visited in my travels; thanks so much for highlighting this fairy tale castle and UNESCO site. I also got to visit Cascais, and it’s so underrated in my opinion. I didn’t get to visit the Cabo da Roca but that gives me motivation to return to a beautiful part of Portugal.

Comments are closed.