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Day Trips and Excursions from Lisbon
Queluz Palace: An excursion 9 1/2 miles from Lisbon. This is the "prettiest pink palace in the world" as well as the most important and charming example of Rococo architecture in Portugal. It's an 18th century work described as Portugal's Versailles. Essentially, it's a palace of faded pink walls with very rich interiors looking out over beautiful gardens and ponds. It was originally an old hunting lodge, which came into the royal family in 1654. It suffered greatly during the French invasion and a fire swept over the palace in 1934. It has now been lovingly restored. See the Glassy Throhe Room and the dressing room of the Queen. Walk through the gardens. Daily except Thu 10-5.

Sintra: One of the oldest and most beautiful towns in Portugal... perched high in the hills and dubbed by Lord Byron as "glorious Eden". It is such a fairytale setting that one "gets the feeling that this is where Sleeping Beauty must have rested all those years". The National Palace was constructed from 1385 to 1521, was a royal palace until 1910. Royalty spent their summers here. Notice the Moslem influence and the painted tiles throughout which are considered the finest in Portugal. Most visitors like the Stag Room best. See also, the Room of the Mermaids, and the old kitchen. (Daily except Tue 10-5). The Palace Of Pena - often called the most romantic and scenic spot in Portugal. The palace was built on a high peak about 1500 feet up, overlooking the Moorish castle on the opposite hill. The National Geographic Magazine labeled Pena Palace a "soaring conglomeration of towers, cupolas, and battlemented walls". It truly is a fantasy in the sky. One does wonder how it could have been built there. Although critics say the interior of the palace is lacking in taste, it's quite fascinating, as it's been left totally intact, just as the last residents left it in 1910. This writer found Pena Palace one of the most interesting visits because the palace tends to be "modern" by most standards... and because one "feels" the true presence of the last occupants. Sintra is about 17 1/2 miles from Lisbon.

Mafra: An enormous convent... church... ibrary.

Ericeira: Fishing village and seaside resort.

Cascais: The town of fishermen and of kings. Beautiful and sheltered bay and gaily painted fishing boats... very picturesque and quaint. A resort for the rich.

Estoril: Cosmopolitan Resort - villas of millionaires and of Kings... and the largest casino in Europe.

Monsarag: Small, quaint village on top of a hill.

Obidos: Enchanting medieval walled town, with whitewashed houses. Turreted towers and ramparts dominate the hilltop. Considered one of the most unspoiled villages in Europe. 59 miles from Lisbon (2 1/2 hrs).

Alcobaca: A quiet provincial town with narrow streets, open-air markets, and a magnificent 12th century monastery. Here the "Romeo and Juliet" of Portuguese history (Dom Pedro and his murdered mistress Inez de Castro) lie in tombs facing each other. The story: Pedro's father had secretly had Inez murdered. Pedro kept quiet until he became king. He then sought revenge by ripping out the hearts of the murderers and exhuming Inez's body, placing it on a throne by his own - and then forcing his court to pay homage to her as his queen, by kissing her hand.

Nazare: Fishing village where the people wear colorful dress. The lower village is known as Praia and the upper village is called Sitio. One can reach the top by funicular for a spectacular view.

Fatima: This is a world famous center for pilgrimages celebrating the 1917 apparitions of the Virgin Mary. The faithful flock here. For those who are not quite so faithful, the commercialization of religion can be a complete turn off.

Batalha: Has a spectacular 14th century monastery - one of the greatest masterpieces in Portugal. The naves and the Octagonal Chapel are to be explored.

Evora: An ancient walled capital of great architectural interest, with remains from almost every age. It is a living museum... noted especially for its Corinthian-style Temple of Diana from the 2nd century AD. See the Chapel of the Bones in the Royal Church of St. Francis, and the 14th century Ducal Palace, and the 12th century Se Cathedral.

Setubal: A busy fishing port... 16th/17th c.churches. Castle St. Filipe.
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Author of this article is Gene Gill. For more information visit his website: Gene Gill Miniatures.
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