If I could build my own castle, it would look like this.

Sintra | Portugal

[SINTRA, PORTUGAL] — Sintra is not just a single town, but an entire wooded (unusually so in these arid parts) nature preserve about an hour and a half outside of Lisbon. Definitely well worth the drive and easy to find — the roads and signs in Portugal are outstanding.  Plan a half a day, at least, to make the loop through the forest and the half dozen towns and castles and sites within the preserve. From Moor forts (damn Moors were everywhere!) to ornate castles to other follies; the sites are mind-blowing. The must-see is the Castelo da Pena featured a lot in these pics. You can stop and have a nice tourist-clogged lunch in Sintra before heading out and a nice castle there, too. I only saw half the mix with the half day there, so if you have some time, explore more. It’s in all the guidebooks and well worth the trip, a definite must-see. You Should Go Here.

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Definitely walk down the hill to the water follies and mini-castles below Pena. Really a gorgeous setting, shady and a great place to bring a lunch. Hardly anyone knows it’s hidden in plain site there.

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