The hill town of Sintra stays a little cooler than the city in the summer months, so it’s been royal vacation destination for centuries—and has the castles to prove it. The Pena Palace (which has a German vibe, architecturally) gets a lot of attention for its bright pink and yellow exterior and hilltop location, but it’s worth going inside, as the interior is equally (if not more) dramatic. It’s also worth buying a ticket to the National Palace—style-wise it’s a hodgepodge, since it was inhabited by so many different royals over the years, but the intricate tile work on the walls is like nothing else. Sintra is only a forty-minute drive from Lisbon, so it’s an easy day trip, but there are more than a few hotels that are worth checking out if you want to spend the night. Lawrence’s Hotel is a darling bed and breakfast with incredible views from each room, and Tivoli Palacio is a full-fledged palace that’s been renovated into a luxury hotel, complete with a dream-worthy pool deck. Whether you come for the day or make a weekend out of it, we recommend buying the bus pass that takes you around to each castle—it’s a hop-on-hop-off shuttle that makes the entire experience incredibly easy. Photos: Daniel GB

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