A Fairytale in Sintra

Cocukken duydugunuz, dinlerken hayaller kurdugunuz fakat buyudugunuzde gercekligini ve masumiyetini kaybettigini dusundugunuz masallarin hala gercek olabilecegini soylesem bana inanir miydiniz ? Cocuklugunuza geri donmek istemez miydiniz ? Cevabinizin “evet” oldugunu duyar gibiyim. O zaman sizleri benimle Lizbon’a sadece 60 km uzakliktaki masal diyari Sintra’ya, kucuk bir yolculuga davet ediyorum.

When you were a little kid you probably heard, read and dreamt of fairy tales. Then you grow up and they all lost their realities. Would you believe me if I said that all those fairy tales you heard of and dreamt of can still come true? Is your answer “yes”? Then I’m inviting you on a little trip to Sintra, a fairyland 60 km west of Lisbon. Where with just a 55 minute train ride from Rossio station, you’re able to travel back several centuries in time.


Gunumuzden birkac yuzyil oncesine yaptigimiz yolculugumuz Rossio garindan bindigimiz tren ile sadece 55 dakika surmustu. Kendimizi trenden inip, platformda buldugumuzda, modern hayatin izlerini buram buram tasiyan bizim gibi bir vagon dolusu insanla yolculuk etmis olmamiza ragmen, Sintra’nin renkli ve bir o kadarda nefes kesen atmosferi aslinda bambaska bir dunyaya ayak bastigimizi aninda yuzumuze carpti. Lizbon’un bizde biraktigi izleri  ayak bastigimiz platformda birakmistik bile ve masalin icinde kaybolmak icin sabirsizlaniyorduk.

With the train we got on from Rossio station, it took just 55 minutes to travel back several centuries. After being temped by the modern-day distractions on the train, upon arrival in Sintra, I felt like I had stepped into another world after laying eyes on the pastel-colored and breath-taking scenery of Sintra. At that moment, all traces of Lisbon had disappeared and we were champing at the bit to lose ourselves in the fairy tale of Sintra. DSC_0093

Asirlar boyunca Sintra, yamaclarina kondurulmus her biri birbirinden “evlerinde”, nefes kesen manzarasiyla ve dogasiyla Portekiz aristoklarina Lizbon’un kalabalik havasindan kacip derin bir nefes alma imkani sagliyor. Her sey zaten guzel, hos fakat Portekiz Krali 2.Ferdinand buraya bir “yazlik evi” yaptirarak tam da o masal kitaplarinda ya da sadece Disneyland’a gorebileceginiz masalsi gorunume bir de fantastik bir hava kazandiriyor. Sehrin en yuksek tepesine konumlanmis Pena Palace Sintra’nin en gorulesi yeri. Hava durumu bakimindan sansliysaniz bulutlarin uzerinden sehri gorebilir, dev ejdarhanin gelip kendini bir cirpida penceleyek kurtarmasini bekleyen prenses gibi hissedebilirsiniz. Ya da kisacasi Alice Harikalar Diyari’na hosgeldiniz:)

For centuries, thanks to its breath-taking nature and serenity, Sintra served as the favorite hideaway for the Portuguese royal family and aristocrats by providing them with an escape from Lisbon’s city air.  Everything in Sintra was already beautiful and magical, but it wasn’t until the arrival of Ferdinand II, the King of Portugal, in the mid-1800s and the construction of his elaborate “vacation home,” that the entire region transformed into a fairy tale, the kind of picturesque fairy tale that we can see in a little girl’s storybook or at Disneyland. As you can imagine, Pena Palace is the top sight in Sintra. If you’re lucky enough to see the city with a bird’s-eye-view over the clouds, you might picture yourself as a princess who is waiting for a dragon to come and save you, or you can maybe think to yourself as Alice in Wonderland:)





Emin olun Pena Palace sadece bir baslangicti. Lord Byron Sintra’yi “tanri’nin gorkemli bahcesi” diye tanimlarken hic de haksiz degilmiş. Sarayin hemen asagisinda sizleri oldukca mistik, filmlerde ya da kitaplarda gorebileceginiz gizemlilikte ve guzellikte bir bahce karsiliyor; Quinta da Regaleira. Kapisindan iceriye adiminizi atar atmaz mitolojik heykellerle gozlerim kayiyor bir binadan digerine giriyorum ve en sonunda kendimi gizemli bahcenin tam ortasinda buluyorum. Zaten buranin en etkileyici kismi da kaybolmaktan fazlasiyla zevk alacaginiz bahceleri. Patika yollari takip ettim, tirtillara, boceklere, yeni acmis kamelyalara, peri kizi heykellerine, bu atmosfere gerceklik katan kurbaga seslerine, kucuk zambak gollerine rastladim. Buranin oyle bir havasi var ki sanki yoluma cikan o heykeller gun bitip gece olunca birden bire canlaniyor. Bu his beni daha da cezbediyor ve sizi de bu duyguya ortak etmek istiyorum.

Be sure that Pena Palace was just the beginning of all those beauties you’ll see. I think he was absolutely right when Lord Byron declared Sintra a ” glorious Eden”. Just down from the palace a mystical garden will welcome you.  This is a kind of place, again, that you can see in a fantastic film or read about in a book. As soon as you step into Quinta da Regaleira, with its façade of towers, turrets and finials carved with mythological creatures, you will be enchanted. During my visit, I’m entering from one palatial to another and finally i am loosing myself in the middle of the garden. To me, the most fascinating part of the palace was its gardens were I found myself between fantasy and real life. I followed footpaths, came across sculptures of lions and dreamy nymphs, caterpillars, little water lily lakes and heard frogs… This place has such a different ambience that suddenly it makes you feel as if all those statues come alive at midnight. Then, here, I want to invite you share this feeling with me. 









Gelelim Sintra’nin en gercekci yapisina. Arap muslumanlarin hakim oldugu Sintra, 8. ve 9. yuzyillari arasinda Ispanya Leon bolgesinin krali 6. Alfonso fethiyler ve kalenin ve sehrin yonetimini Kordoba halifesinin elinden alir. Kalenin icinde Islamiyet doneminin izlerini tasiyan kalintilari hala gormeniz mumkun. Ayrica Pena Sarayi’ni hatri sayilir bir yukseklikten tam karsiniza alarak manzaranin keyfini cikarmaniz da cabasi. Kendinizi bu keyfe fazlasiyla kaptirip deklansore basmayi da unutmayin, benden soylemesi.

Moorish Castle is the most realistic place you can see in this fairyland. Until the 9th century, the king of Léon Alfonso VI took the land from the hands of Caliphate of Cordoba, the Arabs that were ruling the city at the time. Even today, it’s possible to see the remains of the Muslim community that was living inside the castle. Also this place gives you an amazing opportunity to meet with the eyes of Pena Palace. Enjoy the view but at that moment don’t forget to click the shutter of your camera. 


National Palace, kendinizi arabesk bir yapida gezerken birden bire modernitenin icinde bulabileceginiz nadir zenginlikteki yerlerden bir tanesi. Dev sampanya siselerini andiran, koni seklindeki bacalari, Sintra’nin merkezine adim attiginiz ilk andan itibaren dikkanizi cekiyor. Sarayin pencerelerinden sizan isik sizleri ister istermez o yone dogru cekiyor ve Sintra’nin yesille boyanmis arka planindaki pastel renklerine bir kez daha hayran kaliyorsunuz.

Thanks to the mixture of the Moorish and Manueline styles, National Palace is one of the most unique places that allows you to pass through Arabesque courtyards into modern rooms. Cone-shaped chimneys that look like giant champagne bottles are one of the first things that will draw your attention when you enter the city-centre. The light that shines through the windows will unintentionally make you move in its direction and you will again admire the view in front of you; the pastel colours painted on a green background… 




Pratik Bilgiler:

1- Ayaginizda saatlerce yurumeye dayanabilecek ayakkabilar olmali, yoksa Sintra’nin yesil tepeleri birden bire cehenneme donusebilir sizler icin.

2-Gider gitmez hemen meydandaki Turizm Ofisine ugramayi unutmayin; tum gezilecek yerler icin kombine bilet aldiginizda cok daha ucuz.

3-Menusu 5 dile cevrilmis restorantlardan olabildigince uzak durun.

4-Eger vaktiniz varsa bir gece kalin ve Pena Palace ‘i sabah erkenden, yogun turist kafilesiyle karsilasmadan ziyaret etme sansini yakalayin yoksa fotograf cekecek bir nokta dahil bulamayabilirsiniz.

Practical Information: 

1- Wear walking friendly shoes. Otherwise the cute green slopes of Sintra will suddenly turn out to be hell for you. 

2-As soon as you arrive go to the Tourism Office and buy a combined ticket that includes almost every must-have places to visit.

3- Stay away from the restaurants that have five different languages in their menus. 

4- If you have time, please stay one night! I’m sure you’re going to enjoy your visit to Pena Palace, but I recommend going early in the morning before the mass tourist invasion. 

Nerede kalmali? 

Sintra, her ne kadar kucuk bir yer gibi gorunse de ve bir cok kisi Lizbon’a yakinligindan dolayi gunubirlik gelmeyi tercih etsede, eger vaktiniz varsa, her yeri sindire sindire, yasayarak gezmek ve sehri bir de yildizlarin altindan gormek icin bir gece konaklamanizi oneririm. Saatler gecip, aksam olup, tum turistler ayrildiktan sonra sehir bambaska bir hal alacak, goreceksiniz. Bir cok hotel seceneginizin olmasina ragmen sizlere iki ozel adres onerecegim. Eger romantik bir peri masali yasamak isterseniz onerebilecegim en guzel yer Tivoli Palacio de Setais, yok ben renklilikten biraz da eglenceden yanayim, yeni insanlarla tanisip gunun yorgunlugunu bahcede biram elimde yayilarak gecireyim diyorsaniz da  Alice Harikalar Diyarin’in Sintra versiyonu, yani  Nice Way Sintra Palace tam sizlik.

Where to stay ? 

Although Sintra is a small town and many people prefer to visit as a day-trip since it’s so close from Lisbon, I highly suggest you spend one night to be able to discover more of the town and see it under the stars.  At night, you will see how enjoyable the town can be after the departure of all daily tourists. You have lots of hotel options in Sintra but I’m going to recommend two really special ones. If you want to experience a romantic fairy tale Tivoli Palacio de Setais is the perfect address. If you are an Alice in Wonderland kind of person, like to meet new people and want to unwind after a long day with a beer in the garden, Nice Way Sintra Palace is the perfect address for you. 


A snapshot from Tivoli Palacio de Setais

Nerede, ne yemeli ? 

Sintra geleneksel portekiz yemeklerinden cok iki cesit tatlisiyla unlu. Bunlardan birisi cheesecake e birazda olsa benzeyen unlu Queijadas digeri ise citir citir badem kremasiyla doldurulmus milfoyle yapilan le travesseiro. Queijadas yiyebileceginiz en guzel mekan 1756 yilindan beri hizmet veren Fábrica das Verdadeiras Queijadas da Sapa (adres: Alameda Volta do Duche 12), le travesseiro nun adresi ise La Casa Piriquita (adres: Rua das Padarias 1-5) iceri girdiginize bara yonelin, garsona sihirli sozcugu soyleyin sizi kesinlikle anlayacaktir ve kisa ama sihirli anin tadini cikartin. Anlayacaginiz Sintra’dan zevk almanin yolu kalorinin varligini unutmaktan geciyor.

Where to eat, what to eat ? 

Sintra is famous for two kinds of patisseries: the first, Queijadas, which reminds me of cheesecake and the second, le travesseiro, is filled with delicious almond cream. The best place you can grab Queijadas is Fábrica das Verdadeiras Queijadas da Sapa (address: Alameda Volta do Duche 12), which has been around since 1756. To get the best le travesseiro I suggest going to La Casa Piriquita (address: Rua das Padarias 1-5) and settle yourself in at the bar, tell the secret word to the server and enjoy this magical really short moment.  As you understand, to enjoy Sintra you need to forget about calories. This is the only way!

Pics by me and JB

Forever21 playsuit / Local boutique in St Jean de Luz, France Hat / Céline shades

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