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A Weekend In the Fairytale Town of Sintra

August 17, 2017

If you loved fairytales growing up, there’s a place in Portugal that’s perfect for you. Sintra, sitting in the mountains just a 20 minute drive from Lisbon, has six major castles and dozens of royal retreats and estates. The entire region is a World Heritage Site, so history lovers will enjoy it too.

sintra mountains portugal

I visited Sintra in June when one of my best friends got married there. Let’s talk about that for a moment.

sintra wedding photography

Ballesteros Photography

It was the most beautiful wedding I’ve ever been to, and maybe the most beautiful I’ll ever attend. Brianna and Vince were married in the ruins of Monserrate Palace in a short but oh so sweet ceremony. After, we walked the palace grounds.

monserratte palace grounds sintra

destination wedding planner

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Planning a wedding? Hire Jenni (above) of Jenni Grubba Events! 

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For the days surrounding the wedding we stayed in The Quinta, a beautiful old estate outside of town. It was perfect for hosting the wedding party as we could all stay up late together, get ready together, eat breakfast together, and still have our own rooms and space. The reception was held here too.

wedding la quinta sintra portugal

The wedding and other events ran so smoothly and the entire week was picturesque, and that’s largely because of Jenni Grubba Events. If you’re planning a wedding anywhere in the world, Jenni is your girl. From coordinating dozens of traveling guests to organizing castle excursions to making sure the decorations were perfect and ensuring everyone always had wine, Jenni was on top of it . I’ve attended numerous other weddings she’s planned, and can tell you this was not the exception. She always exceeds expectations and does it all with a gorgeous smile, even when I’m sure she’s stressed. If you don’t believe me check out her reviews. (They’re amazing!)

downtown Sintra portugal where to stay in sintra best pastel de nata sintra

Pastel de Nata, an eggy custard tart, is my new favorite breakfast. 

Since we were at The Quinta for four days, we had some time to explore the colorful downtown of Sintra. It’s touristy and there isn’t tons to do, but it’s still cute to walk around. Make sure to try Pastel de Nata at Pasteleria Gregorio. (Dom Cafe and Casa Piriquita were also good).

pena palace portugal

The castles are the highlight of Sintra.  Most are outside of the city, but you can take buses, taxis, or Uber. Pena Palace reminded me of a Disney castle.

You could see the main sights of Sintra in a day or two, but if you have a third day to spare, there are some beautiful beaches nearby where you could easily spend more time.

The day after the wedding Nathan and I recovered at Adraga Beach. Our Ryan Gosling and Emma Stone moves need some practice… (Press play above!)

Brianna, Vince, Jenni, and Dan and Kari of Ballesteros Photography showed up to take more photos later. Look how gorgeous these are! Dan and Kari were incredible the entire week. Not only are they wonderful photographer/videographers, but also the sweetest people. Hanging out with them for the week was so much fun. They’re based in California, but happy to travel. (And again, glowing reviews).

If you visit Lisbon, I cannot stress enough how worth it it is to take a side trip to Sintra, even if you can only go for a day. Don’t forget to share your photos with me on Instagram using #carryontravels – I can’t wait to see and share them!

best day trip portugal

P.S. After Sintra, we went on the best two-week road trip around Portugal. I think it’s my favorite trip of 2017 so far. Read all about it here.

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