In the historic town of Sintra, discover the Quinta da Regaleira, a romantic palace and park with an abundance of secret tunnels, grottos, fountains and floral displays that will move even the most cynical of souls.
The palace was completed in 1910 by Italian Luigi Manini for the Barons of Regaleira, rich merchants from Porto. It is believed to have symbols of alchemy, masonry and the Knights Templar hidden among its four hectares.
While in Sintra, also enjoy the best seafood around — from sea to plate within hours. Adventurous eaters can indulge in a goose barnacle or two, which is a local delicacy.
In the former fishing village of Cascais, you’ll find beautiful beaches loved by sailors, surfers and the Portuguese royal family in the late 19th century. Guincho Beach to the west is the most popular.
If you prefer the high life, the Estoril Casino – one of the largest in Europe – will provide it. The adjacent Hotel Palacio was the setting for the movie “On Her Majesty’s Secret Service.” Another option is to visit the Paula Rego museum and enjoy the work of Portugal’s most famous living artist.
As you drive north from Lisbon, the medieval city of Óbidos, Latin for citadel, emerges 80 meters high.
Roman, Moorish and Portuguese rulers have taken advantage of this walled city over the centuries. A wedding present from King Dinis to Queen Isobel in 1282, it’s one of Europe’s most romantic medieval villages and has winding cobblestone streets and ancient squares. Relax and enjoy Ginginha, a sweet cherry brandy liqueur, before resting in the castle’s hotel.
Before 1916, Fatima was a small rural village known for its olive oil production. But when three local children witnessed a series of apparitions -- a lady dressed in white making proclamations -- this quiet village transformed into a Catholic shrine overnight.
The “lady” appeared on the same day for five months. On the final day, 70,000 people witnessed her appearance. Today, many Christian pilgrims still travel to the site. Even if you’re not seeking a religious experience, the city offers many attractions, from its pristine neoclassical basilica to the Berlin Wall monument that includes a 5,732-pound piece of the wall.