We started out in the gorgeous town of Sintra, a town that lies 25km west of Lisbon. It is a UNESCO World Heritage Site on account of its 19th century Romantic architecture. We visited the Parque y Palacio de la Pena where we saw Travelworld’s logo made out of gold!! Had to take a picture of it.
The Pena Palace is a Romanticist castle that stands on top of a hill overlooking the town of Sintra. It’s a national monument and one of the Seven Wonders of Portugal. Later we stopped by to see “Jeromes Monastery” (Monastery of Hieronymites), a known UNESCO World Heritage Site (along with the nearby Tower of Belem). It represents Portugal’s “glory days” dating back to the 16th century.
The next day we had a tour guide drive us to Batalha, the start of a busy day! We began by visiting the Batalha Monastery. It’s a Dominican convent and one of the best, and original, examples of late Gothic architecture in Portugal. The convent was built to thank the Virgin Mary for the Portuguese victory over the Castillians in the battle of Aljubarrota in 1385, fulfilling a promise of King John I of Portugal.
After that we jumped back into the car and arrived in the little country town of Fatima which has a population of less than 8,000 people. It is about 120 km north of Lisbon. It’s here were back in 1917, 3 shepherd children saw monthly visions of the Virgin Mary in the “Cova da Iria” pasture. Today the site is marked by the “Basilica de Fatima” where pilgrims come on the 13th of every month to honor the Virgin Mary and her young visionaries, especially in May and October when the apparitions originally began and ended.
Nazare, a roughly 30-minute drive, was next! It’s on the mid-west coast of Portugal with beautiful beaches and views. It’s not a famous tourist spot, which makes it all the better to visit! The people you meet here are “real” Portuguese, and you get a feel for the real Portugal. We rode up to the top of a cliff in a scarily steep tram (it was about a 2-minute ride) and walked around. There are houses, a church, and a gorgeous view of the clear turquoise sea a couple of hundred feet below. We saw groups of elderly women walking rapidly in the streets wrapped in black shawls with brightly embroidered patterns and motifs. If you want to get to really know a part of Portugal, I recommend coming to Nazare.
After a beautiful 15-minute drive from Nazare, we arrived in Obidos. Situated 80 km north of Lisbon, Obidos was given to the 13th century Queen Isabel de Aaragon as a wedding present by her very romantic husband, King Dinis, after he found out that she found it to be beautiful. Strolling along the maze of cobbled streets, it is truly a magical feeling and is well worth a visit during your stay in Portugal. It is without a doubt one of Portugal’s most interesting walled settlements.