When we weren’t at our base of Ericeira, we were traveling around the area of Lisboa in Portugal. Lisbon being the main attraction, or at least the attraction that most people think of. I fully recommend exploring Portugal, there are loads of package holidays to Portugal (mainly in the Algarve and Madeira) and maybe people don’t always think to head away from the amazing beaches (and I don’t blame them) but I implore you to! Why not try the Lisboa area. There are so many things to see! So if you have booked a holiday to Portugal have a read of this and see if you fancy it!
Lisboa is named after the city that sits in its center; Lisbon. The surrounding area is greatly influenced by the location. Head slightly out of Lisbon and it almost appears as though you have hit a jungle, at the middle sits the mysterious and picturesque Sintra, with its roads so tight, you really cant fit a tour bus and a motor home on one road, even though some pillocks try this (leading to us getting into several arguments and being stuck for at least an hour as neither would move).
Travel out of the jungle and towards some of the best beaches in Portugal, as I discussed before, the beaches of the silver coast at Ericeira are full of surfers and sunbathers (though if you have a look around some of the coves are a lot less touristy).
Travel even further and you reach the most western point in mainland Europe, sat on jagged cliffs surrounded my sea mist that blows over the forest leaving a slightly eerie feel.
The area is amazing to say the least here are the places I would suggest the most and I have included how child friendly they are and some tips to go with children.
Sintra is an unending place, you could spend a week in this ‘village’. In reality it is not just a village, it was very popular, for nobility to build palaces in this region so close to Lisbon. Therefore there is more palaces and exotic gardens to explore than anywhere else I can think of. As you approach Sintra it is like something out of a fairy tale, it has enchanted forests, castles and winding streets (I highly recommend staying in Sintra for a few days perhaps in a b and b, it is much prettier when all the tourists go home).
Cabo da Roca
We decided to visit Cabo da Roca first, part of the Sintra national park, this is the most western part in mainland Europe. It was incredibly windy, although the sea mist was not too bad the day we went, I still had a really salty face afterwards. There is no way you can get a push chair along the cliff, it is juts far too rocky, therefore if you are taking a baby I suggest a sling, like we used, it enabled us to wander around with no issues. However, Joanie didn’t enjoy the wind, I ended up tucking her into the sling so it couldn’t get her face or trying to keep my back to the wind. Little kids are fine, there is a barrier along the cliff edge, but it is imperative you keep hold of them (our friends had toddle reins).
I really enjoyed visiting, the views were amazing and there was a little cafe on the cliff edge with great views.
After heading here we headed into Sintra, we made the mistake of not going here first. If you are driving to these places, make sure you go to Sintra in the morning as it is so busy, there was barely any parking and when we found somewhere, we ended up stuck on leaving as I mentioned above. I think the best way in is probably by bus.
There are so many places to see in Sintra so ill pop a couple down below:
A huge palace with two conical Chimneys, easily seen through out the entire region! This is one of the main attractions in Sintra, mainly a walk around the palace and grounds. It does look an amazing building.
This castle and its walls sit high above the Sintra national park forest looking slightly otherworldly as it is also visible from all around.
This is a monastery is only accessible on foot and its tiny cells and rooms are apparently rather bizarrely small and jaunty. This was on our list of things to look at but we ran out of time as the place we visited was so big and had us entertained for hours.
Quinta Da Regaleira
This place is somewhere I encourage you to put on your bucket list, it is absolutely fantastic and magical. As you approach the gate to get it it looks just like any other of the palaces around the area, but it is so much more. The palace is interesting, its pretty just like every other palace really, but the grounds, the grounds are amazing.
This place was created by a man who loved the mysterious and this shows so much at Quinta Da Regaleria. I would have loved this place as a kid, it looks like something straight out of a fairy tale, with grotto’s strewn around hiding under waterfalls and traveling to different areas of the grounds like secret tunnels. There are two wells that you can walk all the way to the bottom of, and each are connected by these grotto’s. We spent hours exploring the caves and areas of the grounds, it was cast as an enchanted forest, it felt like a totally different world, even with the tourists there.
The sling was a definite must here with a baby, there is no way you would manage to get a push chair around under the grotto’s. The staff were incredibly accommodating with babies. There were nappy changing facility’s and we even were taken to the front of the queue as if you have baby this is their policy! I had no issues breastfeeding here, not one. everybody was lovely and fussed a lot over Joanie.
I would recommend this place with kids, it takes you hours to get round the whole thing and it is just so mystical and magical for children. On top of that it even made me feel excited and childish!
Over all I would say go to Sintra if you are visiting Portugal, its well worth a look. My advice is remember to take a sling if you have a baby!
Love Kate x