Sintra’s vegetation is really a special thing.
The town is up in the hills, with a micro climate making it very lush and humid. The Portuguese brought back plants from Brazil and India which thrived due to the mild temperatures, creating a bizarre mix between a dark and mossy European forest and an exotic jungle.
In Autumn, the combination is the strangest sight, you’ve got trees going brown and losing their leaves alongside tropical foliage and colorful flowers. Another thing that stroke me is how intricate -you might even say tortuous- the trees are. Sure the terrain is rather steep ,but all those uprooted trees, those tangled branches looking almost like lianas, that’s some dark fairytale stuff!
_____________ Sintra started being a royalty summer getaway in the 15th century, hitting its peak of popularity in the 19th century with the likes of Lord Byron coming by and declaring it a “Glorious Eden”. The town is filled with eccentric castles with gardens to match. The most impressive is the Quinta de la Regaleira garden. Otherwise, walking up to the Pena castle is a good way to observe the mysterious vegetation… Sintra is an easy 40 minutes train ride from Lisbonne, but it will make you feel like you’re much farther away…