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Travel Tips Around The World

Jun 23 2017

Fairy tale castles in Sintra, Portugal

Sintra, Portugal, just 15 miles from Lisbon, may be small, but it packs a powerful punch with a number of incredible castles and villas, many of them with exquisite gardens. The palaces and manors nestled among the forested mountains are stunning, and exploring them all could merit a stay of several days in Sintra. The town also makes for a great day trip from Lisbon; and while all the sights are worth seeing, these are some the castles that we think are the dreamiest.

                         Palacio Nacional da Pena

                                                     The Pena Palace; photo via Sintra-Portugal.com.

The Palacio Nacional da Pena is the most iconic sight of the Sintra skyline. Its colorful facade, which mixes an almost dizzying number of architectural styles, contains a well preserved 19-century summer home, but the big draw here is the stunning views from windows and terraces. On that note: It's a rather steep climb up to the palace—taxis and tuktuks are available, but we recommend bringing plenty of water and good walking shoes, because the ascent through lush gardens and forest is almost as wonderful as the views from the top. This is perhaps the most popular tourist site in Sintra, so get there early to avoid long lines—and to avoid intense heat in summer.

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Mar 18 2016

The historic heartland of French wine country: Dijon

Located in the region of Burgundy—famed for its wine, as well as its boeuf bourguignon, a favorite of this writer's (try it at the Maison Blanche in Paris!)—Dijon is synonymous with mustard, and often serves as a departure point for tours of the area's wineries; but it also boasts a rich history, with many remaining signs of its once powerful position as a ducal seat, along with incredible, predominantly Gothic architecture. Be sure, when in Dijon, to check out a few of these wonders before you begin your daily wine tasting.

               

                  The ducal palace and tower of Philip the Good; photo via Wikimedia Commons

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