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National Palace of Sintra (Palácio Nacional de Sintra)

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Sintra lies in hilly country close to Lisbon and is considered such an extraordinary town that the whole place is UNESCO World Heritage listed. As one of the most popular day trips from the Portuguese capital, Sintra has a cluster of beguiling attractions to explore, from fairy-tale castles and palaces perched on hilltops to the flamboyant clash of Moorish, Gothic and 19th-century Neo-classical architecture, but the stand-out building is the National Palace.

The gigantic, whitewashed National Palace and its two conical chimneys dominate Sintra’s main square as well as the flat plains for miles around. Starting life in the 10th century as home to Lisbon’s Moorish rulers, the palace has been consistently remodeled throughout its thousand-year-plus history and now is largely a happy mishmash of Gothic, Renaissance and Manueline styles in appearance.

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