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Things to do in Sintra? Tips & the Most Beautiful Castles

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Things to do in Sintra

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Things to do in Sintra?

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Introduction: What to Do in Sintra? – A Historical Gem Near Lisbon

Sintra, nestled north of Lisbon at the base of the Sintra Mountains, is a village steeped in a rich history spanning over 2000 years. Renowned for its palaces and stunning castle gardens, Sintra’s historic center has earned a well-deserved spot on the UNESCO World Heritage List.

If you’re planning a visit, here are some tips and recommendations on what to do in Sintra, including the most beautiful castles the region has to offer.

Sintra Sights: 9 Must-Visit Places

National Palace of Sintra:

This palace, dating back to the fifteenth century, welcomes visitors with its distinctive white chimneys. Boasting Moorish details, the National Palace of Sintra has been home to several Portuguese kings. Inside, you’ll find captivating tableaux adorned with the traditional white-blue Portuguese tiles known as azulejos.

Quinta da Regaleira:

Located on the west side of Sintra, Quinta da Regaleira is an estate featuring a house, fountains, a crypt, and pavilions. Explore the mesmerizing deep wells and intricate underground passages, making it an adventurous and enchanting destination.

Palace of Pena:

Perched atop a mountain, the Palácio da Pena is an iconic Sintra palace known for its vibrant red and yellow facade. Constructed in the mid-nineteenth century, this former summer palace of the Portuguese royal family offers breathtaking views of the surrounding landscape.

Park Palace da Pena:

If you’re not interested in touring the palace, the adjacent park is a beauty on its own. With walking paths and stunning viewpoints, the park offers a more budget-friendly option compared to a full castle ticket.

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Castelo dos Mouros:

Right next to Palácio da Pena, Castelo dos Mouros, or Moors Castle, is the oldest castle in Sintra, dating back to the ninth and tenth centuries. Despite its mostly ruined state, it’s a vast complex with towers and scenic castle walls, providing spectacular views of the surroundings.

Palace of Monserrate:

Slightly west of Sintra, Palácio de Monserrate showcases an oriental architectural style. The estate, once a summer residence of the English Cook family, features a unique palace and gardens with plants from around the world.

Convento dos Capuchos:

While not a castle, the Convento dos Capuchos is a sixteenth-century monastery known for its austere life led by Capuchin monks. Covered in cork for insulation, this dilapidated monastery looks mysterious and overgrown with vegetation.

Palace of Queluz:

Situated in Queluz, a village belonging to the municipality of Sintra, the Palácio de Queluz exhibits a mix of rococo and baroque styles. Often referred to as the Portuguese Versailles, it was built in the eighteenth century and boasts enormous gardens.

Exploring Sintra: Beyond Castles and Palaces:

Aside from the castles, Sintra itself is a charming town perfect for strolling. With numerous hiking trails, it offers a hiking paradise, providing an opportunity to reach the castles on foot, away from the crowds.

How Much Time Do You Need in Sintra?

For those planning to explore all the castles and enjoy walks in the Sintra area, a stay of at least two nights (2 to 3 days) is recommended.

Transportation in Sintra: Getting Around the Sights

Given the distance between the sights in Sintra, a convenient option, especially if you don’t have a car, is to use a hop-on-hop-off bus that stops at various picturesque locations.

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How to Get to Sintra?

Most visitors travel from Lisbon to Sintra, and there are several ways to make the journey:

By Train from Lisbon to Sintra:

The train from Roma-Areeiro station in Lisbon takes about 40 minutes, and a one-way ticket costs €2.30, with a return ticket at €4.60. Tickets can be purchased at the station.

By Car from Lisbon to Sintra:

Alternatively, you can drive from Lisbon to Sintra, a 30-kilometer journey taking around half an hour. There are ample parking lots near the station for free parking.

With a Tour from Lisbon to Sintra:

To make the journey easier, consider joining a tour from Lisbon to Sintra. Various options include day trips by van, e-bike tours, and more.

Spend the Night in Sintra: Recommended Accommodations

For an immersive experience, staying in Sintra is advisable. Here are some recommended places to stay:

  • Moon Hill Hostel: Budget-friendly hostel with dormitories and family rooms.
  • Villa das Rosas: Guesthouse with a swimming pool in nineteenth-century buildings.
  • Chalet Saudade: Beautiful guesthouse with picturesque views.
  • Sintra Boutique Hotel: Luxurious 4-star hotel with modern and spacious rooms.

Visiting Sintra: Final Tips

Sintra’s popularity means it can get crowded, so here are some additional tips:

  • Avoid Crowds: Visit the castles early in the morning or late in the afternoon to enjoy a more peaceful experience.
  • Online Ticket Purchase: Save time by buying your tickets online to avoid long lines at the cash registers.
  • Combination Tickets: If you plan to visit multiple castles, look for combination tickets to save money.
  • Lisbon-Sintra Pass: If combining a Lisbon city trip with Sintra, check if the Lisbon-Sintra Pass is beneficial. It includes access to some Sintra castles along with the Lisboa Pass for Lisbon.
  • Transportation Considerations: During peak seasons, using the hop-on-hop-off bus might be more practical than driving, given the town’s congestion.
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Best Time to Visit Sintra:

The ideal times to visit Sintra are in spring (March to June) and autumn (September/October). These periods offer pleasant temperatures and fewer crowds, especially during weekdays. July and August tend to be very busy, with temperatures soaring to around 40 degrees.

In conclusion, Sintra is a treasure trove of historical and natural wonders. Whether you’re captivated by castles, palaces, or scenic landscapes, Sintra promises an unforgettable experience.

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What to do in Genoa – Travel To Genoa

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What to do in Genoa – Travel To Genoa

What to do in Genoa :

      

Genoa, often overshadowed by its more popular Italian counterparts, holds a wealth of treasures waiting to be discovered. While it may not immediately come to mind when planning an Italian adventure, this maritime city boasts a rich history as the former capital of a powerful republic and the birthplace of renowned figures like Christopher Columbus and Niccolo Paganini.

Despite its lesser-known status, it offers a unique charm and a plethora of attractions that appeal to curious travelers. So, what makes this city special, and what should you do when you visit?

Getting to Genoa

Reaching Genoa is easier than you might think. During the summer months, S7 Airlines offers direct flights, while various European carriers operate year-round flights. Alternatively, you can fly to Milan and take a short train ride to Genoa, which is only about an hour and a half away. Train travel is also an option, with direct routes available from cities like Moscow. Whether you choose to fly or take the train, Genoa is well-connected and easily accessible.

Where to Stay in Genoa

Choosing accommodation in Genoa requires some consideration, especially due to the city’s intricate layout. The historical center may seem compact, but its labyrinthine streets can be confusing to navigate, particularly with luggage. Opting for hotels near major transportation hubs like Principe and Bignoli train stations or metro stations is advisable.

For first-time visitors staying briefly, accommodations near Genova Piazza Principe offer convenience and easy access to transportation links, including the airport bus stop and cruise terminal. From luxurious hotels like the Grand Hotel Savoia to budget-friendly options such as Hotel Chopin, there’s something to suit every preference and budget.

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Getting Around Genoa

Exploring Italy on foot is the best way to immerse yourself in its unique atmosphere. While the city’s narrow medieval streets may pose navigational challenges, they offer an authentic glimpse into its history and character. However, public transportation is essential for covering longer distances or navigating the city’s verticality.

Genoa boasts a metro system, buses, funiculars, and elevators integrated into the transportation network. Consider purchasing a 24-hour Genova Pass for unlimited access to public transport, excluding airport shuttles.

What to See in Genoa

Contrary to popular belief, Genoa is brimming with attractions awaiting discovery. From opulent palaces and picturesque gardens to ancient churches and world-class museums, the city offers something for every traveler. Key highlights include Ferrari Square, a grandiose civic space; the Cathedral of St. Lawrence, guarded by stone lions; and the Palazzi dei Rolli, a collection of historic palaces showcasing Genoa’s architectural splendor.

Additionally, numerous churches, including the Church of St. Peter’s and the Church of St. John, offer cultural and architectural delights. Don’t miss iconic landmarks like Villa del Principe, Lanterna lighthouse, and the medieval gate of Porta Soprano, each adding to Genoa’s allure.

Day Trips from Genoa

While Genoa itself warrants exploration, it also serves as an ideal base for day trips to nearby destinations. Along the Ligurian coast, picturesque towns like the Cinque Terre National Park, Portofino, Rapallo, and Camogli beckon with their scenic beauty and charm. Venture westward to discover hidden gems such as Noli, Finale Ligure, and Albenga, each offering its own unique allure.

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Beyond the coast, explore the caves of Toirano or visit the historic town of Campo Ligure, known for its medieval castle. With so much to see and do in the surrounding area, Genoa provides an excellent starting point for exploring Liguria’s diverse attractions.

Conclusion

Genoa may not be as widely recognized as other Italian cities, but its cultural heritage, architectural marvels, and coastal beauty make it a destination worth exploring. Whether you’re strolling through its labyrinthine streets, admiring historic palaces, or embarking on day trips along the Ligurian coast, Genoa captivates visitors with its rich history and vibrant atmosphere. So, why not uncover the hidden treasures of this underrated gem on your next Italian adventure?

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Things to do in Rimini Italy

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Things to do in Rimini Italy

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Rimini is renowned as a beach resort destination, drawing visitors from Italy and beyond with its long history of seaside hospitality. However, beyond its sandy shores lies a city steeped in ancient heritage and cultural charm, offering a wealth of attractions for travelers to discover. In this comprehensive guide, we’ll delve into everything you need to know to plan an unforgettable trip to Rimini.

Getting to Rimini

Rimini is accessible by air, land, and sea, making it convenient to reach from various parts of Italy and Europe. The city has its own international airport, Federico Fellini Airport, serving both domestic and international flights. Additionally, Rimini is well-connected by train, with direct rail links to major cities like Bologna and Ancona. For those arriving by car, highways provide easy access to Rimini from neighboring regions.

Where to Stay in Rimini

With its status as a popular resort destination, Rimini offers a wide range of accommodation options to suit every traveler’s needs and preferences. The Marina Centro area, situated in the heart of the resort district, is ideal for beachgoers seeking convenience and proximity to amenities.

Here, hotels like Erbavoglio and De Londres offer comfortable accommodations within walking distance of the beach. Alternatively, for those looking to explore the city’s historic center, hotels in the Old Town area provide easy access to landmarks like the Tempio Malatestiano and Ponte di Tiberio.

Getting Around Rimini

Navigating Rimini is relatively straightforward, with most attractions located within easy reach of the city center. Visitors staying in Marina Centro can explore the resort area on foot, while those venturing further afield can make use of public transportation options like buses and trains. Rimini’s efficient public transit system provides convenient access to key sites, including the Old Town and surrounding areas.

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What to See in Rimini

Rimini boasts a rich cultural heritage, with a variety of historical and architectural landmarks waiting to be explored. In the city’s historic center, visitors can admire the impressive Tempio Malatestiano, a medieval temple converted into a cathedral, and stroll across the ancient Ponte di Tiberio, a Roman bridge dating back to the 1st century AD. For a glimpse into Italy’s cinematic history, Parco Federico Fellini offers a tribute to the renowned filmmaker with statues and exhibits celebrating his life and work.

In addition to its historical attractions, Rimini is home to modern marvels like Italia in Miniatura, a theme park featuring miniature replicas of famous Italian landmarks. Perfect for families and visitors of all ages, this unique attraction offers a fun and educational experience that showcases the country’s cultural heritage on a smaller scale.

Day Trips from Rimini

While Rimini itself offers plenty to see and do, its strategic location makes it an ideal base for exploring the surrounding region. Nearby destinations like San Marino, Santarcangelo di Romagna, and Gradara are easily accessible by car or public transportation, offering charming villages, historic sites, and picturesque landscapes to discover.

For those seeking a taste of urban culture, cities like Bologna, Ravenna, and Ancona are just a short train ride away, providing opportunities to explore their rich history, vibrant arts scene, and culinary delights.

Conclusion

From its sun-drenched beaches to its ancient landmarks and modern attractions, Rimini offers a diverse array of experiences for travelers to enjoy. Whether you’re soaking up the sun along the Adriatic coast, exploring the city’s historic center, or embarking on day trips to nearby destinations, Rimini promises a memorable and rewarding travel experience for visitors of all interests and ages.

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Where to Stay in Trento Italy

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Where to Stay in Trento Italy

Where to Stay in Trento, Italy :

      

Trento, nestled in a valley at the base of the Alps, is a city worth exploring! With its picturesque surroundings and proximity to other charming towns and attractions, Trento offers something for every traveler. Whether you plan to wander through the city streets, venture into the nearby mountains, or use Trento as a launching pad for further adventures, there’s plenty to see and do here.

Which area of Trento is best for accommodation?

Trento is relatively straightforward to navigate, with the historical city center separated from the train and bus stations by a large square. Near the station, you’ll find a tourist information kiosk where you can pick up a map of the city, or visit a nearby travel agency for assistance.

Trento offers city-wide wireless internet access, although you may need to register in advance for login credentials. It’s worth noting that temperatures can vary significantly between the city and the mountains, so be sure to pack appropriate clothing and footwear for your adventures.

The area around the train station is relatively clean and quiet, making it a convenient option for those planning to explore the region using public transportation. Hotels near the station, such as the Grand Hotel Trento and Hotel America, offer comfortable accommodations at slightly lower prices compared to those in the city center. These hotels provide easy access to both the station and the historical center of Trento, which is just a short walk away.

Speaking of the city center, Trento’s historical district is relatively compact, making it easy to explore on foot. When choosing a hotel in this area, focus on factors such as cost and traveler reviews rather than proximity to specific attractions, as most hotels are within walking distance of the main sights.

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Keep in mind that older buildings in the city center may lack amenities like elevators and spacious bathrooms, but they often offer charm and character in abundance.

Hotels such as Hotel Venezia and Hotel Aquila D’Oro offer comfortable accommodations in the heart of Trento’s city center. While some rooms may offer views of the city or nearby landmarks, be prepared for the possibility of street noise, especially in the mornings. Alternatively, Albergo Accademia provides spacious designer rooms with amenities like jacuzzis, although guests may prefer rooms facing the quieter courtyard.

For those seeking a more independent accommodation option, apartments can be a great choice. Borgo Rossi Apartments, located near Piazza Venezia, offer kitchenettes and dining areas, allowing guests to prepare their meals and experience local cuisine firsthand. Be sure to communicate with the apartment owners or managers ahead of time to clarify details like heating and air conditioning availability, parking options, and key pickup procedures.

Conclusion

In conclusion, Trento offers a range of accommodation options to suit every traveler’s needs and preferences. Whether you choose to stay near the train station for convenience or in the heart of the city center for easy access to attractions, you’re sure to enjoy your time exploring this charming Italian city.

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