Beautiful Sintra/ Cascais Coast
After eight days at sea and one day in the Azores, our Disney TransAtlantic Cruise docked in Lisbon, Portugal. Lisbon has such a rich history and so much to see. Our family almost always chooses to visit natural beauty if possible. The Sintra/ Cascais Coast Tour offered scenic stops that seemed to be a perfect match.
The Sintra/ Cascais Coast Tour consisted of three stops. The first stop would be in Sintra, a mountain town and home of the Portuguese summer palace. Next, we would head to the westernmost tip of Europe, Cabo da Roca. Then, our group would stop in the beach resort town of Cascais. Finally, our bus would meander along the Atlantic coast back to our ship.
The old town surrounding the castle is a pleasure to explore. Winding, narrow streets twist up, down and around the hills. Restaurants and shops fill brightly colored buildings. Flowers dangle from eaves and over courtyard walls.
Portugal is known for its hand painted ceramic tiles. These tiles adorn not only courtyards and floors, but also the exterior of many buildings. We stepped into a small shop selling them. We watched while two men painted tiles as we browsed. These were perfect souvenirs and gifts to take back home.
Cabo da Roca
After Sintra, our tour bus wound through the Sintra-Cascais Natural Park to Cabo da Roca. The rocky cliffs of Cabo da Roca extend into the Atlantic Ocean; the westernmost point in Europe.
I had seen few photos and read little about Cabo da Roca. Wow! The natural beauty swept us off our feet. I had not envisioned just how stunning it would be. I cannot believe that it is not better known.
Stepping off our bus, a landscape covered with pretty, yellow flowers greeted us with clear skies and blue ocean beyond. The flowering, ground cover stretched to and dangled over the cliffs. The sheer cliffs revealed brilliant, blue water crashing into the base. I did not expect the rough, ocean water to be so clear and blue!
Up the north coast was a lighthouse. A cross stood high at the very tip, marking the end of Europe. Wind gusted at about 30 mph/50 kph. The bright sun, clear skies, sheer cliffs, azure seas, white foam, and yellow flowers created one of the most memorable spectacles that I have seen.
Leaving Cabo da Roca, our last stop was at the resort town of Cascais. We passed the fort, interesting architecture, palm trees, and parks with unique sculptures on our way to the beach. Overlooking the beach, we were treated to a Golden Retriever playing in the waves. A plaza surrounded by unique, brightly colored, Portuguese architecture fronted the beach.
Cascais is a picturesque setting, but honestly, it could not compare to Sintra or Cabo da Roca.
Our final leg back to the cruise port twisted on the Cascais Coast back to Lisbon. We passed through the resort/casino town of Estoril. Empty beaches stretched for miles.
Across the Tagus River, Lisbon’s replica of Rio’s Christ the Redeemer stood tall.
We saw the Sea Discoveries Monument, the Tower of Belem, and the Comercio Plaza before reaching our ship. What a great day!
The Sintra/ Cascais Coast Tour surprised our family. Our teen son proclaimed this to be his favorite port excursion ever. Of all the places we have visited in the Caribbean and Mediterranean, this was tops. He cites the unique and striking use of tile to adorn the buildings, and the overall beauty as the main reasons.
The bus transported us comfortably. Our guide was pleasant and knowledgable. She told of Vasco da Gama standing at Cabo da Roca, staring out to sea and dreaming, and other historical facts. The Sintra/ Cascais Coast Tour provided plenty of time to explore. The ride between sites was pleasant and scenic, too.
Our first taste of Portugal impressed us greatly. We are thankful that we chose the Sintra/Cascais Coast Tour. We will never forget it.
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