Horse and Carriage in Sintra, Portugal – Story Behind the Photo

Horse Carriage in Sintra, PortugalHorse and Carriage in Sintra, Portugal

I took this photograph while in Sintra, Portugal. I was walking towards the Sintra National Palace and noticed a horse and carriage pulling into a shady spot just below the palace wall. I took a series of photographs as the carriage driver pulled in but this is my favorite shot as it shows the driver relaxing by smoking a cigarette and the horses resting in the shade.


This photograph of a horse carriage in Portugal is available for sale on my store site; click here for the direct link to The Monica Store.

Or to purchase another photograph of a horse carriage in Sintra, Portugal for editorial use click here for my stock photography site.

Travel Tips for Sintra, Portugal

Sintra, PortugalSintra, Portugal – Photography and Travel Tips

Sintra, Portugal is a charming town not far from the coast. I went to Sintra via the train from Lisbon – an hour ride with rural scenery. Although not far from the coast you can’t really see the ocean from Sintra and the town is located in the mountains so even in the summer’s it is cooler then expected.


What is there to see in Sintra, Portugal:

1 – Pena National Palace – Perhaps the main attraction, this Palace is certainly not to be missed. The palace is a whimsical fairytale castle that looks like a mish-mash architectural styles.

— Brief history of the Pena National Palace

The complex started with a 15th century chapel dedicated to Our Lady of Pena and a monastery was added later on. The palace is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. After the Earthquake of 1755 the monastery lay in ruins until 1838 when Ferdinand II decided to build a palace around the ruins and the chapel to be used as a summer residence for the royal family. Now the palace is owned by the Portuguese state and stands as a museum.

— Visiting the Pena National Palace

The Pena National Palace sits atop a mountain above the town of Sintra and I advise you take advantage of the bus that delivers you right to the Palace gates. You can walk but I think this would take a couple of hours. (The bus tickets can be purchased at the tourist information center and the bus stop is right across from it. And remember to bring a sweater, as it is quite chilly on top of the mountain and windy!).

You do not need to take part in a tour, you can simply roam through the palace and every room has information in English. It does take a whole day to see the palace, the monastery and the gardens, which are very extensive (you need to use the map provided at the ticket desk to navigate the garden paths).


2 – Castle of the Moors – A castle that dates back to the 9th and 10th centuries with a long squiggly wall that provides wonderful views of Sintra and the Pena National Palace. The castle suffered from neglect and little use after the 15th century until King Ferdinand II started to renovate it.

3 – Quinta da Regaleira – This is another UNESCO World Heritage Site and this palace and gardens is yet another whimsical site in Sintra. The Quinta da Regaleira is an estate that was owned by three different families and constructed and reconstructed throughout the 1900s. The gardens ascend up a hill with several tiers, caves, tunnels, ponds, and fountains. The whimsicality of the gardens continues in the palace where elaborate carvings and colorful tiles decorate the rooms and twisted and playful chimneys are guarded by sweet gargoyles that are bunny rabbits and kangaroos. The Quinta da Regaleria is strangely fascinating and a must see!

4 – Sintra National Palace – The Sintra National Palace is in the center of town and appears rather subdued from the other sites as it is all while and features few adornments on the façade. However the interior has a few stately rooms with decorative tiles. I found the kitchen rooms particularly interested with the large smoke stacks for the fireplaces – these chimneys rise high above the palace and distinguish the palace from afar.

For a brief History of the Sintra National Palace (also a UNESCO World Heritage site) click on the link below at the end of this post.


A few practical tips: Make sure to wander around and see the local houses with the tiled details. There are many steep paths as the town is built on a mountain so I advise good walking shoes. As for food, the cuisine is good and fresh and there are of course many seafood options. The tourist information center is not only useful but in a very nice building with clean public restrooms (always good to know). And a final tip – try to see the Moorish fountain which can be reached by following the road leading to the train station for it is really a work of art.

Overall Sintra is lovely town perfect for romantics and those who want to live in a fairytale world even just for a day.

To see more photographs of Sintra visit themonicastore or my stock photography site.


To read more about Sintra, Portugal click on the links below:


1 – Read more about the Pena National Palace

2 – Read more about the Castle of the Moors

3 – Read more about Quinta da Regaleira

4 – Read more about Sintra National Palace

5 – Read more about Sintra

Travel Tips for Lisbon, Portugal

Lisbon, Portugal fountain

What to see and due in Lisbon, Portugal

I have only spent two afternoons in Lisbon so my experience was tragically brief but nonetheless I got a taste for the city and hope to visit it again.


My few hours involved taking a bus from Lisbon airport right into the city center – the bus ride was about 20 to 30 minutes and provides almost a tour bus view into Lisbon. The bus rambles down the main streets and circles one of the main squares, Don Pedro IV Square. The square has small black and white stones making patterns on the floor – you will find these stones and different patterns all over Portugal in squares and on sidewalks just make sure you admire the patterns and remember to look up so you don’t run into anything.

From the Don Pedro IV Square (which has beautiful fountains) you can walk to the train station which is another picturesque site. Also if you ride up the escalators where the trains depart and go to your left there is a great outdoor area with panoramic views of the city and the Castelo de Sao Jorge. (Europe has many grand train stations that are works of art in themselves but Portugal has some of the most elegant train stations, I think!)

The Don Pedro IV Square also acts as a good reference point. From there you can walk down towards the water and eventually to the Praca do Comercio, another main square. While walking towards this square you will pass the main shopping streets. Make sure to note the tiled buildings (a characteristic of the country) and be mindful of the trams; I believe they have the right of way.


I only had time to stand in the middle of the Praca do Comercio square and turn in circles to see all the buildings before rushing back to catch my bus and catch my plane. Nevertheless during my few hours in Lisbon I saw the highlights in a quick flash and hope to return soon to explore everything in more detail.

– Feel free to leave a comment and let me know what I shouldn’t miss on my next trip to Lisbon, Portugal!

To see more photos of Lisbon click here for my stock photography site – Monica Goslin Photography. To purchase a framed photo of Lisbon visit The Monica Store site.

Portugal Travel Series

Portugal - by Monica GoslinPortugal Series– Photography and Travel Tips

November 2010 is going to be about Portugal. This will be a month long series with travel tips and photo highlights along with special “Story Behind the Photo” posts.

I have only traveled to Portugal twice so far, so of course I have hopes of going back to see more. Portugal has an old-world charm.


What will be covered this month on Portugal:

–       Lisbon

–       Sintra

–       Porto – click for part one of a three part series

–       Coimbra

–       Palace Hotel of Bussaco

So keep an eye on the blog for these posts along with the “stories behind the photos.”


Enjoy! And remember to see more photos visit my other sites:

-The Monica Store – to buy canvas photos, framed photos, books, cards, magnets, and more!

– Monica Goslin Photography – stock photography