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3 Iconic & Fascinating Locations In Portugal To Visit This Year

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Portugal is a land of medieval castles, iconic palaces, historic cities, quaint villages and idyllic golden beaches. Meanwhile, the Celts, Romans, Visigoths, Moors and Christians have all left their mark here in many ways. Besides the history, Portugalís delicious cuisine and port wines are rightfully renowned. Along the way, there are many unique and fascinating locations to visit in Portugal this year. Here, we take a brief look at Quinta da Regaleira, the village of Monsanto and the Castle of the Moors.

Portugal is accommodating

Wherever you travel in this Iberian country, you will find a choice of hotels, resorts and bed and breakfasts to choose from. However, for those wishing to be more independent and live like a local, many luxurious villas and apartments in Portugal offer the perfect choice. Once you are settled into your accommodations, start exploring these fascinating attractions.

1. Quinta da Regaleira, Sintra, Portugal

Image Susanne Nilsson/Flickr

This fascinating palace was designed by Italian architect Luigi Manini and is set in a UNESCO World Heritage Site. In fact, the Cultural Landscape of Sintra is renowned for its unique architecture and more. In the case of Quinta da Regaleira and its enigmatic buildings, many believe there are symbols hidden here, relating to alchemy, the Knights Templar, Masonry and the Rosicrucians. Construction began on Quinta da Regaleira in 1904 and was mostly complete in 1910.

Garden at Quinta da Regaleira

Besides the attractive palace itself, the gardens surrounding it are ornate, with grottoes, fountains, statues, caves and ponds. Each is connected by paths and a series of underground tunnels. Meanwhile, the grounds also include an aquarium, built to look like it naturally exists amongst the rocks of the hillside.

2. The village of Monsanto, Idanha-a-Nova

The village of Monsanto, Idanha-a-Nova
Image: Wikimedia Commons

This fascinating village has been built around, under and among gigantic boulders, making it a unique place to live. In fact, the village hangs off a mountaintop in Portugal, offering panoramic views all round. While the village itself is worthy of a visit, the town is also crowned by the ruins of a Templar castle, partially destroyed in the 19th century by an explosion.

Meanwhile, the village of Monsanto has hardly changed in hundreds of years and could be considered a living museum as it has retained its village charm. Tiny winding streets pass red roofed cottages and huge boulders. Some of the boulders have been fitted with doors, taking people into the rocky landscape above.The village is easy to get to as buses are available from Lisbon or Porto.

3. Castelo dos Mouros (Castle of the Moors), Sintra

Castelo dos Mouros (Castle of the Moors), Sintra

Moorish forces in south western Iberia surrendered a key piece of defensive architecture to the Christian forces in 1147. The Castelo dos Mouros (Castle of the Moors) had long been considered siege-roof and the conquest of the outpost was one of Europeís turning points to remove the rulking north African moors from the continent. In fact, this incident set Portugal on the way to its own independent history.

The Castle of the Moors stands on one of the highest points in the Sintra area and used to protect the trade town and its surrounding agricultural region. However, in the early 16th century, the castle was abandoned and was then the home of the local Jewish population.

Repairs were made by King Ferdinand II in 1840, adding to it the palatial gardens of the nearby Pena Palace. Today, visitors can explore the remains of this splendid castle and its surrounding views. The easiest way to get here is with the Sintra tourist bus 434, which starts running at 9:15 am.

Visit these and more unique attractions in Portugal this year, taking in the splendour and beauty of its landscapes along the way.

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Latest update: April 14, 2022