The Natural Park of Sintra-Cascais, spreading out from the the mountains of Sintra to the beaches of Cascais, represents a unique diversity of landscape and without doubt the most breathtaking region in Portugal. It includes sanddunes, rugged coastline with high cliffs and sandy bays, dense forrests and calm lakes, with the majestic Serra de Sintra overlooking it all. The centuries old symbiosis of manmade Sintra and the surrounding nature has gained the whole area the status of UNESCO cultural heritage.
It is in its approx. 145 sqkm where most of our activities take place, and where you never stop to marvel at the countless historical and natural wonders.
The extensive Praia Grande and its little sister, the scenic Praia Pequena with its steep cliffs are only a short walk from The Lodge. Great beaches for surfing, here you find little restaurantes, snackbars as well as a surfshop. Take a short bike ride or a 20 min walk and you get into Praia das Macas, a nice little beach with a little village that offers restaurantes, little grocery stores, bakeries and cafes.
Besides these more wellknown beaches the area also has some more hidden bays on offer, where even on a summer sunday you will hardly find any people, if you don't mind a little hike down the cliffs.
In a radius of 30km to the south/east (Cascais/ Lisbon) and north (Ericeira) you find dozens of more beaches, bays and reefs offering perfect conditions for all kinds of watersports.
15 min inland from The Lodge lies Sintra, an UNESCO World Heritage Site. This historic town has been a summer residence for the Portuguese Royal families from the 14th to the 20th century and thus there is several impressive royal buildings to visit. Dominating the city's center you find the Palacio Nacional, with its two famous conic chimneys. On top of the Monte de Pena you can see the
fantastic 19th century Palacio da Pena from as far away as Lisbon. Surrounded by a beautiful and exotic garden, this combination of Neo-Gothic, Neo-Manueline, Neo-Islamic and Neo-Renaissance architecture is a must-see and the view of the surrounding area will blow you away.
The remains of the Castelo dos Mouros, the Castle of the Moors, date back to the 8th century, the period of Arab occupation of the Iberian peninsula. Nowadays the ruins of the castle invite the visitor to get lost in time and enjoy the majestic view from its ancient walls. Brightly illuminated at night it still seems to protect the city of Sintra.
Further sites not to be missed include the Palacio da Regaleira estate, a romantic palace and chapel surrounded by 4 hectares of park, featuring fountaines, lakes, grottoes and wells and declared UNESCO World Heritage Site, or the Palacio de Monserrate with its laid back park, where you find one of the richest botanical gardens in Portugal.
Cabo da Roca, as part of the Sintra-Cascais Natural Park, marks the western most point of mainland Europe. Its impressive cliffs reach up to 140m above sea level and the stunning view over the Atlantic ocean gives a real end-of-the-world feeling. 16th century portuguese poet Luis de Camoes honored Cabo da Roca as the place "where the land ends and the sea begins".
Some hidden beaches and amazing tracks around the cliffs allow for your own little discoveries.
The coastal towns of Cascais and Estoril are culturally and naturally rich and offer innumerous sight-seeing attractions. Great shopping, beaming nightlife and the Casino of Estoril, Europe's largest casino, add to the attractions of these twin cities in the Greater Lisbon subregion
The Portuguese capital is one of the oldest cities in the world and less than a 40 min drive from The Lodge. Rich in architecture and culture, its is also a very vibrant city and a must-see for everybody coming to Portugal. It can be easily reached from the camp for a daytrip. Highlights include the view from the Castelo Sao Jorge on the top of the oldest district Alfama, a stroll through the shopping districts of Baixa and Chiado, a tram ride with the traditional Nr. 28, taking you up and down steep, narrow streets or the modern architecture of the Parque das Nacoes, with the Ocenarium, one of Europe's largest aquariums. And don't miss out on a night in Bairro Alto, a quiet neighbourhood during the day but turning into the center of nightlife after the sun has gone down.
Between Lisbon and Cascais we suggest a stop at Belem, where you can visit the Mosteiro dos Jeronimos, a huge monastery giving impressive proof of Portugal's former wealth and importance during the Age of Discoveries. Built in the 16th century, it was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1983. Closeby at the river shore you find the Torre de Belem, a 16th century watch tower guarding the entrance of the river Tagus. UNESCO World Heritage as well, the Tower of Belem is one of Lisbon's famous landmarks. Once in Belem, don't forget to taste the world famous Pasteis de Belem! Finally, a visit to the top of Cristo Rei, the 80m tall Jesus statue on the hills on the south shore of the river, allows for a breathtaking view over Lisbon.
If you wish we can arrange with two local guides to show you the real Lisbon that you won't find in your guidebook.