Ladies and gents, welcome to Sintra, Portugal, or as I’d prefer to call it, Europe’s Magic Kingdom, or Fairytale Town, Europe. Perhaps you know the type of place I’m talking about. It’s one of those places where everything feels so magical and fairy tale-like that it almost doesn’t even feel real. That if I lean against or touch the castle walls (yes, a castle), that it may just fall over. In short, Sintra, Portugal was just stupid-beautiful and magical. I drank the Kool-Aid, and as such, am coming to you with Sintra, Portugal in photos.

Europe’s Magic Kingdom Sintra is a town located just beyond Lisbon, a 45-minute train ride from the heart of the city. And it’s basically just one big UNESCO World Heritage Site, literally, dating back thousands of years. Standing atop the walls of an 8th-century Moorish castle, Castelo dos Mouros, I thought about the profundity of such a place, the town of Sintra directly beneath me, the Atlantic Ocean in the far distance, and looking out across the forest to Palácio da Pena, a Romanticist castle from the 19th century. It became pretty apparent why it had been inhabited for so long. Shit, I would’ve built a castle here, too.

This is all without even mentioning the town of Sintra, steeped in history itself, such as at Quinta da Regaleira (also a World Heritage Site), which dates back more than 100 years, and includes a palace, chapel, tunnels, lakes, and fountains. Yes, all that on one estate. Of most interest to me was the initiation well, an 88-foot-deep inverted tower and spiraling staircase. Make your own inferences if it was used for initiations by secret groups, which it’s been rumored to be used for.

All this to say, that I can’t recommend Sintra, Portugal enough. While you can spend the night in Sintra itself, it’s a great, easy day trip from Lisbon. But I’ll let the photos do the rest of the talking.

Sintra, Portugal in Photos

Sintra, Portugal at sunrise

The town of Sintra at sunrise.

Downtown Sintra, Portugal

Morning dawns on Sintra. Magical or a eerie?

Hike to the Castle of the Moors in Sintra, Portugal

Hiking up toward the Castle of the Moors and Pena Palace.

Sintra, Portugal in Photos: Sintra Pena Palace

First look at Pena Palace from my hike above Sintra.

Pena Palace and Castle of the Moors

Castle of the Moors, and just beyond it, Pena Palace.

Pena Palace in Sintra, Portugal

Walking up to Pena Palace, covered in fog.

Sintra Pena Palace from the Castle of the Moors

Pena Palace from the Castle of the Moors.

Pena Palace from Castle of the Moors in Sintra, Portugal

Pena Palace from atop the walls of the Castle of the Moors.

Town of Sintra from Castle of the Moors

Looking down on the town of Sintra from atop the Castle of the Moors.

Sintra, Portugal atop the Castle of the Moors

And from the other side of the Castle of the Moors.

Quinta da Regaleira estate in Sintra, Portugal

Walking up to Quinta da Regaleira.

Quinta da Regaleira initiation well in Sintra

The eerily awesome (and creepy) initiation well of Quinta da Regaleira.

Quinta da Regaleira initiation well in Sintra

Looking up Quinta da Regaleira’s initiation well.