Postcards from Portugal: Lisbon, Cascais & Sintra

I traveled to Portugal in the last week of March and first week of April this year. It was my second time visiting Portugal. On this trip, I explored eight cities and towns and had a wonderful time with many new experiences.

Today’s post is the first of three in my Postcards from Portugal series. As usual, when you see an image gallery, click on an image to get a better view and use the arrows to move through the gallery.


I began my adventures in captivating Lisbon, one of the oldest cities in Europe, and known as the city of seven hills. Since it was my second time in Lisbon, I chose to revisit a few favourites at a leisurely pace. On Day 1, I took the metro to Rossio Square which is the liveliest area in Lisbon and the meeting place for the people of Lisbon and visitors.

Rossio Square with its Fountain (foreground), Statue of Don Pedro IV, the Soldier King of Portugal (centre) and Doña Maria II National Theatre built in 1842 (background).

On the perimeter of Rossio Square and its surrounding streets, there are many shops, bars and restaurants. I walked past Rossio railway station, to Restorers Square and all the way to the top of Edward VII’s Park to enjoy a magnificent view over the hills of Lisbon and the Tagus River.

Rossio railway station with its impressive façade, built in 1887

On Day 2, I headed to Commerce Square and the riverfront to see the Belém Tower, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. On my first visit to Portugal I had toured the interior of Belém Tower so this time I just admired its Portuguese Gothic (Manueline) exterior and the river views.

Belém Tower, built between 1515 and 1519

Near the Belém Tower is the 52-metre (170 ft) tall Monument to the Discoveries. It’s shaped like a ship, with 32 figures lined up on a stylized prow, representing personalities from the 15th and 16th centuries following Prince Henry, the Navigator. Only one of them is a woman, Queen Phillipa of Lancaster, who was Prince Henry’s mother.

My next stop is the Monastery of the Hieronymites or Jerónimos Monastery, also a UNESCO World Heritage Site and also in Portuguese Gothic (Manueline) style. I toured the monastery’s main church, the Church of Santa Maria. Its unique nave has six columns which are perfectly sculpted. The tombs of Portuguese explorer Vasco da Gama and poet Luis de Camões are in the church.

Jerónimos Monastery South Portal


On Day 3, from Lisbon, I headed to Cascais, a seaside town located on the Atlantic coast, about 25 km west of Lisbon. Historically, Cascais was the summer retreat of the Portuguese nobility. The trip from Lisbon to Cascais offers beautiful views of the Atlantic Ocean, especially from Estoril to Cascais.

I got a good stroll around Cascais, along its palmetto tree-lined main street that leads to the beachfront promenade. There are many eateries and shops on the main street and food and souvenir stalls by the beachfront. The promenade has beautiful cream and black wave design as this is a seaside town. The beach and the main square started filling up with people by mid-day.

Tile mural (azulejos) showing Cascais beachfront promenade and villas


From Cascais, I continued north to Sintra, the ancient summer retreat of the royal court, highlighted by lavish romantic castles and stunning monuments. Since I had visited Pena Palace on my first trip to Portugal, on this trip I chose to visit Sintra National Palace, a 15th-century royal residence and a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The palace contains one of the largest tile collections in Portugal.

Sintra National Palace

On Day 4, I headed to Évora, 140 km from Lisbon. More to follow.

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107 thoughts on “Postcards from Portugal: Lisbon, Cascais & Sintra

    • Natalie May 5, 2023 / 3:07 pm

      Suzanne, I’d visit Portugal again given its proximity and direct flights from Toronto. Thank you for stopping by.

      Liked by 1 person

  1. leannelc May 5, 2023 / 8:40 am

    Hi Natalie – I loved the fountain, the tile mural and the beach sculpture – such an eclectic mix of culture and art and old buildings – you would have had a fantastic time being a tourist and soaking it all up.


    • Natalie May 5, 2023 / 3:11 pm

      Leanne, I had a fantastic time enjoying what Portugal has to offer to its visitors. I would consider returning for an extended stay.


  2. Liesbet @ Roaming About May 5, 2023 / 11:55 am

    Beautiful sights and photos, Natalie. More and more people I know are becoming expats in Portugal (when couple even in Lisboa) and I can see why. I can’t wait to visit one day.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Natalie May 5, 2023 / 3:16 pm

      Liesbet, I’m glad you enjoyed my postcard and photos. Portugal has many expats from the UK, and some from the USA and Canada. Its winter is milder than Toronto’s typical winter and the Algarve is sunny almost year round so I’ve considered going there for an extended stay in winter.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Darlene May 5, 2023 / 12:18 pm

    Some wonderful photos. Thanks for taking us along on your trip.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Natalie May 5, 2023 / 3:16 pm

      Thank you Darlene for stopping by. I’m glad you liked my photos.

      Liked by 1 person

    • Natalie May 5, 2023 / 3:17 pm

      Excellent choice! Cascais’ beachfront promenade is lovely.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Joanne May 5, 2023 / 2:52 pm

    This is sounding like such a wonderful trip!! I can’t wait to for next week’s installment.


    • Natalie May 5, 2023 / 3:18 pm

      It was a wonderful trip. Thank you Joanne for stopping by.


  5. Thistles and Kiwis May 5, 2023 / 3:41 pm

    Thanks for taking us around Portugal! I have only been to Lisbon so it was lovely to see some other places. You always manage to capture a place so well!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Natalie May 5, 2023 / 6:39 pm

      Thank you for your kind words. I find it challenging to write my travel posts (e.g. how many photos to include, how much to write about well-known places that readers can just google, etc.). I’m glad you enjoyed reading this post.


  6. Maria May 5, 2023 / 3:45 pm

    I love the roman architecture! Thank you for taking us on this lovely trip. Have a wonderful weekend.


    • Natalie May 5, 2023 / 6:41 pm

      Maria, Thank you for stopping by. The Romans have left some beautiful legacy in buildings, aqueducts, etc.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Maria May 7, 2023 / 1:43 am

        Yes! My mom and I used to admire their aqueducts together. It was one of mom’s favourite things to do.

        Liked by 1 person

        • Natalie May 7, 2023 / 9:10 pm

          I took photos of the aqueducts near Lisbon and Coimbra. They’re magnificent.

          Liked by 1 person

  7. restlessjo May 5, 2023 / 3:55 pm

    As I said, all very familiar, Natalie, and no less beautiful for that. I especially love the Jeronimous monastery. I didn’t get to visit it till my 3rd trip to Lisbon (due to a pickpocket incident, but nowhere’s perfect!) Did you go up the Discobrimentos tower? You certainly saw plenty and I’m glad you’re sharing it here.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Natalie May 5, 2023 / 6:45 pm

      Jo, I skipped going up the Discobrimentos tower on this trip as dark clouds were rolling in and I wanted to walk over to the Jeronimos monastery. Perhaps next time.

      Liked by 1 person

  8. Retirement Reflections May 5, 2023 / 5:21 pm

    Hi, Natalie – I was eagerly awaiting seeing these photos and hearing more about your trip. It was well-worth the wait. Your travels look and sound incredible. Richard and I have been to Lisbon and greatly enjoyed it. We are now considering our fifth Camino which will hopefully take us out that way again!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Natalie May 5, 2023 / 6:49 pm

      Hi Donna, Thank you for your kind words. I saw a few Camino walkers and the directional signs when I was in Portugal and thought of you and Richard. A 5th Camino sounds amazing. I greatly enjoyed Portugal and wouldn’t mind returning in the future.


  9. Terri Webster Schrandt May 5, 2023 / 6:35 pm

    You captured these impressive historical buildings perfectly, Natalie! What a beautiful introduction to Lisbon. The Belem Tower looks humongous but the artwork on the nearby tower is so detailed. Incredible art for the time. Happy to see the monastery and the church of Santa Maria. I’ve already got your post link primed and at the ready for Sunday 🙂


    • Natalie May 5, 2023 / 6:55 pm

      Hi Terri, The places in Lisbon that I shared are iconic and IMHO not to be missed. The Portuguese manueline style is full of stories and meanings behind each artwork. Thank you for including my post for Sunday. My next Portugal post on May 12 covers churches, cathedral, convent, etc. I plan to link up with your post for sure 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  10. Karen May 5, 2023 / 9:38 pm

    I enjoyed touring Portugal through your pictures. I liked the different tiles, especially the wavy one. #Weekendcoffeeshare


    • Natalie May 6, 2023 / 8:58 am

      I liked the tiles, too. Each Portuguese town has unique tile designs on the pavements in the town centre.


  11. Jennifer Jones May 5, 2023 / 11:10 pm

    Thankyou so much for the tour natalie. I’ve been looking forward to seeing your photos of Portugal. The architecture is amazing.


    • Natalie May 6, 2023 / 8:59 am

      Jennifer, Thank you for joining me. I’m glad you liked my photos.


  12. Bernie May 6, 2023 / 2:22 am

    All 3 of those places are lovely and I’ve had the pleasure of seeing them myself. Your post brought back many memories.


    • Natalie May 6, 2023 / 9:04 am

      Bernie, I’m glad to hear my post brought back many memories of Portugal. You’re making new memories with your bike trip. Safe travels!

      Liked by 1 person

  13. Debbie May 6, 2023 / 3:46 am

    This post has added to my desire to see Portugal for myself Natalie! Many thanks for the tour and those tiles look amazing 🙂 I look forward to your next instalment.


    • Natalie May 6, 2023 / 9:10 am

      Debbie, I’m glad to hear my post added to your desire to visit Portugal. Beautiful tiles are everywhere in Portugal. Each of the Portuguese towns that I visited has unique tile design on the pavements in the town centre. There is also a National Tile Museum in Lisbon.

      Liked by 1 person

  14. Denyse Whelan Blogs May 6, 2023 / 3:48 am

    As someone who will not get to travel to places as you have, this is lovely look at a part of the world steeped in history. Thank you Natalie, for sharing and for the link up this weekend. Denyse


    • Natalie May 6, 2023 / 9:13 am

      Denyse, Thank you for linking up and commenting. It’s my pleasure to share my Portugal trip highlights on my blog. I hope you’re enjoying your new home. I’ll be over to your blog this weekend.


  15. trentpmcd May 6, 2023 / 7:49 am

    Great photos! Sounds like a nice trip.
    Hope you are having a wonderful weekend!


  16. Michelle May 6, 2023 / 9:47 am

    Such beautiful architecture. The Monument to the Discoveries is simply breathtaking. And the tiles in the Sinatra National Castle? Breathtaking. Part one of your trip is amazing.


    • Natalie May 6, 2023 / 3:52 pm

      Thank you for your comment. I’m glad you enjoyed my post and photos. Stay tuned for part 2.


  17. Janet Alcorn May 6, 2023 / 10:07 am

    I know little about Portugal, and now, thanks to your photos, I want to visit. Love the tower, the church, the twisted column in the garden… all of it. Looking forward to your next post!


    • Natalie May 6, 2023 / 3:53 pm

      I’m happy to share Portugal with you through my lens. Stay tuned for my next post.

      Liked by 1 person

  18. margaret21 May 6, 2023 / 10:54 am

    Oh, thanks for these Portuguese postcards. I hardly know Portugal, and Lisbon not at all, so these really whetted my appetite.


    • Natalie May 6, 2023 / 3:57 pm

      You’re welcome, Margaret. Portugal is a wonderful country to visit without the crowds normally found in Italy, France or Spain.

      Liked by 1 person

  19. Marsha May 6, 2023 / 12:45 pm

    I’m like Margaret. I only know about Portugal from Restless Jo. Your photos and trip description makes me want to make a stop over there! It’s a long trip from here. Did you feel safe? Is there a lot of homelessness there as there is in large cities in the U.S. A.?


    • Natalie May 6, 2023 / 4:04 pm

      Hi Marsha, I felt safe the whole time I was in Portugal (and both times that I visited the country). I took the subways and trams in Lisbon, rode inter-city trains, and walked to explore the sights in each town/ city. I didn’t see any homelessness there.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Marsha May 6, 2023 / 6:27 pm

        Interesting. All of Jo’s photos always look pristine. I wonder what the secret is. I’m glad you were safe. You do a lot of exploring on your own. I’m taking a lesson from you today as I spend my day exploring Scottsdale on my own.


        • Natalie May 6, 2023 / 6:58 pm

          I do research before each solo trip and explore during the day when lighting is good and people are out and about. I look forward to hearing about your Scottsdale discoveries.

          Liked by 1 person

          • Marsha May 7, 2023 / 10:06 am

            Thanks. Vince is coming and we are going to a butterfly preserve today.


            • Natalie May 7, 2023 / 9:08 pm

              That sounds fantastic. I hope you and Vince have a great time. Look forward to seeing your photos.

              Liked by 1 person

              • Marsha May 8, 2023 / 1:13 pm

                It turned out to be so crowded and he didn’t have much time, so we postponed it. I may go back by myself today. It is really close to where we stay.


  20. ganga1996 May 6, 2023 / 7:59 pm

    Hi Natalie, these pictures reminded me of some churches I have visited in India built by Portuguese. Lovely pictures and description, waiting for Part 2.


    • Natalie May 6, 2023 / 8:08 pm

      Yes, the Portuguese explorers went to faraway places such as India, Macau, Brazil, etc. by boat. I’m glad you enjoyed my post and pictures. Part 2 to come next weekend.

      Liked by 1 person

  21. Dan Antion May 7, 2023 / 9:56 am

    Thanks for sharing these beautiful photos, Natalie.


  22. csuhpat1 May 7, 2023 / 2:15 pm

    Wow, what a great trip. Such beautiful photos. Very nice. Thanks for sharing them.


    • Natalie May 7, 2023 / 8:56 pm

      Glad you liked my photos. Thank you for linking up.


  23. Lizl/Liz Bennefeld May 7, 2023 / 4:34 pm

    So many pretty photos and places! It would take me more than a lifetime to absorb those surroundings. I ended up in 1972 in the M.C. Escher exhibit at the National Gallery of Art (moving gallery during the year of his death). I was in that room for an entire morning, and never got farther that one feast for eye and mind. I can see why you take so many photos. One must, I imagine, go back to pour over all that one has seen. Glad that your blog doesn’t pack up and move on, Natalie. I look forward to spending more time with this post. Thank you for sharing!


    • Natalie May 7, 2023 / 8:58 pm

      You’re welcome, Lizl. I’m glad you want to spend more time with this post. I tried to condense my description and select what I hope is a reasonable number of photos to share the beauty of each place. More to come in the next two ‘postcards’.

      Liked by 1 person

        • Natalie May 7, 2023 / 9:26 pm

          You’re welcome. Thank you for reading my blog and commenting.


  24. Easin' Along May 7, 2023 / 5:47 pm

    I was talking to a friend in my exercise class who is planning a trip to Portugal very soon. I sent her a link to your blog…she thanked me. We’re looking forward to #2. Just curious–do you make these trips in groups, solo, or with friends? If solo, you do a magnificent job of finding your way around. Have a great week! Joe


    • Natalie May 7, 2023 / 9:06 pm

      Joe, Thank you for sharing this post with your friend. I’ve done many solo trips and feel comfortable planning my itinerary and exploring on my own. This was my second time to Lisbon and Sintra so I re-used my previous trip info and just refreshed my memory. The other six Portuguese cities/ towns were new to me, however, they’re easily reached by train and the town centres are all walkable. I travel with family or friends or in groups sometimes but as you know coordinating schedules is a challenge.


  25. PR May 8, 2023 / 4:44 am

    Awesome! I have only been to Lisbon,Sintra and Porto and want to explore more. Thanks for sharing your journey Natalie and giving me ideas of where I could go next 😀


    • Natalie May 8, 2023 / 9:19 am

      I look forward to hearing about your trip to Portugal in October. Thank you for your PPAC contribution.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Teresa May 8, 2023 / 8:51 pm

        For sure you will hear about it in a few months. Just don’t know how I’ll cope with my bad knee. But good luck to me.

        Liked by 1 person

  26. Ally Bean May 8, 2023 / 9:15 am

    Those tiles! I adore them. You made the most of your time in Portugal. Thanks for taking us along with you.


    • Natalie May 8, 2023 / 9:21 am

      Ally, Thank you for following along. Portugal has beautiful tiles everywhere (azulejo). There is also a National Tile Museum in Lisbon. The tiles in Sintra National Palace are fit for kings and queens and worth seeing.

      Liked by 1 person

  27. Melis May 9, 2023 / 4:37 pm

    What a phenomenal travel experience this must have been! Thank you for sharing all of these gorgeous photos!


    • Natalie May 9, 2023 / 6:50 pm

      Thank you Melissa for your comment. It was a wonderful trip. I have two more “postcards from Portugal” to share. I hope you’ve been keeping well.


  28. defaultsim May 10, 2023 / 8:53 am

    Absolutely stunning photos. What a fantastic trip


  29. Kirstin Troyer May 11, 2023 / 11:11 pm

    Wow Natalie those are amazing. What a great visit. I think a friend of mine and her husband are there. They are in their 70’s and have done a few “Camino’s” I believe is the word. So inspiring.


    • Natalie May 12, 2023 / 7:14 am

      Yes, there are a few Camino routes in Portugal, Spain, France, Italy… A few bloggers I know have walked those routes.


  30. Suzanne May 17, 2023 / 11:14 pm

    Fantastic trip images, Natalie; it is certainly a country worth visiting more than once.


    • Natalie May 18, 2023 / 8:20 am

      Thank you Suzanne for your comment.. Portugal continues to be one of the best-value destinations in Europe.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Suzanne May 18, 2023 / 5:46 pm

        It is and a very relaxed place to be whether it is in the countryside or city.


        • Natalie May 18, 2023 / 7:15 pm

          I agree. It was so nice to go sightseeing or just wandering there without crowds.


  31. Dan May 19, 2023 / 1:52 pm

    We were in Brazil last year and we had a great time practicing our Portuguese. It’s different enough from Spanish to make it difficult to speak. I’d love to go to Portugal again and try to hear the difference in the accent.


    • Natalie May 19, 2023 / 6:23 pm

      I took basic Portuguese lessons before my trip. I also found it more difficult to speak Portuguese than Spanish.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Dan May 19, 2023 / 6:55 pm

        We did a lot of Duolingo before we went to Brazil and it helped.


        • Natalie May 19, 2023 / 8:00 pm

          I also used Duolingo and it helped me too.


  32. Ju-Lyn May 24, 2023 / 8:10 pm

    Magnificent captures, Natalie!
    I have realised I know so little about Portugal – although I am attempting the language learning on Duolingo, and we play various versions of Azul (back story sets it in Portugal).
    Love the stunning architecture and the street art. Very beautiful.


    • Natalie May 24, 2023 / 8:34 pm

      Thank you, Ju-Lyn. I’m glad you liked my pictures. Portugal has its own charms and it doesn’t get the heavy tourist traffic that France and Italy have been getting. That’s one of the reasons I chose to revisit Portugal.


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