Madrid is one of Europe’s most exciting cities for art and culture: think Picasso and think Velasquez. Two of history’s greatest artists. There are few cities that boast quite so many masterpieces; the museums are teeming with world famous paintings. Our brilliant local guides, some art historians, will bring to life the city and its art.
Arriving in Sintra is to step into a paradise world, but care should be taken about when you travel due to tourist numbers. We know the best hotels and our favourite is a delightful boutique property with only a small number of rooms tucked away in the heart of the landscape. This is a genuine escape and is in the grounds of a spectacular private property.
Sintra makes a perfect escape and our bespoke itineraries will have you exploring wondrous houses and gardens for 3-5 nights. It’s the perfect place to relax and read. Or even do some yoga at a retreat we love. We recommend having one of our lovely drivers look after you during your stay as driving here is a nightmare in Spring and summer.
Amidst the gardens and landscapes of Sintra are a number of magnificent palaces and fairy tale villas and our local guide can bring their history and architecture to life for you. Or you can explore on your own with our suggested itinerary with its carefully written notes and instructions. There are a number of lovely private houses and gardens to visit, not open to the public, but whose doors we can open for you.
Some of our favourite gardens are clustered around Sintra, a short drive from Lisbon. This was originally the hunting retreat and private pleasure grounds of the Portuguese kings and many famous travellers have fallen in love with the area from William Wordsworth to William Beckford. It is easy to understand why: Sintra lies in a beautiful landscape of mountains and woodlands and has its own micro-climate.
Outside Lisbon lie many wonderful towns and landscapes to explore (if you can extend your stay) from Sintra and its Eden-like gardens to the magnificent monasteries of Alcobaça and Batalha and towns of Obidos and Tomar.
We use a handful of preferred hotels in Lisbon, from character filled properties in the historic centre to grander 5 star hotels slightly further out. We have sampled a number of the finest restaurants in town ourselves and look forward to advising you on where to eat. Portuguese wines are superb and we like Douro particularly.
We curate our museum visits: that means we select maybe just 10 objects for you to see with your guide, but these objects will truly bring to life Lisbon’s extraordinary history for you. We think less is always more. We can also arrange for a number of major museums to be visited after they have closed to the public.
Some of our favourite museums are here, full of treasures, not to mention scenic city walks and a heady mix of restaurants, shops and varying city districts. It makes for a perfect short cultural break. Our local guide is wonderful and will bring the city to life for you.