Sintra International Singing &
Choral Conducting Course


SINTRA - THE PLACE

Sintra is an oasis of greenery on the northern face of one of the most beautiful mountain ranges in Portugal. Chosen as the summer residence of the Kings of Portugal and their Moorish predecessors, it experienced a renaissance in popularity in the 18th and 19th centuries when aristocrats, architects, writers, painters and musicians flocked to its slopes. Occupied since the Stone ages, its name comes from the Celtic symbol for the moon "cynthia", the Romans calling it "mons lunae" or Moon Mountain.

Sintra can boast of a Moorish castle, palaces, grand estates, mansions, and a monastery, and is landscaped with exotic vegetation from around the world. It has a Mediterranean microclimate, which in the summer gives rise to temperatures of 28 degrees, not the sweltering heat of the Algarve or Lisbon, with cooler evenings because of the sea breeze. Its setting provides panoramic views of the coast, which is only a 15 minute taxi ride away or 30 minutes by bus.

Here the Atlantic provides some of the best surfing beaches in Europe, although in the summer the sea is much calmer, especially south of Sintra on the Estoril coast.

In short, Sintra is a magnificent centre of history and culture at Europe's most westerly point, providing architectural splendours with decorative feasts for the eyes, outstanding scenic walks for nature lovers, and fine sandy beaches with excellent seafood resturants.


An earthly Garden of Eden Gil Vicente

Today is the happiest day of my life. It's the most beautiful thing I've seen. This is the true Klingsor Garden and high above, there's the Holy Grail Castle. Richard Strauss

The eighth wonder of the world Armando Dyot

The most blessed spot on the whole inhabitable globe Robert Southey

beauties of every description natural and artificial. Palaces and gardens rising in the midst of rocks, cataracts and precipices, convents on stupendous heights.......the Wildness of the Western Highlands with the verdure of the South of France Lord Byron (see Child Harold)


SINTRA - PRACTICALITIES

Sintra has grown up around a series of ravines, the town itself being divided into three main areas.

The old, Vila Velha, is based around the royal palace and is comprised of a maze of narrow, winding streets.

Estefânea is the modern quarter near the train station and offers the cheapest accommodation.

São Pedro is a former village where the market takes place on the 2nd and 4th Sunday in the month.

The three districts are within 15 minutes walking distance of each other, the pavements being roughly cobbled and sometimes quite steep. Good walking shoes are recommended, plus a jumper for cooler evenings and a small torch for unlit streets at night. There are buses, trams and horse drawn carriages for transport, which are especially helpful to access the sights on the mountain peaks. One needs to be a very skilled driver to negotiate the narrow winding streets of Sintra.

Lisbon is about 45 minutes away by train. There are buses from the airport to Rossio in the centre of Lisbon from where there are direct trains to Sintra, the last station on the line.

SINTRA & ENVIRONS - PLACES TO VISIT


[click each link for more information, opening in a new page]

Sintra National Palace

Pena National Palace and gardens - another link

Monserrate Palace and gardens

Queluz National Palace - another link

Moorish Castle

Quinta da Regaleira - another link

Capuchos Monastery

Sintra Modern Art Museum

Sintra Toy Museum

Sintra Municipal Art Gallery

Odrinhas Archaeological Museum

Obidos

Mafra

SINTRA - THE CLIMATE

Month Max (°c) Min (°c) Rainfall (mm) Sunshine (hrs)
January 14.5 8.2 110 145
February 15.6 9.0 111 150
March 17.6 9.9 69 205
April 19.1 11.1 64 240
May 21.7 13.0 39 290
June 24.8 15.6 21 305
July 27.4 17.4 5 350
August 27.9 17.7 6 345
September 26.4 17.0 26 260
October 22.4 14.6 80 210
November 17.8 11.2 114 155
December 14.8 8.9 108 140
Annually 20.8 12.8 751 2795