The Park de Pena is set in this area of rare beauty which King Don Fernando II, the artist king, transformed, during the 19th century while he was renovating the Pena Palace -another must see, from a barren hillside into an arboretum which is planted with trees collected from around the planet. This beautiful park is dotted with small lakes, grottos,wildflower gardens,sculptures, fountains, follies, chapels and vistas. Several trails wind up the park´s hillside to the highest point of the Sintra Hills (529 m), the Cruz Alta, a breathtaking 360 degree vista where a hugh stone cross was erected in the 16th century. The trails are moderately strenuous and there are many spots to take a breather, relax and marvel. One of the small lakes is home to a graceful, enchanting black swan with lots of black ruffled feathers, one white feather and a bright red beak.( While admiring this beautiful creature, I felt my creative juices wanting to get me home to the studio and design a homage to this black swan!) The walkways are in excellent condition and wide enough to be easily wheelchair accessible.
From the Park de Pena there are several wooded trails which lead to other interesting historic sites sites. The closest is the Castelo dos Mouros, an interesting 8th century Moorish Fortress with chapel and wonderful vistas.
A longer hike or bike ride through the woods lead to the Convento Dos Capuchos. This remote 16th century monastery, with it’s collection of stone-hewn, austere monk´s cells, offers breathtaking views of the coast.
The park of Montserrat with its 19th century, newly renovated, palace is perched high in the hills above Sintra. It is easily accessible by car or public bus. This park is wildly romantic with sub-tropical foliage and paths that meander past ponds, chapels and ruins. Lord Byron loved it here. Sir Francis Cooke purchased the estate in 1856 and planted the many various trees which he collected from around the globe including the now giant Metrosideros (the Australian Christmas tree) which is covered in red flowers in during the month of July. www.amigosdemonserrate.com
Visible from Guincho beach, towering amidst the Sintra hills, is Peniha Monastery . This 490 m (circa 1600 ft) high peak where the Peniha chapel was erected in the 17th century affords glorious views of the coastline and Lisbon´s skyline. There are many trails that lead into the wooded hills around Peniha. Several rest-areas with picnic tables near water fountains, tucked under sheltering canopies of trees, invite hikers to spend entire days exploring the unique landscape of the Serra de Sintra and its intriguing historical sites. More information at www.parquesdesintra.pt
All of these locations can be easily reached on foot, bicycle or car from Colina Flora Guesthouse. We offer free shuttle service as part of our hiking package deals to our hiking guests. We also offer personal hiking/biking guides for individualized treks. Check out our website www.colinaflora.com for more details.