Things to Do in Mouriscas-A Portugal

things to do in MouriscasA Portugal

It’s free to explore the historic town centre of Sintra, with its pretty streets and bright purple town hall. The picturesque Vila Sassetti mansion and gardens are also open to visitors.

Sample the local liqueur – Ginja – at bars along Rua Direita. It’s a tasty sweet treat! Batalha Monastery is a fascinating UNESCO World Heritage Site that took over 100 years to (almost) complete.

1. Igreja de Santa Maria

One of the best things to do in Santa Maria is to explore the historic centre. Visit the Igreja de Santa Maria with its imposing Baroque facade or the Cooperativa De Artesanas where you can pick up artisanal products like traditional biscuits.

You can also learn more about the island’s natural heritage at the Pedreira do Campo, an expansive 230-hectare nature reserve. The centre explains the diverse fauna and flora through exhibits that include stuffed animals endemic to the Azores, as well as marine fossils.

Known as the sun island, it offers warm temperatures year-round but summer is when you will find many of the island’s events and festivals. These are celebrated in the streets of the villages with processions and street parties. You can also attend the Festa de Nossa Senhora da Assuncao, dedicated to the island’s patron saint. This festival features music and food markets. The Rally de Santa Maria is another exciting event that takes place around August.

2. Museu Municipal de Obidos

The Museu Municipal de Obidos showcases the town’s art heritage. It’s located in a former manor house where artist Eduardo Malta once lived and houses archaeological and religious art, including antique azulejo tiles and paintings by Josefa de Obidos and Andrei Reinoso.

A visit to the museum will give you a sense of how wealthy this once-fortress city used to be. The Renaissance tomb of Joao de Noronha is worth a look, and there’s also an impressive collection of Baroque-era furniture.

A short walk up Rua Direta brings you to Porta da Vila, the grand double-gate that marks the main entrance to the walled city. The gate is decorated with traditional Portuguese tiles and leads directly to the main street in the historic center. Along this pedestrian-only street you’ll find shops and cafes that serve local ginja, a traditional sour cherry liqueur that is made here. In 2015, Obidos was named a UNESCO City of Literature and has started converting abandoned spaces into bookshops.

3. Fonte Mourisca

The soaring, castle-like cliffs of Castelo dos Mouros are a dramatic feature in nearly every snapshot taken of Lisbon. Climb up to the top for spectacular views or watch rock climbers scale its bare granite walls.

The moorish-style Fonte Mourisca is sited on the Volta do Duche, decorated with azulejos and built in 1922. It’s a prime example of Portugal’s use of neo-Islamic elements in its romantic architecture since the XIXth century.

The easiest way to explore the highlights of Sintra is on an organized tour from Lisbon, which includes transportation from the city and guided visits to popular attractions such as Pena National Palace. Tours can be found online, but it’s best to book in advance to secure availability and avoid sold-out dates. The town is also easily reached by car, although driving around its historic district can be a hassle due to parking restrictions and traffic. AllTrails has 4 scenic hiking trails in the area, ranging from easy to difficult, that are ideal for hikers of any skill level.

4. Mourisca Park

Discover a unique side to Lisbon on this full-day trip to the Setubal Peninsula, including a visit to a fish market and a cheese and wine tasting. Travel beyond the 25 de Abril Bridge and explore Arrabida Natural Park, take in a scenic hiking route with views of the cliff-top castles of Sintra, and learn about local winemaking traditions.

The Mourisca Tidal Mill, dating to the 17th Century, is one of a few birdwatching destinations in this nature reserve. Ask for a brochure at the info centre and walk the short pedestrian route to see a diversity of estuarine birds. Be sure to be quiet when observing the animals, as they are very sensitive to disturbance.

The only grand villa and gardens in the town of Sintra are free to visit. Vila Sassetti is a decorative mansion inspired by classic Mediterranean styles, and the manicured grounds feature many water features. The garden is also a gateway to the base of the Penedo da Amizade cliffs, one of Portugal’s most famous rock-climbing sites.

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