Sintra and Winery
Sintra Travel Blog› entry 3 of 6 › view all entries
On Saturday, we all took a bus tour to towns in the hills and coastal areas west of Lisbon. The first stop was in the hill town of Sintra, home to several of the countries most famous palaces. There was a long line for the Palacio Nacional de Sintra and we had little time to spend here, but our guide was quite persuasive. They let us sneak in and quickly take a look through some of the rooms of the palace. The town is full of quaint little shops selling artwork, clothes, and pastries. I picked up a bottle of ginja (also known as ginjinha) here. This is a liqueur made by fermenting the ginja berry in brandy.
Other palaces could be seen including Castelo dos Mouros purched high on the mountaintop with jagged parapets and the Palacio Nacional de Pena with its bright yellow walls.
From Sintra, we went on a short drive down the hills to Colares Winery in the Estremadura district. Here we were told the interesting tale of the local wine. The soil here is very sandy, so large trenches are dug to reach fertile soil. The vines are planted in this deep soil and little by little the trench is filled with sand. This process takes years before the vines will produce grapes for winemaking. Therefore the wine that you taste here will be way too immature, and the owners will be the first to admit it. Because of the way these vines are grown, they are the only original European vines that survived the phylloxera epidemic.