Fodor's Expert Review Palácio Nacional de Sintra
The enormous twin chimneys rising out of Sintra Palace are among the town's most iconic landmarks. There has probably been a palace here since Moorish times, although the current structure dates from the late 14th century. It is the only surviving royal palace in Portugal from the Middle Ages and displays a combination of Moorish, Gothic, and Manueline architecture. The chapel has Mozarabic (Moorish-influenced) azulejos from the 15th and 16th centuries. The ceiling of the Sala das Armas is painted with the coats of arms of 72 noble families, and the grand Sala dos Cisnes has a remarkable ceiling of painted swans. The Sala das Pegas (magpies) figures in a well-known tale about Dom João I (1385–1433) and his dalliance with a lady-in-waiting. The king had the room painted with as many magpies as there were chattering court ladies, thus satirizing the gossips as loose-tongued birds. Bilingual descriptions in each room let you enjoy them at your own pace.