By Melissa Burdick Harmon | Yahoo! Travel – Tue, Jun 19, 2012 6:17 PM EDT
The Estoril Coast Drive and Sintra, Portugal
Best for sea and mountains combined
Explore Lisbon, and then drive along the River Tejo Estuary to Estoril, a lovely resort on the Atlantic Ocean that is known as a playground for the rich and royal. Its sandy beach is backed by a two-mile-long promenade, rows of mansions, and one of Europe’s largest casinos. Stop in Cascais, the next beach town, to watch fisherman auctioning their catch on the quayside. Follow the N247-4 road to Cabo da Roca, to photograph the pretty lighthouse marking the westernmost point of the European mainland. After a stroll on the beach and a seafood meal, head inland on the winding N247 road to Sintra, one of Portugal’s most historic places (the entire town is a UNESCO World Heritage site). The National Palace of Sintra, with parts dating back to the 14th century, is superb. Portuguese royalty came there in summer for the cool breezes. Drive higher up the mountain to The Palácio da Pena, as over the top as the National Palace is restrained. Don’t miss the Convento dos Capuchos, a Franciscan monastery built in 1560, damp, and dark, the cells cut from sheer rock. The monks’ earthly rewards were the ocean views below.
Pena Palace, Sintra, Portugal (Getty Images)