Sintra is a town within the municipality of Sintra in the Grande Lisboa subregion (Lisbon Region) of Portugal. Owing to its 19th-century Romantic architecture and landscapes, it has become a major tourist centre, visited by many day-trippers who travel from the urbanized suburbs and capital of Lisbon.
In addition to the Sintra Mountains and Sintra-Cascais Nature Park, the parishes of the town of Sintra are dotted by royal retreats, estates, castles and buildings from the 8th-9th century, in addition to many buildings completed between the 15th and 19th century, including the Castelo dos Mouros, the Pena National Palace and the Sintra National Palace, resulting in its classification by UNESCO as a World Heritage Site in 1995.
The earliest documents describe a built-up town in the 11th century by the Arab geographer Al-Bacr (who was later supported by the poets Luís de Camões and Lord Byron). The Moors built their castle atop a nearby promontory around the 8th-9th century. When Afonso Henriques finally captured Sintra (after the fall of Lisbon) in 1147, he ordered the construction of the Church of São Pedro de Canaferrim, within the castle walls.
Sintra is located at the foot of the Sintra Mountains, 18 kilometres east of the Atlantic Ocean. Some areas of the municipality close to Lisbon are essentially residential suburbs already in conurbation with Amadora, Odivelas.
According to recent statistics, Sintra's suburban railway is the most crowded suburban train system in Europe and IC19 (the highway from Lisbon to Sintra) is the most traffic-congested in Europe. Sintra's problems include major pendular movements to Lisbon, with terrible traffic during rush hour on the IC19 road to Lisbon.